User-generated shopping site is upping the ante for the holiday shopping season, on Wednesday it’s launching a Money Makers Program that will allow deal and coupon enthusiasts to earn money for each deal or coupon they share, the company told VentureBeat.

The site has also launched an easily installable Widget that allows users using Money Makers to monetize their websites or blogs with relevant, money-saving coupons.

Both moves are a sign that competition in an increasingly crowded online coupon space is heating up, as cash-strapped users become savvier about finding deals on everything from groceries to haute couture clothing online.

The San Jose, Calif.-based is a user-generated social shopping site where consumers come to find, share and talk about great deals and coupons from thousands of retailers. Launched in 2006, the site draws an average of 3 million users per month, with 319,696 deals and 149,650 coupons shared thus far.

The payoffs for users are tangible and immediate. The company helps users establish PayPal accounts before they begin, and any money earned is deposited automatically into that account as they use the site’s features successfully.

Under the new program, for each deal posted, a user will earn $3 per 1,000 pageviews. If the deal is then updated  by somebody else (i.e. has new terms or expanded parameters, or comes to new locations), both the updater and the original poster will earn an additional $1.50 per 1,000 pageviews.

Users who post a coupon will earn $3 per 1,000 views, with $30 maximum earnings on any one coupon.

If shoppers want to share a deal via a link or widget on a separate social network such as Facebook or Twitter, they rake in $10 to $30 per 1,000 clicks on the shared link or link in a widget. And if they post an answer in the company’s new Ask & Share section, they will receive $3 per 1,000 views, with money accruing as long as their answer is rated the highest.

In addition, during the holiday season, the site said it is giving Money Makers members the option to donate the money they earn in the program to the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The company will then match all charity donations made and will continue to offer charitable donation options after the holidays.

Jason Lee, CEO of the startup, told VentureBeat the Money Makers idea was a great one any time of year, but could be especially meaningful during yet another recessionary year.

“There are a lot of deals and coupons out there at this time of year, so it’s a great time for new users to try their hand at posting on,” Lee told VentureBeat. “Secondly, we see a large rise in our traffic during the holiday season, which means more clicks on deals and coupons, and more money for Money Makers.”