I'm just beginning the arduous process of switching to a new hosting company. I haven't really had any problems with 1&1, but their support isn't the greatest, and I've heard some stories of sketchiness in dealing with their billing department. Since I'm at the point anyway where I need to graduate to a [wikipop search="Virtual private server"]VPS[/wikipop] from my [wikipop]shared hosting[/wikipop] plan, I figured I might as well move to a more reputable host while I'm at it. I decided on MediaTemple some time ago (based on the features available and multiple personal recommendations), but I've spent the last month or two convincing myself it's worth the $50 a month (much more than I've been paying 1&1). Hoping to soften the blow, it occurred to me to check RetailMeNot to see if I could dig up an offer code and save a few bucks. If you're not familiar, RetailMeNot is one of several sites that are basically databases of codes collected from various coupons and special offers put out by a variety of online merchants. These sites have a sort of back-alley feeling to them, mostly because the offer codes they collect are typically not intended for general consumption, but are supposed to be only for patrons of a certain partner, viewers of a particular ad, etc. However, I've had good luck with them in the past, and using them makes me feel terribly clever for having outsmarted whatever retail conglomerate I happen to be buying from.
This time, though, MediaTemple totally one-upped me! Realizing that their target market includes a lot of people who probably know about sites like this, they decided to drop the charade and just give an offer code directly to RetailMeNot, totally above the board. Not only that, but the offer they provided was actually better than any other unofficial offers that could be found on the site. Just because I thought to check, I saved 20% on my hosting fees for the entire life of my plan. That adds up to a lot.
This is some very clever end-run marketing on the part of MediaTemple. Also, kudos to RetailMeNot for taking a somewhat dicey business model and turning it into something legit and probably lucrative.