Scoring Online Deals: A Guide to 6 Top Sites

VIDEO: Skip the mall, shop online and score big deals.
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So you want to score a deal on that designer dress you've been eyeing but can't tell your deal-making websites from your discount-promising duds?

You're not the only one.

There's no shortage of websites looking to hand you tempting deals on local businesses, top restaurants, designer threads.

Daily discount site Groupon may be the current darling of the online deal space, and the Internet was abuzz this week with news of LivingSocial's deal offering customers a $20 Amazon gift card for $10. The half-off deal attracted more than 1 million customers across the country, making it the company's most successful deal so far.

Problem is, with more and more of these offers seeming to pop up daily, it can be difficult to keep them all straight.

If you're looking for some help navigating the growing world of Internet deals, take a look below.

LivingSocial

The Amazon deal was offered to shoppers across the country, but LivingSocial mostly focuses on sending subscribers daily deals promising deep discounts (up 90 percent) to local businesses. Each day, the site publicizes a deal to stores, restaurants, spas, theaters and other services in more than 120 markets.

Consumers buy vouchers online and then have the option to redeem them at the business anytime within a given time window. Shoppers are given the option to share the deal through a unique link, and if three people buy the deal with their link, they get the deal for free.

Groupon

Based in Chicago, Groupon offers its daily deals to millions of members in more than 300 markets in 35 countries.

Each day, subscribers can log on to the site (or receive e-mails) to see the deals the company offers in their area that day. Discounts usually fall within the 50 to 90 percent range for services like dining, fitness, entertainment, clothing and more.

When enough Groupon members commit to that day's deal, Groupon lets them know that the "deal is on." If not enough people commit to the deal, Groupon cancels the deal and doesn't charge anyone.

If a Groupon member refers a friend who subscribes to the site within 72 hours, the member receives a $10 credit when the friend makes her first purchase.

Gilt/Gilt City

For those with a penchant for premium products, Gilt.com offers short-term sales on luxury goods like high-end merchandise, clothing and accessories for women, men and children.

Most sales start at noon ET and last for 36 hours, offering products up to 70 percent off. The site is invitation-only (interested shoppers need to register with an e-mail address and wait for the invite to arrive), but if you download the Gilt iPhone application, you're automatically led through the virtual velvet rope.

Gilt Group also offers Gilt City, a similar site (and iPhone application) for travel packages and experiences. The site only offers deals for a handful of cities (like New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco) but gives members discounted access to high-end spas, restaurants, hotels and events.

Rue La La

Rue La La also draws discerning shoppers with its invitation-only website. The site offers name-brand goods across a range of categories including apparel, accessories, travel, wine and gourmet dining.

As with Gilt, wannabe-members need to provide an e-mail address to be added to the waiting list, but downloading the iPhone application provides instant access.

Members can invite friends and receive a $10 credit when new friends place their first order.

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