Honey is the browser extension that saves your favourite influencers from bankruptcy.
I’m only joking, that’s just a play on their famous ad spots’ opening line, “Honey is the browser extension that saves you money”.
Honey does what it promises; saving you money through discounts on online shops. But how does Honey make enough money for it to pay all of these influencers?
Affiliate sales program
The first way Honey makes money (and the one it wants people to know about) is through an affiliate sales program. Essentially, if you make a purchase on a website and are using their browser extension, Honey will get an amount from the sale (if the retailer is part of Honey’s affiliate sales program).
Part of how Honey provide these discounts is through giving the user a percentage of their revenue from the sale.
Data Mining (maybe)
The other way Honey makes money (allegedly), is through data collection. So as you shop and use the Honey browser extension, it will study your shopping patterns. I guess the implication is that this shopping data could be sold to advertisers in the future.
Whether Honey is collecting data is up for debate, though.
People have shared Honey’s tracking code and made the accusation before, but Honey responded at the time dismissing the claim, however they have since deleted their response (which is a little suspect).
Additionally, Amazon also made the accusation last year, taking it one step further and implying that Honey is potentially malware. Amazon never justified their claim, though. However Amazon publicly denouncing Honey actually tells us the final way Honey might be looking to generate revenue.
Their own online marketplace
Honey could realistically be Amazon’s biggest potential competitor if they choose to create their own online marketplace. With the most competitive prices on new products, purchases going directly to the retailer and a more user friendly website design; Honey could potentially disrupt Amazon in a significant way.
With thousands of retailers already working with Honey, it only seems like the natural progression of the company.
This would also explain why Honey continues to collect data from their users even though they’re not selling it or using it to generate ads; they’re potentially using it to determine what products to show the users of their future marketplace.
When you consider that PayPal bought Honey for a whopping $4 billion, it seems unlikely that Honey will remain as just a browser extension.
Additionally, as the final bit of evidence for this claim, if you search for a product on Honey’s website (after logging in), you’ll notice they feature products on the website like an online store. Instead of being able to buy the product directly from Honey, though, it just links to the product’s page on the supplier’s website.