Is Groupon Really Community Based

Ryan RydellBlog

Groupon. By now, you have probably already heard of it. You may have even bought something from it. However, if you are one of these people, please bear with me as I explain it as quickly as possible:

[list type=”list-4″]
  • Business agrees to offer your discount to their area consumers
  • Groupon advertises said discount to its list of email subscribers
  • Groupon collects money from subscribers that want to buy the deal
  • Groupon sends purchasers a voucher for said purchase
  • Consumer takes voucher to local business in exchange for agreed upon items/service
  • Groupon sends the business a check for “at most” 1/2 the total they collected from consumers.  This total is split into equal payments over the life of the groupon.
[/list]Pretty simple…at least it looks that way. There is an entirely different discussion to be had on whether their system works for small, local businesses, but that’s not my topic today. Today, I want to talk to you about whether or not Groupon is really focused on bringing you deals that you can use, in THIS community. Here is the deal – When a company wants to be featured they are required to go onto a “waiting list“. Groupon offers no information on how long the wait is, who gets to be featured first, or why…they simply tell you that you will have to wait until Groupon decides to offer your deal…or in other words: When Groupon decides they can make bunch of money off of you. This is OK, seeing that all companies want to make money, and far be it from me to be mad about Groupon’s success. However, Groupon has been very adamant about its focus on Communities. This is why they have a site specific to your city. In our case, Rockford, IL. This is why they use reps in each area to visit local businesses and convince them to lose money under the disguise of new customers. This waiting list is an interesting cookie. Side note: Yes, I am in the coupon business, and no there is NOT a waiting period for only 24 hours of advertising.  With you get 24/7 exposure for about 1 trillionth of the price…without all the baggage. Back to the topic on hand: I mean, how many local businesses do they have on this list…dozens, hundreds? Does a local shop that has waited for months get pushed aside at will? YES, YES it does.  Let me show you an example: As a matter of fact, Groupon has recently featured businesses that have NOTHING to do with Rockford at all…while keeping the local Rockford businesses on “the waiting list”. A recent Groupon was for, a company offering public tee time access to otherwise private courses…however, doesn’t have a single Rockford course listed. Hmm, doesn’t sound very community based to me.  Then again, maybe I’m seeing this wrong. That’s where you come in. So, I ask you this: Is Groupon really focused on the community? Let me know what you think in the comment box below…and remember to share this with your friends/tweeps so we can get a good discussion going.  I would really like to hear what Rockford thinks about this Groupon trend.