2.5 Million Helpful Posts From 30,000 Family Members: Happy 15th Birthday To DDF, The DansDeals Forums

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Happy 15th birthday to the DansDeals Forums and the DDF community!

Community? We’re more like family!

I started blogging on my 20th birthday in November 2004 under the name CtownBochur.  In 2006 I created the CtownForums, which was a flop from the start.  In 2007, I pounced on the DansDeals.com domain name when the previous owner let it expire and the rest is history.

By May 2008, traffic to DansDeals was picking up and people were asking random questions in nearly every deal that I posted. Social media wasn’t yet the juggernaut it is now, so to try to answer people’s questions I made a discussion post and then a 2nd discussion post where people could ask questions, but those grew unruly very quickly.

In that 2nd discussion post on May 27, 2008 a commenter named Eli left the following note,

“Dan, I believe that by creating something like dansdealsforums.com and using a free forums software, it will take off tremendously. And the users of the forums will be asked to post linkbacks to the forums in the comments on the standard blog. The forums can have different categories like Deals, Hotels, Airlines etc.

If you get the right forum software that does what you need it to, it will work well. It may take time, but it will work well.

You can even have on the blog a scrolling link to the hottest topics being discussed in the forum. All you need is a lot of people knowing about it (people who normally visit the forums) and it will be fine.

Dan, how bout it? get me access to the website and we can have dansdeals.com/forums up and running within a few hours. You might as well give it a try. I already did the research and found the best solution for the forum software, all completely free of course.

I was highly skeptical due to the failure of the other forums and told Eli as much.  But he persisted and said it would take him just a few hours to setup and that there was really nothing to lose.  And so after getting the green light, Eli Webster created the DansDeals Forums exactly 15 years ago, on May 28th, 2008.

It’s taken off beyond my wildest dreams, which just goes to prove that if you don’t succeed at first, try, try again. I guess that’s just another form of HUCA. 😉

The DansDeals Forum community is awesome and I’ve been able to meetup with forum members from across the globe or even to travel together across the globe.  I love the Destination Guides and Trip Reports boards where there is tons of great info shared to create the perfect trip for just about anywhere on this planet.

The Forums are old school compared to modern social media and there’s certainly a learning curve to using it. But it’s far more wholesome and oddly enough, the anonymous conversations are much more nuanced and friendly than on social media. Maybe the learning curve also contributes to that? But the bottom line is that time spent on it feels constructive, rather than destructive on modern social media.

Over COVID, the forums were a great place to discuss what was happening, with its typical healthy debate and constructive dialogue without censorship. Members also shared the troubles it took to travel coming out from COVID.

DDF is an awesome resource in general. One couple learned that when trying to get to their Shabbos Sheva Brochos and another shared his thoughts on fleeing his home in Odessa, Ukraine and collected money for refugees. I learned how to claim an Amazon Prime Day credit, and DDF members organized a matching campaign for families who lost loved ones in Meron.

Thanks to DDF research, a 141 siddur and family tree found its way back home and a Jewish Doctor got a proper burial.

Milestone posts like this one and of course JJ’s 10,000th post share just what’s so awesome about DDF.

Many of the deals I post here on DansDeals are sourced from DDF posts. Top contributors have received prizes ranging from $1,000 Amazon gift cards to 40 year old bottles of scotch to a free DDF dinner in Manhattan. There’s a real sense of community that you don’t get on a Facebook group or Whatsapp and that has shined through on many occasions. The community sticks together through good times, through DDF meetups at member weddings, through needy times for a DDFer in legal trouble or a couple in need of funds to make a wedding, and to the sad, including the loss of a young married DDF member.

We have even made a shidduch between 2 DDF members, we help each other find employment when needed, and warn about scams.

Some deals don’t make it from DDF to this site, like this one where DDF members scored more than $1,000 in free gift cards last Prime Day.

Of course a major thanks has to go out to Eli Webster (Eli on the forums) and Baruch Hayman (BAHayman on the forums) for their tireless help on the technical side of things where I am fairly clueless. The moderating team, including JJ, AsherO, Something Fishy, and several others have done a great job over the years and moderator Something Fishy has also done tremendous work on the Trip Reports board and he has even put DDF trip reports onto an awesome Google map.

If you’re not on DDF, I’d highly recommend that you check it out. Sure there’s a learning curve, but many members have transitioned from n00b to pro in just a year, all while racking up millions of miles and first class travel around the world. Fair warning, it can be addictive. But of all the hobbies to have, this is a pretty good one!

But above all of the knowledge gained, the real life friendships that have been created via DDF are what’s most special.

Hearing from people who have told me about how their life has changed for the better because of DDF is always rewarding as well. I love hearing from people who go from not being able to afford to travel to flying around the world in first class and staying in 5 star hotels thanks to the mileage game.

Thanks to everyone on DDF for making it a valuable resource and fun place to hang out!

Has DDF helped you out over the years?

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31 Comments On "2.5 Million Helpful Posts From 30,000 Family Members: Happy 15th Birthday To DDF, The DansDeals Forums"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.


Would be amazing to re-vamp the travel wiki with better destination guides and which should and restaurants are currently open etc. even the most popular locations are not frequently updated. Perhaps a prize for posting?

Of course updated trip reports would be even better, but that you can’t force

Great job on site overall!


I’d highly recommend tapatalk app for reading the forums on your phone.

Helps reduce that learning curve slightly.


Congratulations Dan, such a huge accomplishment.
Between the forum and the direct messages, I believe you have been truly invaluable to so many of us.

Nothing personal, because I will no longer be here, but I hope you’re still going at it in 50 more years.


Thank You Dan. I’ve gained tremendous knowledge and took many memorable trips that would never have been attempted without the input and endless information found on DDF. So glad to be a part of the community.


Great post! But didn’t mention that you can also use it to feed your children…


Dan & JJ certainly can!


I sometimes wonder if you found a way to get likes from these DDMS posts.


Mazal Tov Dan & JJ!! Here’s to the next 15 years.


Don’t believe a word of this, folks. DDF addiction has ruined my life, and I can’t quit


For those unfamiliar, this is typical Yehuda57 sarcasm. If he’s addicted to anything, it’s actually sarcasm – He can’t make it through the day without it. Was missing from the post, but Yehuda57’s wisdom and wit is actually a great reason to join DDF!


No better place to research and plan a vacation than on DDF


Dand deals forums is an amazing resource!


The standout attribute of DDF is the sense of welcome you get and continue to get (assuming you treat everyone else the same way).


What happened with the resident meshugener?

Steven Zimmerman

Thanks so much Dan , I have used your site to get deals on Amazon as well as airfares, also I use the no fee $200 gift cards for Chase points, and you always tell us when there are no fees. I haven’t used the deals to TLV yet but will in the near future. Thanks again. Steven


I was surprised to find myself in 3 links here, and I still feel like a total newbie around all the old timers 🙂

Thanks Dan and Eli for creating DDF! It’s been fun, profitable and meaningful!


I still say over Divrei Torah at my Shabbos seuda every week through the email list you got me on to! Thanks.


Hi Dan,
Thanks for the wonderful ride. I have traveled the world in premium cabins and plan to do much more BEZ”H.
As I suggestion would you be up to writing a post of how you keep track of your active credit cards (which I understand is a healthy amount) such as payment due dates, spend thresholds, annual fee date etc?

Lichaim! and here is to many many more sets of 15 years making money while doing what we love!!!


Mazel Tov Dan! You and the many mensches give so much here. It’s inspirational.


I’m on the website for the last year, and it’s amazing, I’ve made more than a million points in about one year (Credits: Chase), and I love the perks…
But the forums… I just can’t get a grip on it, way to hard to get my way through, and my time is limited. have once posted a question, (probably on the wrong thread) and never got an answer, and that was it.
Question is, how much am I missing out by sticking only to the website, and not fighting my way through to the forums?