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Woot set to expand its retail empire with 'Deals'

The one day, one deal site is set to launch a more user-driven site that lets people find and post deals from around the Web.

Popular online shopping site Woot is set to expand its network of sites into new territory: deal hunting.

Unlike some of the site's other properties, which offer a new item for purchase either on a daily or weekly basis (be it gadgets, wine, T-shirts, or kids toys), the new Deals.Woot service gets a steady stream of things to buy throughout the day. It's also run almost entirely by Woot's community. There are sponsored deals that have been hand-picked by Woot's editors, but users do the rest.

Users can add deals they find elsewhere on the Web through a simple submission form that pulls in photos and sometimes pricing information from the source page. Others can then vote these up or down (like links on Reddit), with the most popular (be it in total votes, or in vote velocity) rising to the top.

Woot's new Deals site lets users vote up or down user-generated deals. CNET

To keep marketers from gaming these rankings, the site has a members-only status for the time being; users can't vote deals up or down unless they've purchased something from Woot before. The site is also limiting who can access the deals site while it remains in private beta, beginning by first inviting longtime-registered users, then working backwards toward those who have recently joined.

Along with deal submissions and the forum threads that go with them, the site is also a question-and-answer service. It's not as structured as the rest of the site, and acts simply as an open forum about deals, deal retailers, or off-topic items. It, too, has the same up or down voting system, both for individual threads and replies. Together with this and the community-sourced deals, the site tracks some of the top deal submitters and forum commenters. There, users can see which deal has been the fastest to rise to the top of the charts, as well as how long it took to get there.

Woot's Deals leaderboard gives a behind-the-scenes look at what's happening on the deal-finding site. CNET

Woot's upcoming deal site remains an invite-only private beta, but the company hopes to launch it officially before Black Friday (which is next week). As previously mentioned, Woot members will be getting early access invites by e-mail depending on when they first registered for one of the company's services.

See also: Fatwallet, Slickdeals, RetailMeNot, Ebates, Dealnews.