Platform Communications Views

Don’t look a gift horse……the reality of Groupon

Maybe it’s my age, maybe I am just too cynical, but when I first saw Groupon I thought it was a con.

We’ve heard forever about the collective buying power potential of the internet – those of us who have been around for a while will remember the classic use case (or urban myth?) of the woman who used the web to get a free car with the bulk purchase discount she got for having 9 other people buy the same car. Back then, that was the future, the way the internet was going to make our lives richer.

So I was really interested when I asked some (younger) members of the Platform team what they think about Groupon. They love it, and so it seems do the press and other online giants like Google who you can imagine are right now working out how to usurp Groupon post failed acquisition bid. Now that I am signed up my inbox is overflowing with great deals on facials, restaurants, luxury car days and a ton of things I never knew I needed, until I was offered a 70% discount.

As the debate continues around monetizing social media and online communities, it’s interesting to see what sparks these trends. No doubt the global recession is playing a huge part in the success of Groupon, and I do wonder whether consumers will ever want to pay ‘full price’ for goods and services again. Will that be an own goal for the retailers or the final shift to online people power?

Gay Bell

Twitter: @gay_platform