Groupon, Cobone and LivingSocial - there are numerous group buying and daily deal websites available in the Emirates.
So why would an entrepreneur set up another? Here, Wasif Amin, who launched www.hitthedeals.com this year, talks about what attracted him to the crowded market, as well as some of the challenges he has faced.
It was already quite a competitive market when you decided to join, so what drew you to it?
We still need probably more websites to cater for [businesses] out there. If you see these websites, there are a lot of [businesses] who have to wait a long time before they get on to any of these websites [to make offers].
How is hitthedeals different to the other group buying sites?
The concept, obviously, is the same and my competitors are what encouraged [me] to start this business. I wouldn't say I am really much different. But I am working on something that would be an opposite business model, which would run on a mobile application [but] I really don't want to disclose how it's going to work.
What challenges have you faced?
Before I started I thought this was a really easy business to start up but when it comes to the technical side of this, it is a hassle. Initially when we started we had a limited server to send out emails. Then our website crashed because our server crashed. It was down for seven days. Slowly we started to understand how to fix those sort of problems.
The website was recently hacked. What happened?
They hacked into the website and they deleted the active deals that were going on. We actually got an email as well from the hackers saying ,"I have hacked your website," obviously from a fake email address.
Did they say why they did it?
No. I got another email later in the evening saying they had deleted some of our users as well. We do make a back-up every day but we lost immediate data on the website. We had to then take the website down before the hacker could damage everything.
What lessons did you learn from that?
The website is going to be more secure than it was before. There are some [security features] that can be injected into the script of a website ... which is probably more secure but it still could be hacked. At the end of the day, it depends on the hacker and how good he or she is.
So it hasn't put you off?
It's a business, so at the end of the day there are risks and losses you have to face. You have to move forward and prevent and take action against them.