Google Influences Lives In Social Marketing Coupon Site
Ex-Google and DoubleClick employees Jason Kalish and Jorge Zapata have launched a coupon aggregator that serves up daily offers and discounts from Groupon, YouSwoop and others across more than 50 cities. The local offers are combined and delivered to people either in email, RSS Feed, Twitter tweets, or Facebook Fan page.
LocalOfferLounge.com quietly launched about two weeks ago. Cofounders Kalish and Zapata met during their time at Google and DoubleClick, and reconnected later to discuss the potential to launch a new site based on affiliate and performance-based marketing.
Kalish left Google in April, and shortly after began putting together the business model and a team of programmers who began building the platform in December. The idea to make the service simple came from his days at Google and Performics, which DoubleClick bought.
Visit LocalOfferLounge.com and it's easy to see Google's influence. The two didn't want a complicated site where the technology would stop people from using the service. "We link the titles of the offers directly to the offers," Kalish says. "We're not making consumers stop and read something on our Web site first. We believe that's the responsibility of the destination Web site, such as Groupon."
The traffic from the offer may start with LocalOfferLounge.com, but the company sends the consumer directly to the destination Web site, making the interface very "Google-like." The clean and easy-to-user interface lets you choose the city from a menu at the top right of the Web page. There are more than 40 major U.S. cities to start, along with Toronto, as well as the United Kingdom. New cities take about three minutes to add.
The product roadmap includes aggregating the offers from the more than 50 coupons specialty Web sites, and potential deals are on the table with businesses to forward and place an aggregate feed on their Web site, too. "We plan to build a large distribution network," Kalish says. "Nothing's left off the table. We're having conversations on both sides of the house to develop distribution opportunities and deals with individual Web sites."
The coupon sites, such as Adility, Groupon and SwoopOff, sell discount coupons. LocalOfferLounge aggregates the special deals and presents them to consumers. Let's say a consumer sees an interesting special in an email alert. Clicking on the link might take her to Groupon.com, where she could buy the $20 off coupon for $5. For each sale, LocalOfferLounge takes a percentage.
The service went live two weeks ago, and the development team has been busy checking the algorithms that automatically categorize the deals. Kalish says the company has been pulling in about 160 offers daily since January. As the business builds and more offers become available, it will become increasingly important to put snacks in the food category and hotel rooms in hospitality and travel. This will allow people to easily scan down the list.
Aggregating the specials offered on all the the Web sites, 31% fell into the Food and Beverage category, followed by Beauty & Spas, 22.0%; Sports & Recreation, 11.1%; Fitness & Nutrition, 6.4%; Arts & Entertainment, 5.4%; Health & Medical, 3.1%; Clothing & Accessories, 2.7%; Automotive, 2.2%; Photography & Photo Services, 2.1%; and Travel & Hospitality, 2.0%.