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Google Offers Daily Deals

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday April 22, 2011 )

If you can’t buy ’em.. build something similar. That’s what Google has done in order to enter the daily deals space.

Google initially tried to buy daily deals giant Groupon last year. Groupon declined. It’s not as though Google wasn’t generous with their offer ($6 billion). According to Wikipedia, Groupon is currently worth around 1.35 billion.

It’s my understanding that because the deal may have come under a lot of scrutiny, the Groupon folks may have wanted a substantial “kill fee” if the deal went pear shaped; a fee that even the mighty G may have balked at. That’s all rumor and second hand reports.

What isn’t a rumor any more is Google Offers – the company’s new competitor for Groupon.

Currently in beta, Google Offers is kicking off in Portland, Oregon, USA. The bare bones landing page touts “Get 50% off or more at places you’ll love.”

Google says it hopes to roll out the Offers service to New York and the San Francisco Bay Area in the near future. It hasn’t yet confirmed launch plans outside of the U.S. but states if you’re a merchant interested in participating, you can contact Google via this form. Users outside Portland keen to see Google Offers in their city can subscribe from the Offers home page.

It’s been amazing watching the daily deals space grow over the last few years. Groupon only started offering deals back in 2008 and now they are preparing for a multi-billion dollar IPO.

Daily deals is such a simple concept too. If you’re not familiar, the way it works is a very good “coupon” deal for whatever product or service is offered that requires a certain number of people to register interest before the goods or services can be acquired for the special price. The key is folks whack down their money beforehand. If not enough people sign up for the offer, the deal doesn’t go ahead and those who put their money up have it refunded to their Groupon account.

So, who would win in a Groupon vs. Google Offers battle? Given that I’ve heard Groupon knocks back most merchant coupon offer proposals, it would seem that neither have to “win”.. there’s plenty to go around. I’m sure Groupon would have been well aware if they didn’t sell to Google, that G would have launched its own deals platform.

Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that a startup has knocked back a huge amount of cash and then gone toes up – not that I wish that upon them or think it will happen to Groupon.

Interesting times ahead in the daily deal space.


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