A comparison of group buying sites
When I woke up this morning to 6 different emails, from 6 different sites, all offering “group deals” I thought to myself, “new blog post!” (seriously). Here is my comparison of the top group deal sites. All in all, I don’t have a definitive opinion on which site I like the best, but I do lean towards Groupon and LivingSocial because of the iPhone apps; they really do help me make the purchase on the go. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed one!
Groupon: Having been around since late 2008, Groupon has expanded into most major cities (including some in Canada). Deals vary from spa services, restaurants, photo books, gym memberships, and more. Usually the deal is about 50% off of the value.
If you refer a friend, you get $10 in Groupon bucks when they buy their first Groupon. Groupon also has a nifty iPhone app that allows you to view and purchase (very easily, I might add) the daily deal, see how many people have bought the daily deal, see all your Groupons (current and used). There’s also an Android app. Groupon recently added a new feature called LocalRewards, where you can earn Groupon Reward Points for viewing and buying the deal of the day. Reward points can then be redeemed for future Groupons.
LivingSocial: Founded in 2007, LivingSocial has a similar variety of deals as Groupon, but with a slightly smaller range of cities in which deals are offered. LivingSocial has a few key differences; for one, if you and three of your friends buy the deal (you can send out a referrer link) you get the deal for free. LivingSocial also has an iPhone app which allows you to view/purchase, see your purchases, and change account settings.
LifeBooker Loot: LifeBooker is an existing site that books salon and spa appointments at deep discounts. The site recently launched LifeBooker Loot for deals and discounts for New York City and Los Angeles. Most of the deals are valid for a year, and can be used almost immediately after purchasing. As far as I’m aware, there’s no app for LifeBooker Loot, and its limitation is that its only relevant for residents of NYC or LA.
DealOn: Founded in 2009, DealOn has taken an interesting twist to the group buying phenomenon by reducing the price by the amount of people to buy the deal. For example, I recently bought a Zengo DealOn, which was advertised at $25, but by the end of the day, reached $20 by the amount of people who bought the deal. DealOn is also available in most major cities, and as far as I see, has no mobile apps.
OpenTable: OpenTable has recently jumped on the group buying bandwagon with their “In the Spotlight”, offering weekly discounts on restaurants in the OpenTable network. This is an interesting tie-in, as you can immediately make reservations through OpenTable once you’ve bought the deal on their website. You get another reminder when you get the deal certificate in email to make reservations. Once you sign up, you get an “In the Spotlight” email every Thursday for a new deal. Nothing on the OpenTable iPhone app yet, but I’m sure they’ll be adding the functionality or creating a new app.
Yelp: As of today, Yelp is starting to offer “Yelp Deals” to offer discounts from local businesses. Currently, it looks like Yelp Deals are only available in San Diego, but will be rolling out to larger markets soon. Given Yelp’s existing database of members and businesses already on the site, this could be an interesting competitor to Groupon, especially if this is integrated into the Yelp mobile app.