Groupon Latino?

  • by , Columnist, December 9, 2010
Last week, Groupon turned down a $6 billion bid from Google. The enormous offer -- and the fact that Groupon declined it -- highlights the vast size and potential of local online markets. It also inspired me to take a look at who's best positioned to reach the local Hispanic online market.

The success of Groupon and other local online advertising companies will surely inspire entrepreneurs looking grab a piece of the $1.5 billion that Ad Age reports was invested in local Hispanic media in 2008.

A local online advertising business like Groupon requires two key ingredients: a critical mass of local consumers and the ability to sell to local advertisers. Those looking to tackle the local Hispanic online market should combine these ingredients with a deep understanding of the nuances of Hispanic purchasing habits and online behavior. The following is an overview of some companies that are positioned to make a run at the local Hispanic online market.



The big online players

Although the Hispanic market is not a priority, these companies are perhaps best positioned to own the local Hispanic online market. Groupon, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Living Social have aggregated massive lists of targetable consumers, many of whom are Hispanic. They also have the ability and resources to effectively reach and sell to local advertisers.

Los Latinos

Companies directly focused on the Hispanic market benefit from an understanding of the consumer, but don't necessarily have the scale and technological prowess of the big online players.

  • Univision has the ability to reach local consumers and advertisers through 124 wholly owned TV and radio stations. On the digital side, Univision recently announced the launch of 72 new local websites in key markets and can geo-target users on the portal.
  • Entravision, who owns and or operates 51 Hispanic Television stations and 48 radio stations, is making a play for the Hispanic local online market with local station websites in addition to their "Busca" online directory and "Todo Local" classifieds site.
  • ZGS Communications, owner of 14 TV and radio stations recently launched, Hola Cuidad, a network of local Hispanic websites in markets such as Washington D.C., and El Paso, Texas.
  • Other Hispanic media companies that are positioned in this market include, but are not limited to Telemundo, Impremedia and Spanish Broadcasting System.

The startups

Unlike the general market where local online advertising sites seem to launch every day, the Hispanic market is relatively quiet in terms of startups. Descuento Libre made some noise back in November when it announced a partnership with Hoy. In San Diego, Gran Cupón seems to have limped out of the gate, while Mexican startup Buzz Urbano looks to be off to a promising start.

The 2010 U.S. Census will indicate that Hispanics make up 16% of the U.S. Population -- perhaps Google will offer to buy the Groupón of the Hispanic market for 16% of $6 billion -- it comes out to a cool $1 billion.

11 comments about "Groupon Latino? ".
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  1. Lazaro Fuentes from Hip Venture Company, Inc., December 9, 2010 at 10:35 a.m. coming soon!

  2. Lee Vann from Captura Group, December 9, 2010 at 12:06 p.m.

    Suerte Lazaro!

  3. Dean Collins from Cognation Inc, December 9, 2010 at 1:10 p.m.

    Lee, Do you think it is reasonable for a company of non spanish speakign developers to build apps for this market?

    I'm the founder of Live Chat Concepts the developers behind sites like

    We run live chat sessions in english during MLB games (we also have sites for NBA/NHL/Nascar etc).

    Is it feasible for us to directly translate english to spanish? or is this not really directly feasible and more is required to make a success in this space.

  4. Tayde Aburto from Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce, December 9, 2010 at 1:27 p.m.

    Hi Lee,

    Great article as always. We have partnered with A group buying site developed 100% by Mexican programmers. There are very exciting web-based services projects under development in Mexico right now. We are planning to start promoting Citypon in San Diego and other U.S. cities in 2011.

    Look forward to reading your next article. Have a nice day!


    Tayde Aburto

  5. Lee Vann from Captura Group, December 9, 2010 at 1:45 p.m.

    Hey Dean-

    Thanks for your comment, as a baseball fan I will certainly check out your site!

    I think that you should consider hiring/partnering someone that really understands the language and culture of the market. This previous Media Post article should help:

  6. Lee Vann from Captura Group, December 9, 2010 at 1:46 p.m.


    Sounds good, I know there is a great developer community in TJ, we were at the Rails kick off event a while back.


  7. Grace Alvarez, December 9, 2010 at 2:16 p.m.

    The Hispanic market is much larger than the Univision's Telemundo's of this country. The large market that is being missed by articles such as this one and the Spanish language outlets is the American Hispanic of the 2nd-4th generation. Those Hispanics/Latinos which are English dominant , but all and all American with their cultural traditions. To continually address Hispanics as if they are uneducated, poor, only drink Tequila, are blue collar employess, and watch Novelas and speak only Spanish is a disservice to the largest American cultural group in the U.S.

  8. Lee Vann from Captura Group, December 9, 2010 at 2:53 p.m.


    Did you happen to see the point I made about how the big online players reach Hispanics?

  9. David Garcia from garciamatrix, December 9, 2010 at 3:15 p.m.

    My (in development) is narrowly targeted at those wishing to enjoy la vida libre you know where.
    My elevator pitch (Facebook meets Amazon) is garnering much attention from the VC's, because the exit strategy is an IPO or major merger, which is when they cash in. Plan B for same is to operate it as a portal for everything mobile, from cell phones to autos and travel by air or sea.

  10. Irene Audet from, December 16, 2010 at 11:27 a.m.

    Lee -- Great article, como siempre.

    I have to agree a little with Grace. Perhaps they do lump us all together, English speaking American-Latinos and foreign born Spanish-speaking-only Hispanics, into novela watching Univision fans. (I have not watched a novela since I left my house when I was 20. And I watched them only because we had one TV and that was what my mother wanted to watch.)

    My point is that I do believe the numbers are skewed somewhat. Nonetheless Grace, I still think . . . English speaking and all . . we continue to lag a little behind when it comes to technology and using the internet as an informational resource and tool. And I say this from watching and asking people in my own family and community.

    I'm not quite sure why this is. Perhaps it is the digital divide which we seem to be closing quite rapidly. Smartphones and the younger generation, I believe, will close this gap entirely. On our smartphones we will have everything: communication, information and buying power.

    I have no doubt that a Latino Groupon-like site will be very successful both here and in Latin America as we all get the hang of the power of our smartphones.


    P.S. -- Dean: Lee is right, know the culture before the language. However, I still think that by you developing Spanish/Spanglish apps . . . this will get the ball rolling for more apps to be developed for this very lucrative market.

  11. Blair Giesen, January 6, 2011 at 1:09 a.m.

    Hi Lee, I launched in December. We have a partnership with MVS radio, 99.3 La Mejor and 91.7 Diego/Exa. I came from Univision radio and was born in Honduras. The Latin community is slowing filling the database so I am looking forward to 2011. It is a great way to connect with local businesses in a way that has no upfront costs and gives them exposure on the radio that they might not have been able to afford. My goal is to help these local Latino businesses grow.

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