Google Confirms Testing a Groupon Like Product – Google Offers

Update: Matt of, a local search marketing firm in NY, notes in his comments below that Google is already actively marketing this product in NY. He points to the Offers landing page where the program is described very briefly and there is a contact form to participate in the beta programs for Google Offers. On the page Google notes: Google Offers makes it easy for you to attract new customers and bring back old ones by enabling you to instantly post discounts and other types of special offers across Google properties.

Google has confirmed a Mashable report that they are testing a Groupon like product. Greg is also reporting on this at SEL.

Google’s statment:

Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and  participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This  initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with  customers in new ways. We do not have more details to share at this time, but will keep you posted.

Mashable is reporting that “that Google will pay out 80% of a business’ revenue share three days after its deal runs. Google will hold the remaining 20% for 60 days to cover refunds before sending the rest” and that it will be powered by Google Checkout.

Google renamed their coupon product to Offers on November 15th, just a mere two weeks prior to their discussions with Groupon becoming public. The purchase of Groupon made sense to me at the time and the development of a deal product now does as well.

Here is a slightly revised chart from that time frame of Google’s free and paid products for Local that shows how a Groupon like Offers product would fit in the mix…

Type Location Ad Coupon
Free Places Offers
Good Tags Tagged Offers
Better Boost An automated product to compete with the newly announced Groupon Stores
Best Adwords Groupon Like Product with Direct Sales Force

The development of an automated or semi automated deal product at level 3 in the chart above is a no brainer for Google. Developing a deal product for national brands is also within their current institutional knowledge. Where they could very well have trouble is the “feet on the street” in the local markets. And that will be the true test of their ability to compete in the space.

As I noted in early December, unlike Tags and Boost that had restrained upper limits on income, a Deal product could have a virtually unlimited upside for Google if adopted nationally. The market, while starting to get crowded, has two market leaders and there is certainly room at the moment for a third. Whether they will successfully execute and be able to achieve a market leading position is ultimately the question.

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10 thoughts on “Google Confirms Testing a Groupon Like Product – Google Offers”

  1. Pingback: Quora
  2. I’ve had several clients in NYC contacted multiple times about this program and they emailed me documentation regarding the program as well as this link: When I called the Google rep, they did not seem to have too much information, but I was told that it was a 50/50 split between my client and Google and that there was not a tipping point number of customers to make the deal active. I was also told that they planned to launch “sometime in the spring”. It seems that they are marketing this pretty aggressively from the getgo.

  3. @Matt
    Thanks for the update and links! I tried to fill the form out but it would not accept my Olean address…. I wonder what cities it can be tested in.

  4. Not sure about the cities, but all three clients are in the auto repair business in NYC. I actually spoke with two different reps and both of them had very little info, to the point that I did not believe it was even Google. Seems like an odd industry for this type of program—I wonder why they are so aggressively pushing auto repair shops. Also, they did mention that they would be using email lists for marketing and I believe they mentioned their content network as well. I started receiving calls early last week—guess I should have blogged about it back then and scooped Mashable:(

  5. @Matt

    I’ll say! (Or passed my way and gotten some link juice 😉 )

    It is odd that they are targeting Auto Repair…but it is very local and everyone needs a tune up or new wipers etc etc

    Have you see where Google is showing the results in the wild?

  6. @ Mike
    Here’s a link to the screenshot of the example they sent in the document (I don’t believe its live in the wild yet): And here is most of the text that they sent in their email regarding the program:

    “Why do this?

    1. Generate new and repeat customers for your business.
    2. Google will promote your offer to local consumers via email and through web sites in the Google Display Network.
    3. Show me the money! You’ll receive a payout for 80% of your revenue share approximately 3 days after your deal runs. Google will hold the remaining 20% for 60 days to cover any refunds that may be processed during that period.

    Please review the attached document for more details on how Google Offers work.”

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