Local Onliner: The Year’s Top 10 Posts

The annual list of my “best read” posts doesn’t necessarily correlate with what’s trending. Readership can be driven by a number of things. That said…it is great to see what’s resonating. Top 10 Posts 1. Can Next Door Monetize Its 10 Million Users? 2. Acxiom Marketing Solutions Group Sold to IPG 3. Web.com Sold to Siris Capital 4. RBC’s … Read more

Card-Linking at Year 5: Momentum in Some Areas, Questions in Others

Five years in, is card-linking finally assuming a place in the promotional media pantheon alongside reviews, coupons, prepaid deals and loyalty incentives? With card-linking, consumers link their credit and debit cards to retailers and brands. The resulting transaction data can be mined to help retailers, brands and other commerce companies provide targeted offers and incentives … Read more

Next Steps For Groupon As Andrew Mason Departs

It was just a matter of “when,” but Groupon has finally relieved Andrew Mason of his CEO duties after a quarter in which Groupon widely missed its mark because of its very high expenses and serious international issues, despite growing 30 percent year over year. Vice Chair Ted Leonsis and Executive Chair Eric Lefkofsky will run the … Read more

Groupon’s Sean Smyth on the new ‘Partner Network’

Groupon has been pushing hard to upgrade its merchant base from one-time partners to permanent clients with monthly sales goals. The latest initiative? A “Partner Network” for publishers willing to highlight Groupon deals in return for a piece of the action (10-12 percent for local deals, and lower amounts for Getaways and Goods). Partners get access … Read more

Closely Launches Perch 2.0: New Focus is on SMB Solutions, Rep Management

What we hear from everyone is that SMBs can’t figure out what marketing solutions they should employ, how to go mobile, or measure how well they’re doing on the Web. That realization is driving the direction of a number of new services, including an upgrade this week of Closely’s Perch product. Denver-based Perch, a 10 person startup … Read more

First Data Bets on Virtual Gift Cards to Drive Local Commerce

Gift cards have been growing astronomically and now make up an industry nearing $100 billion in revenues. You’ll see racks of cards for national brands and retailers everywhere, from Safeway to Bed, Bath & Beyond. But can local merchants get in the loop? We’ve seen gift card activity increase in travel, spa & salon and … Read more

All Roads Lead to Groceries: Groupon Adds ‘Snap’ Loyalty Program

When it comes to local commerce and loyalty programs, all roads lead to groceries. That’s the feeling of key companies in the space, including WalMart, Amazon, Google and eBay. Groupon this week announced Snap, a grocery coupon and loyalty program that gets it into groceries in a more meaningful way than prior efforts to go in via … Read more

FiveStars Lands $13.9 Million; Card-Linked Loyalty Space Heats Up

The card-linked loyalty and rewards space is seen by a lot of the smart money as the next Groupon. Today, we saw new money being poured into FiveStars ($13.9 Million), LevelUp ($9 Million) and LocalBonus ($900,000). The companies have now raised $16 million, $21 Million and $1.4 Million respectively — about half the $78 Million that we estimate has been invested … Read more

RewardLoop: SMB Loyalty Effort Focuses on POS ‘Work Around’

We’ve calculated that more than $287 Million has been invested in more than 20 transaction marketing players. The investment reflects the inherent opportunities in transaction marketing, which is a synergistic mash of loyalty programs, offers, reputation management and the “big data” sets that can analyze behavior and target specific customers. A lot of progress has … Read more

Gilt Groupe Lays off Gilt City CEO, Closes Several Local Offices

Gilt Groupe confirmed today that it is eliminating off 10 percent of its staff, including Gilt City chief Nathan Richardson and Park and Bond CEO John Auerbach. The layoffs at the luxury-but-discounted goods provider includes closures of several Gilt Groupe offices, including Atlanta, Seattle and Dallas, and several Gilt City offices inherited from last fall’s BuyWithMe acquisition, including San … Read more