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Honey – A Quality Service To Save Money, or a Scam?

Posted by Jamie on April 29, 2019

It’s hard to find a market that has been more shaken up by the popularity of the internet than commerce. From mom and pop shops in your local area to retail giants like Walmart or Best Buy, online shopping has completely changed the game when it comes to convincing shoppers to purchase goods from physical stores. Amazon is the obvious giant here, becoming a giant internet empire that sells virtually anything you could possibly imagine. From groceries to clothes, gadgets to movies—and that’s not even including their Amazon Prime streaming service—Amazon has become a mega corporation, despite having started in Jeff Bezos’ garage in 1994. The company accounts for half of every dollar spent online in the United States and carries more than 500 million products, making it an essential part of shopping in 2019.

It’s not just Amazon where people have turned to shop online, of course. Despite being a seller for used goods, Ebay has come a long way in selling new and refurbished products as well, making it a great way to save some cash as you shop for goods you want to buy anyway. Best Buy occasionally has some online-only deals that make it easy to pick up great deals along the way. Online commerce has become such a big deal that marketplaces like Walmart, Target, and even Dell had major deals this past month to compete against Amazon’s own Prime Day, which offered a lineup of deals for consumers to pick from in order to save some cash.

While sales are good, it’s a better bet to try to save some cash year round by using a service designed to find the best deals, along with coupon codes, to help you save some cash. By far, the most successful service behind this is Honey, an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Opera that allows you to automatically scan sites like Amazon and other similar sites to find the best deals available on a specific product. If you’re looking to save some cash, Honey can seem like a great deal.

\But, of course, that’s where your suspicions might come into play. Honey is an extension for your browser, which gives it some major power and permissions over what’s on your display. How can you be sure that you aren’t being suckered into a scam? Is Honey actually good at saving you money, or is it another ploy trying to get you to play into their hands. We’ve all been burnt by browser extensions before, whether they were spam-filled search bars from the 2000s or, more recently, shady “free” VPNs that used your traffic for malicious deeds.

We took a long, hard look at Honey, to get an idea of whether the service is any good and whether it can hold up to what we’ve come to expect from our money-saving deals in 2019. Let’s take a look at Honey to figure out whether you should download this popular extension, or leave it far away from your browser bar.

Show Me the Honey

Honey got its start in 2012 when founder Ryan Hudson was struggling with financial concerns. One night he ordered a pizza online for himself and his two children, and he realized that somewhere there was probably a code or coupon that would allow him to save cash off the pizza, but that he didn’t know where. After his children went to bed, Hudson built a prototype coupon-finder in his browser, which made it easy to automate the search for coupons and discount codes online. Slowly but surely, the app grew into something that was marketable, and after a few more hurdles, Honey was launched as a full-blown browser extension built on the promise of helping consumers save cash with as little work as possible. Today, the extension has been downloaded more than ten million times, making it an exceptionally popular service.

The way Honey works is pretty straightforward. Once added to your browser, the app auto-adds an extension to the store pages of most major digital storefronts online. The most important of the bunch is Amazon, but Nike, Papa John’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, and plenty of other online vendors also support the extension on their sites. Honey simply adds a small Honey icon (a stylized “h”) to the storefront page as you shop for your products, making it easy to figure out when a deal is worth taking.

When you install the app, you’re asked to sign in, either with Facebook or Google or with a new email and password for a Honey account. The feed has deals and money-back ideas, and if you log in, this stuff can be personalized. Though the feed might be helpful to some, others may find their time better spent by skipping installation here and just moving forward towards a new account.

Using Honey

For the sake of this review, let’s use Amazon as the place to test Honey. When you load a product page on Amazon, you’re greeted with some new icons on the page below the name of the item. The box to the left details price history for the product, with the number of price changes that has occurred in recent history for your chosen product. Hovering over this icon allows you to open a link to Honey, but unfortunately, to see the price drops, you’ll need to open a new window. You can view the price history for up to 120 days on a helpful bar graph, but plenty of other services offer price history on Amazon without having to be installed in your browser. So, while it’s helpful, the fact that you need to open a new window or tab in your browser makes this comparable to other services like CamelCamelCamel.

To the right of that price history option is a small ‘h’ with a plus, which allows you to add the product to your drop list. This is a cool feature; once you have an account with Honey, you can use this feature as a way to make sure that when the price drops on your chosen product, you know about it. It’s not perfect, but it does make up for some major missing features that we’ve wished Amazon would add for years, and overall, it’s a nice addition.

The next place Honey shows up is in your cart. This is where Honey does most of its work: automatically finding coupon codes. Open the extension in your browser bar, which should be glowing yellow once you’re in checkout. Honey will automatically tell you whether or not you have a high chance of finding a coupon code for your products. Despite a low chance, you can try to find a coupon code. The extension will automatically begin running through possible options for your coupon codes, immediately inputting them into the product to try to save you, the end consumer, some cash. The tool is quick and easy, and takes just a couple clicks. After finishing, Honey will either choose the best coupon code or tell you that you’ve already got the best possible deal.

Things to Consider

Nothing is free or easy, especially when you’re talking about a major tool like Honey that is offered as a free add-on for your browser. You need to be careful and consider what you’re giving to Honey—as the saying goes, if you aren’t paying, you’re the product. So, let’s discuss how Honey makes its money to earn back both its operating cost while also turning a profit. The company explicitly says on its site that data is never sold to third-parties, and the company has an extensive privacy policy. Still, it’s important to note that Honey does end up gathering information on you as you shop. It’s no more data than something like Google or other utilities on the web have, but for those who avoid products like Gmail, Honey is most definitely not for you

Honey primarily makes its money by either featuring special deals with certain storefronts—they create a deal with the company and receive a certain share of the cash you spend with the coupon code in return—or through something called Honey Gold. To many, Honey Gold may ring alarm bells as soon as they see it. Honey Gold is offered to you as soon as you create an account with the product, and for many, that may seem like a no-go. It’s a rewards program, one that gives you a certain percentage back when you shop at partner websites. You do have to activate the extension, which makes it a bit more secure than your usual utility. Basically, once you’ve earned 1000 points (spent a thousand dollars), you gain a $10 gift card for stores like Amazon or Walmart. It’s effectively a 1% credit on your purchases.

Overall, the app is pretty respectful of your privacy. Unlike other websites, Honey has done their best to be clear and upfront about privacy concerns. Their privacy policy is pretty easy to read and understand, and in May of 2018, they published a manifesto on their site surrounding Honey and privacy, making it clear that the data they collect goes towards building a community and crowdsourcing information as it pertains to deals and working coupon codes. To their credit, Honey makes it clear what data they collect on their website, and uninstalling the application is easy and simple if you don’t agree with their own privacy policy. If you’re concerned about the data they collect, definitely read that piece in the link above; in summary, Honey collects your device ID and IP address, your browser type, your operating system, how you engage with websites, and URLs.

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So what’s the bottom line?

We’re giving Honey a recommendation, albeit on the grounds that, if you aren’t comfortable with their privacy policy, you shouldn’t use the app. When it comes to how the app is supposed to be used, Honey’s easy to dive into and start making money, which makes it a great app for any burgeoning couponer in the 21st century. And if you don’t want to use the app, there’s always plenty of ways to gain access to coupon codes and price drops through other less-convenient means.

21 thoughts on “Honey – A Quality Service To Save Money, or a Scam?”

Seriuosly says:
Honey has never actually given me a discount on anything I’ve ever tried to buy
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Abigail says:
Anyone who says this is legit is lying. I’ve tried it dozens of times on multiple websites every time it comes back invalid.
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James H. Van Houte says:
I used to work for the government. This company, as is the case with many others, provides user details to the DHS in exchange for a stipend based on bulk data courtesy of the US Treasury. Accepting terms from the DHS thereby enforces a NDA that prevents disclosure to the public whose data is being collected, transmitted, stored and analyzed. This may sound benign until you consider the increasingly ideological polarization of our political system. Our friends in China for instance are having their personal sentiments uploaded and many dissidents are in turn becoming commodities in the global organ trade. Could such a thing happen in the US as our nation gradually moves toward a Marxist state? In twenty years or less? Perhaps. What is the price of free? One day, it may be more than our freedom but our very lives. I think we should decline such services and ask of our state and federal Representatives and Senators to uphold the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.
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James Van Houte says:
I left out “may be” as in “This company, as is the case with many others, may be providing user details to the DHS in exchange for a stipend based on bulk data courtesy of the US Treasury. I can’t say this company is engaging in such acts. I simply know that many are – namely Apple and Google.
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Eva says:
Thank you for this review. Other than the privacy issues, initially it seemed reasonable. I think I shall pass on “Honey.”
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Erin says:
Thank you for this article & also for those who gave their opinions on Honey!!
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JB says:
I’m not adverse to Honey collecting data provided their data source is secure. Any review/comments on how secure Honey’s data is, i.e. probably of it being hacked, stolen and sold?
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Fieryelf says:
This is clearly a data collecting add on hidden as a coupon generator.
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Bob says:
I bought a website domain that cost £10 and then it went down to £3.95 with honey, I’ve had multiple reductions on stores don’t know what everyone is complaining about.
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Codi says:
It’s HORRIBLE! I immediately uninstalled Honey after I went back into my browser (Safari) preferences and saw that Honey accesses AND stores all sorts of things, like your contacts AND EVEN credit card info!
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xfchxgbdzgsdfbxgd says:
all addons and extentions do that lol. google drive does too. maybe learn the basics of the internet
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Ann says:
Does Honey also work on Canadian sites?
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Josh says:
Don’t forget the Honey Gold. I have had Honey working in the background for about a year now and today I looked at my Honey Gold balance and had over 6000 points = $60 available, which I took as Amazon credit.
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Jim says:
Can we just get back to reviewing how the app works and stop with the identity sensitivity?
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Dee says:
You silly rabbit ‘identity sensitivity’ is very important and I consider it to be apart of reviewing the app. Thank you! To the reviewer that was smart enough to notice.
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Carla says:
Agreed. That is why I am checking NOW, about info it collects/stores, because it’s SO much harder (nigh impossible to verify too) to remove all such collected data. Just because a CSR tells you data is deleted doesn’t mean it IS SO on their server. They have no firsthand way to assure that has occurred. If you know tech, you know scrubbing data is often only semi complete. (Ex: the stuff FB retains even on closed user accts!). AND… if they are not benefitting from our data, WHY do they need permission to access ALL our site data? All usually means ALL, kiddies.
Joshua Lee says:
SO is this a virus causing scam or not?
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Linette says:
NOTE TO THOSE CONSIDERING INSTALLING HONEY:

Before installing Honey, my items were discounted greater than after installing Honey. Now I cannot get back to the original price that I had in my cart. I called the store that was shopping at, and apparently Honey applies changes to the cart. Luckily I took sscreen shote of BEFORE Honey Discount and AFTER Honey Discount to show the extreme differences.

I would share the Before and After Honey “Discount” if there were the ability to attach a screenshot, but I was able to post it on Facebook.

UNFORTUNATELY, even though I uninstalled Honey, my account is now associated with that “HONEY Discount” so I am unable to get back to my original prices except by working with the seller. They have to manually change all prices back.

Examples
Tennis shoes Original Cost $39.95 My Discount $28.99 Honey Discount $35.96.
Mid-rise Knit Boot Original Cost $39.99, My Discount $28.99, Honey Discount $33.26
Paw/Heart Hoodie Original Cost $39.99, My Discount $29.99, Honey Discount $35.96
Purple Paw Hoodie Original Cost $36.95, My Discount $29.99, Honey Discount $33.26
Paw Floral Applique Original Cost $39.95, My Discount $29.99, Honey Discount $35.96

SCAM!

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Ryan McSweeney says:
@Linette

This sounds like a problem that is easily fixed by clearing your web browser’s history for that shopping website.

By clearing its history, Honey has no way of holding domain over your digital shopping cart. 🙂

<3

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Linda Clarke says:
I downloaded Honey. Wasnt sure if it was what i wanted chose to delete the program. After deleting program i can no longer access any programs on my laptop. Comp turns on but all i see on the screen is the word Apple and the twirly icon just keeps going round and round. Any ideas?
Jim says:
Anyting negative to say about how honey works?
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Kiyoko says:
My computer takes a long, long time to load a website at times since I installed Honey. I sometimes get a message from Firefox saying Honey is slowing things down. It gives me the options to click on Stop It and I do. But it keeps happening. It is maddening how slow sites take to load now. And I don’t understand the de-install directions.
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HoneyShop says:
How does Honey operate in finding deals, exactly? Does the company behind Honey get told the products you’re shopping for? (I’m trying to imagine how else they’d be able to check against their database of bargains, codes, etc., and can’t come up with any other way…)
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craig says:
I’m not a robot Honey >>>>
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Brianna says:
I believe they get a large majority by collecting codes that other users have shared. They ask that if you know of any that work that you share them so others can use them.
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Jessi says:
I still have questions about the usage of data. “This app can read and change your data on all the websites you visit”. While I’m aware that this is literally just how the app works in the first place, I’m going to be digging into the terms and conditions before adding.
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STEPHEN SULLIVAN says:
what did you find?
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Florin says:
Good and very useful review, thanks for posting it. Just wondering how the folks who developed Honey make any money? How much tracking or information selling goes on behind the scenes? Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I like to be aware of things like those…
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Josh says:
From what I heard they get some form of commission from sells made to sites that agree and that’s why it doesn’t work on all sites…. From what I’ve heard they don’t sell any information to anyone but I’m not positive any of this is the case… This is just what I have heard
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CJ says:
Honey makes money the same way that cashback sites like Quidco make their money – commission on sales that they bring to the website. It’s they’re actually talking to the voucher providers and skimming something off the commission that they make. Think of it like this:

Retailer A wants to drive up traffic to their site. They bring in Voucher Operator B and instruct them to release a certain offer, and for every sale using one of their vouchers, Company B gets 1% of the trade. Voucher Site B then talks to Honey and offers them X amount of said commission for every voucher that is applied by Honey

Individual transactions are pretty small, only a few pence each, maybe. But lets say that once per day, each of Honey’s 10000 (reported) vouchers generates them 10p. that’s £1000 per day.

Shannon says:
Thank you very much for this review! You answered all my questions.
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bob says:
[i] test [i]
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Jack says:
“That, folks, is what we call fragile masculinity.”
That folks, is what we call a comment from a moron.
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baffled says:
“Certainly not a name I would normally pay any attention” That, folks, is what we call fragile masculinity.
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*rolleyes* says:
That, folks, is making large assumptions based on a single line of text.
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OverSensitive? says:
Sheesh. Sensitive much? I completely agreed with the original comment of “Certainly not a name I would normally pay any attention”!! The name tells you NOTHING about what it does and sounds like something either sticky or food related to me. I’m female and your biased male bashing concept never occurred to me.
Cool says:
Cool
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Youra Fool says:
Yeah, “Honey” sounded like a Tinder knockoff or some sort of Escort app when I first heard about it. So it has nothing to do with “fragile masculinity”. Stop imposing your toxic biases on everyone else. You do you, hmkay.
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Ellie says:
Yaaa that initial comment about the fragile masculinity doesn’t really make a lot of sense I don’t really think what the author of this review said indicates any insecurity it does sound like a dating website. On a different note when I try to use honey with amazon it tells me that every product ‘m looking at is the best deal any way to fix it?

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