Tag Archives: deal a day

Triton, Deal Current Launch Deal a Day for Radio Stations

The interrelationship of daily deals with TV and radio stations and newspapers intrigues us with potential. While not a big factor, traditional media companies can parlay their brand name, promotional power, sales forces –and Web sites — to reach new merchants that never would have otherwise advertised with them.

Second Street Media, Tippr, TownHog and a host of others are among daily deal white label companies focusing on broadcasters. San Diego-based Deal Current has also been working with broadcasters such as the Journal Broadcast Group among the 66 markets that it is operating in. Now, via a partnership formed with Triton Digital Media’s Loyalty Division, it will be in position to power some of Triton’s 700+ radio clients.

Triton and Deal Current are pitching a package where broadcasters and marketers can keep most of the deal revenue between themselves, with just five percent of revenues assigned for sales, tech, and administration (plus processing fees, which are roughly three percent.) The daily deals package is an optional part of Triton’s “StickyFish” program, which includes loyalty features such as contests, surveys, games and other content.

Triton Loyalty President Chris Bell tell us that Triton and Deal Current can afford to take a smaller chunk from commissions because it already has the relationships in place with the stations. “There is going to be a lot of pressure on margins,” he says.

Bell says Triton and Deal Current’s role with the stations primarily taps their technology and expertise for selling deals and sending out emails. While the stations are not contractually obligated, it is certainly in their interest to also promote the deals on air, and extensions such as their website and social media, he adds.

Local.Com Buys Group Buying Start-Up

Local.com, which recently introduced an integrated coupon and sales platform as part of its relaunch, has announced that it will enter the group buying/deal a day space via the acquisition of iTwango, a Los Angeles-based started that launched in October. The company, founded by former Citysearch CTO Hal Oreif, will be rebranded under Local.com.

The company’s first group buying products for Local.com will be rolled out in mid-2011. They will be supported by Local.com, its various hosted sites, and its network of 1,000 plus local and regional media sites. These sites can add the deals site on a white label basis, pitting Local.com directly against such companies as Tippr.com, Nimble Commerce, Deal Current, TownHog, ShoutBack, Matchbin, Wantsa, Vendasta and Analog Analytics. At the same time, the deal network will be built up with extensive telesales and email marketing.

Local.com CEO Heath Clarke says that the Local.com diligence team was impressed that iTwango was built “almost as an exchange” that can easily funnel coupons through the platform and publish to the local.com search engine.

The whole point is to provide a broader range of services, adds Clarke, noting that group buying is a perfect fit with Local.com’s directory, its coupon and deals platform, and its Octane 360 optimization service. “We can sell through some of those on a wholesale basis.”

TownHog: Media Partners Offer ‘Higher Quality’ Users for Deals

A slew of companies provide white label deal a day services for media partners (i.e. Nimble Commerce, Deal Current, ShoutBack, Matchbin, Wantsa, Vendasta, Analog Analytics, it goes on).

Another breed maintain their own local deal sites, and flesh them out with local media partners in the same market, building up an inventory. These include the big guys like Groupon and Living Social, as well as sites such as Tippr and Deal Radar. San Francisco-based TownHog gets grouped here, too.

TownHog, a 65 person company that began life as a gaming and social media site and is funded, in part, by D.E. Shaw, has now launched in 24 cities. At the same time, it powers the local stations of major networks like ABC and CBS, as well as The San Francisco Chronicle and Playboy (we’ll explain). Altogether, it reaches six million users a month.

Company execs Josh Tretakoff and Lilia Martinez-Coburn tell us that the advantage of working with local media is deeper than simply driving more visitors. Visitors to TownHog.com tend to be deal hunters, but visitors to a media site are looking to discover new things, says Tretakoff. “They are not there for the deal. They are a self-selecting group.”

Indeed, some of the site’s media partners have very specific audiences. Take Playboy, for instance. The magazine site geo-tags its users in New York City, who tend to be young urban professional men between 25-35. TownHog specially tailors its deal flow for this group, such as SportClip barbershops and cool nightclubs.

Is Groupon Better Off with Yahoo, Google (Or on its own?)

Groupon has been a phenomenal success in the deal a day space, and we envision continued success for the segment’s pioneer. But what shape will that success take?

At our Marketplaces conference last March in San Diego, CEO Andrew Mason told us that he felt that Groupon wasn’t so much a deals company as a City Guide. The clever writing, daily emails and targeted demographic all made it seem like “media” to him; something that will have a higher circulation in his home town of Chicago than The Chicago Tribune by year-end.

There is certainly a media aspect with Groupon. In addition to its two or three daily deals, it has also started selling national banner ads, and done well with them.

But frankly, we don’t see Groupon’s future so much as a “city guide.” To us, it is more of a next generation small business leads generator: helping small businesses at the local level, and franchises at the national level (see The Gap).

It is a role that that the company has been vigorously pursuing. Recently, it has been focused on building a personalized platform for deals out of its new Silicon Valley office. It has also been developing a slate of small business services that allow SMBs to trigger (and manage) their own deals – and presumably, manage their own lists — not unlike Perry Evans’ work in developing Closely.

Is all this worth $3 billion to Yahoo? Or even more to Google (per today’s report in AllthingsD)? Would these efforts win synergies from those companies, or would they be stifled? And with 180+ deal a day companies now following in Groupon’s footsteps – plus branded efforts from Yelp, AOL, Angie’s List and others — how unique is Groupon’s longterm value proposition? And what will be the impact of deal aggregation by companies like Yahoo, The Deal Map and others?

These are the questions their bankers will be asking as they look to acquire Groupon. And they are the questions we’ll be getting at on our Deal a Day/Pure Pay for Performance Superforum at ILM 2010, which includes:
Sean Smyth, VP of Business Development, Groupon
Jim Sampey, Executive VP, Cox Target Media
Prashant Nedungadi, CEO, Nimble Commerce
Martin Tobias, CEO,Tippr
Mike Rutz, VP, Angie’s List
Mike Coleman, VP, DealChicken.com/Gannett Phoenix
Jennifer Dulski, CEO, The Deal Map
Landy Ung, CEO, 8Coupons.com
Thomas Cornelius, CEO, Adility

Scoop St.’s New Take on Neighborhood ‘Food Crawls’

Local food festivals (“Taste of Seattle,” “Taste of Hillcrest,” et al) are a great way taste samples from many restaurants at one time. Usually, they require a single ticket, with proceeds often going to charity. A more recent phenomenon is the Food Crawl, a progressive dinner where diners go from one restaurant location to another.

A new twist on the food festival and Food Crawl has been developed by Scoop St., a 12 person, year-old deal-a-day site based in New York. Scoop St. is combining elements of “The Food Crawl” with the daily deal. Deal purchasers are essentially invited to buy signature dishes at a succession of neighborhood restaurants for roughly half off.

The debut of Scoop St.’s Food Crawl took place last February as “The Taste of 7th St.,” in the East Village. That event sold 1,000 tickets at $18 each, or 48 percent off the $35 value. That makes the $7.00, appetizer-sized Lobster Roll at Luke’s Lobster seem like it only cost $3.50.

During the two day period in which the 7th St. offer was in effect, 960 were redeemed (apparently, with restaurants preparing a lot of their food to go). The two-day redemption period is considered more compelling for restaurants than the normal six month redemption period of typical deals.

Most of the tickets brought new prospects to the restaurants. One participating restaurant estimated that more than 75 percent had never been there before.

At this point, Scoop St. has featured multiple Food Crawls in various neighborhoods of NY. The site has also just introduced a “Happy Hour Pass,” a charity product which provides discounted drinks at select bars for an entire month. The site has also experimented with the “Good Beer Seal” touting local alehouses. There is definitely a strong advertising element in the company’s emails that is very compelling.

In addition to its deal a day and Food Crawl products, the site is also syndicating its deals to major sites (i.e. Yahoo’s just released Daily Deals site), and also powering a Power Deal offer for the “Not for Tourists” publication in New York.

Washington Post Goes With Deadline Deals for ‘Capitol Dish’

The competition among white label “deal a day” providers is increasingly intense. At the same time, local media companies are beginning to verticalize their deal a days to differentiate themselves.

Case in point is The Washington Post, which has rolled out “The Capitol Dish,” a website and newsletter offering dining deals to DC-area restaurants. The Post has teamed up with Second Street Media’s Deadline Deals product.

The vertical product is in addition to The Post’s Daily Deal arrangement with Living Social, which includes some exclusive deals, but does not focus in on a specific vertical, or utilize The Post’s sales force.

Deadline Deals is currently being used in over 50 markets by a number of Lee Enterprises newspapers, including The St. Louis Post-Dispatch; as well as a number of TV stations. One feature of Deadline Deals that stands out is that it tightly integrates an email solution for sending subscribers an update about each day’s deals.

It also includes integrated maps, data export and reporting, consumer support, and credit card processing. Second Street Media, which is the parent of Deadline Deals, figures that local media partners are taking in between $10,000 and $40,000 a month in new revenues from its deals.

Tippr Claims #3 Rank in Deal a Day Space

The deal-a day marketplace is shaping up as a couple of leading brands in each market; some local media using white label solutions; and a healthy dose of aggregators repeating most or all the deals.

Seeing to cut across much of the deal a day ecosystem is Seattle-based Tippr, a well-funded 40-person company that focuses on white label deals with publishers, as well as its own destination sites. It now has deal-a-day sites in 12 cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

The company officially launched in February 2010 in Seattle with 6,000 subscribers, and has grown from there, both organically and via acquisition. It recently acquired, for instance, ChiTown Deals in Chicago and Fan Force in Austin. Indeed, by some counts (i.e. Compete.com) it has surpassed BuyWithme.com and become the #3 deal a day site by usage after Groupon and Living Social (although well behind those sites.) It also says its user base is now up to 500,000 email subs and Facebook fans. Compete says it has 670,315 uniques.

CEO Martin Tobias, an early Microsoft pioneer who went on to launch several green industry and software companies, says he mostly envisions the destination sites as a demo that gives the company more credibillity to potential partners. He adds that he was originally inspired to do a deal-a-day venture by two things: his recent experience developing Kashless, an online classifieds and email postage system in 120 cities; and owning a couple of bars and high end restaurants.

A Groupon promotion was conducted at one of establishments, and the results were “OK.” But he thought he could do better. From his experience with Kashless, he realized that a promotional effort shouldn’t entirely be about a coupon or gift certificate. It should be about developing long-term customer relationships. “We’re always struggling to find effective ways to get people in the door,” he said.

One leg of the strategy is to offer three deals a day, instead of just one or two. The partner sites don’t have multiple deals yet, but Tobias says the company is working on it. Having multiple deals is especially important for giving new visitors “more than one thing to look at,” he says.

Another leg of the strategy is use its arsenal of products to work with as many local sites as possible and build a solid network. One effort to land local media sites as partners is to customize Tippr’s integration with local sites to match their look-and-feel. Tobias is proud of the site’s “rich and open” API, which he favorably compares to sites such as Groupon, which he believes are more closed and less flexible. They also maintain too tight a rein on customer information, he believes, noting that it rightfully should be shared with the merchant.

Mobile also plays a role. Coming out next week is is Tipper’s iPhone app, which is fully integrated in its white label platform. Android and Blackberrry services will soon follow. “Mobile is a very important part of the white label platform,” says Tobias.

The combination of the white label sites and the destination site, along with its strong financing, has put Tippr in position to work with top national brands, says Tobias One big deal currently running, for instance, is for the Rhapsody online radio service, which is offered at $39.95 for six months.

The company is now pushing especially hard for growth, signing deals with 38 aggregators, and competing as a white label partner against other white labellers such as Nimble Commerce, Analog Analytics, Ludic Labs’ Offer Foundry, Matchbin, Deal Current and Shoutback, among others.

At this point, Tobias argues that Tippr has developed “the largest footprint of white label deal-a-day sites, with 20 different sites using the platform, In some markets, there are multiple publishers using the platform. In Austin, for instance, there are five sites using Tippr. The impact is that Tippr’s deals are effectively verticalized for different audiences with different demographics, argues Tobias. He asserts this approach is superior to Groupon’s recently announced personalization strategy, which essentially has forced it to segment the brand, providing less volume to advertisers.

One advantage that Tippr holds over the others: the ability to leverage its acquisition of the Mercata dynamic pricing patents that kicked off the whole deal-a-day phenomenon in 1997 — something that Tobias says the company spent a lot of money on. Dynamic pricing is being increasingly embraced. It is the system that allows items to become cheaper when more people buy into them.

Patent law is always murky, but Tippr’s lawyers apparently see real potential to use the patents to land deals. Tobias says he just hopes to use the patents to “bring innovations to the market,” but it isn’t really clear how aggressive he will be in enforcing his patents. Legal actions typically take many years.