How to get half-price dining from your local TV station.
Did you know that your local TV and radio stations regularly receive gift certificates as “payment” for air time? Believe it or not, retailers and restaurants are actually exchanging hundreds of gift certificates for exclusive air time on the networks. Then, the stations turn around and sell those certificates to viewers for half-price. They win. You win. And I’ll show you where to find them online.
I stumbled across this quite by accident. A friend of my wife sent her a link to a local TV station selling $50 gift certificates to a local restaurant for just $25 a piece. Being a cynical shopper, I was hesitant to believe it. It screamed of “buyer beware.” But, as it turns out, it’s completely legit. And after my usual digging around on the intertubes, I found out the back story. Stephanie Riegel, of BusinessReport.com, reported last June of this growing new trend among the TV and radio stations.
The company that came up with the concept is the Cleveland-based IncentRev, and it’s a coupon broker that facilitates the on-air promotions. Essentially, it works like this: A retailer—say, a new restaurant—“buys” exclusive air time with the station in exchange for 100 gift certificates, which the station then promotes on air for half-price. Viewers can buy the gift certificates on a first-come, first-serve basis by accessing the station’s Web site. All parties involved say it’s a win-win arrangement. Viewers get a bargain. A small retailer essentially receives free advertising. And IncentRev, which does all the paperwork, and the station split the money.
So, that's the back story. Like Stephanie points out, everyone's a winner in this deal. The restaurants and retailers get some pretty inexpensive air time. The stations get some extra cash. And the viewers get 50% discounts. However, you no longer need to watch or listen to the stations to access the deals. By doing a simple substitution in the web address I was forwarded, you can see deals in your own area, right now.
Call letters + web address = big savings.
I live in Colorado, and my local Fox affiliate's call letters are KDVR. When I put that in front of INCENTREV's web address, I get the following link: http://kdvr.incentrev.com/
I did a few others at random, just for kicks.
If you live in Ohio, you could try this one: http://wtte.incentrev.com/
Here's one for Mississippi: http://wlox.incentrev.com/
And one for Rhode Island: http://wwli.incentrev.com/
You see how easy the formula is. You can find a complete list of call letters for TV stations in your area right here. And this one features radio. Just click on your state and you'll get the info. Please note, note every station is running promotions or has signed up with IncentRev, so if the web address doesn't work just keep replacing the call letters until you find a deals page. There may be several in your state.
UPDATE: An even quicker method.
Wisebread reader Daniel pointed this out in the comments and it's super-quick. Instead of trial and error, type in your state, and or your city site followed by :incentrev.com into Google. Example: indiana site:incentrev.com. I found three local stations with offers not only from restaurants but indoor sky diving and Salsa classes. If anyone out there has top-notch web skills, maybe you could program a simple interface - just type in the name of your city and state and click "find." I'm sure it's easy enough if you know html. Which I don't I'm afraid.
Well, they do have a limited number of certificates for a restaurant or retailer, usually between 100-150. And they also go on sale at a certain time, and get snapped up fast. Tomorrow I'll be logging on at 9am to grab half-price certifictaes for a great Mexican restaurant in my area. Other people have also mentioned that TV and radio stations are becoming bogged down with anchors and DJs selling you all kinds of stuff, thanks to these certificate deals. But I really don't care. I don't watch them, I just go straight to the site to see what's available.
So, there you go. Find your local deals page, log on at the right time and bag yourself some cheap eats. Bon appetit.
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