Google Offers Wants to be a Platform, Expands its Partnership Program to 5 New Cities


Last year, Google Offers, the company's Groupon clone, launched a program in New York City and San Francisco that brought deals from third-party daily-deals services like Gilt City, Dealster, Eversave and others to the service. Today, Google is expanding this program to Boston, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Washington, D.C. and Groupon's hometown of Chicago. To enable this expanded deal aggregation, Google is partnering with three new deal providers as well. Google will now feature deals from CrowdSavings, SpaRahRah! and in its daily emails and on its site.

Given that the company now offers a wider range of deals in these cities, it will also allow its users there to take its personalization quiz. This ensures that those who can't get enough deals on massages can continue to get those offers and those who prefer not to get yet another offer for an aromatherapy session can make sure they get other offers instead.

Google is clearly positioning Google Offers as more of a platform for third-party services and using its personalization service as a way to increase the conversion rates for these deals. The service is currently available in 38 cities and chances are that Google will continue to add more cities to its deal aggregation service over time.



9:41 am

AT&T Launches Most Boring Groupon Clone Yet


Now that Google, Facebook, the New York Times and virtually every other company has launched some form of daily deals/group-buying site, AT&T is joining the fray today as well. According to Bloomberg, AT&T’s Groupon clone is launching in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas-Forth Worth  “within the coming weeks.” The service is hosted on AT&T’s If you sign up within the next twenty days, you will get a $10 credit towards your first purchase (which makes me think the service is launching somewhere around May 22nd).


Innovation? Nope…

It’s hard not to look at AT&T’s site and wonder what it’s going to do that’s different from its competitors. Judging from what’s on the site right now, the answer is: zero. “The deals of the day are about solving everyday needs. Offers that make it easier to take the family out to dinner at that cute new diner. Finally dry-clean your wedding dress. Or get your car detailed after last month’s disastrous coffee run.”

Indeed, none of the recent Groupon clones have improved over the original model or brought any meaningful innovation to this space besides expanding the general concept into new niches (travel, shoes etc.). Facebook’s service is a bit more social (though that really only means it’s easier to share deals on Facebook), Google Offers is about as direct a clone as it could be, but in general, the idea is still the same and the sites often still hold up the pretense that these are “group-buying” sites and not just straight-up deals sites.

It’s hard not to imagine that consumers (and merchants) will soon get tired of this and restrict themselves to two or three general sites (Groupon, LivingSocial and maybe Google’s or Facebook’s offering) and another one or two niche services.

1:02 pm

Google Plays Catch-Up with Upcoming Groupon Clone


Groupon is the hottest thing on the Internet today. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Google is preparing to launch a Groupon clone of its own now after an unsuccessful attempt to buy the company outright – but maybe it should. After all, the daily deal market is already full of competitors in every possible niche and Google is only a few months late to the party. There was a time where Google was launching innovative products – now it’s just launching clones – and some of them, like Buzz, aren’t even able to make much of a dent in their market.

Google sent the following statement to a few media outlets, confirming that it plans to launch Google Offers soon:

“Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted.”

There is nothing new here, though. This is not a new way for businesses to connect with customers. Thanks to Groupon, LivingSocial and their plethora of clones, businesses have been doing this for years now. Judging from what we know about Google Offers, this will just be a straight up clone of Groupon (down to the pithy write-ups).

There is nothing innovative about Google Offers as far as I can see. It’s just the same old concept, with the same old deals. Makes you wonder if Google is losing its ability to innovate.


Can Google Succeed?

So what are Google’s chances to succeed in this market? On the plus side, Google can quickly hire enough sales personnel to sell these offers and its name should give it enough clout to sign up lots of local businesses. Google could also show a one-time message to all of its Gmail customers to sign up for this with one click and immediately get a few million subscribers – but that could also land the company in hot water.

On the other hand, though, if it only offers deals that are similar to Groupon, will users really want to sign up for yet another deal-of-the-day email?

How long until daily deal fatigue sets in with consumers?

Image credit: Mashable

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