Figuring out how to better serve local businesses and connect those businesses to readers is a big part of local news organizations’ hopes and ideas for making money online.
Facebook’s Deals platform, announced in November, was a blow to these hopes. Now Groupon has piled on with its Groupon Stores platform.
Here’s what Groupon Stores offers:
Businesses can now create and launch their own deals whenever they want. Think of it as the online equivalent of a merchant’s physical storefront. Merchants can now:
- Setup a permanent (and free!) e-commerce presence on Groupon for promoting their business.
- Create their own offers to run deals whenever they want.
- Submit deals to be promoted to Groupon subscribers through email and the Deal Feed (explained below).
- Get customers to follow their Groupon Store, and stay in touch by sending messages through the daily email and deal feed.
Groupon takes a 10 percent cut of deals sold through this platform without its promotional help, and a 30 percent cut of such deals that it promotes. (Groupon takes a 50 percent cut of its bread-and-butter deals-of-the-day.)
Facebook Deals, meanwhile, is free.
What can a news organization offer a local business to top these platforms? It’s not like businesses will be lacking an audience through the platforms, since the entire universe uses Facebook and a growing number of desireable-demographic folks use Groupon.
If Groupon adds aggregation of restaurant reviews, Better Business Bureau rankings, and the like, it’ll have local-business content that equals or is better than that of most news orgs.
No wonder Google is willing to spend $6 billion to get in on that.
all this is moot if Google buys Groupon and fails to integrate it properly into their realm (see Dodgeball/Foursquare). I’ve heard Groupon’s written in Rails, which isn’t Google-friendly…
Definitely a concern — also see Delicious, and plenty of other acquisitions.
One big difference is that Groupon is already such a massive success, and the price tag so high, that Google would be insane not to do everything humanly and organizationally possible to integrate Groupon properly.
How many local businesses will actually use the self-service platform? How many bother to correct or update their business listings in Google or elsewhere?
Or does it not matter, since it’s self-service, and thus, rather inexpensive to run?