Google Expands Offers with Groupon Like Features

Yipit reported yesterday that Google is rolling out an expansion of their Offers program with Groupon like features in the test markets of NY, San Francisco, Oakland and Portland.  Users may sign up Google.com/offers and if you want to be notified of future launches you can leave your email with Google on this form. When you do sign up in one of the targeted cities you receive a email that notes:

Once Google Offers is available in NYC Downtown we’ll send you regular emails letting you in on amazing offers in your area.

The rollout of the Groupon Like Offers Beta, first reported as in development in January, allows user to subscribe to receive email notices to “Get 50% off or more at places you’ll love”. Yipit notes that Google Offers seems to be taking a very similar approach to existing daily deal sites:

  • 50% off or more. Google states that they “partner with some of the best local businesses in your area to bring you great deals at 50% off or more.” The lower bound of 50% off is one of the key underpinnings of Groupon and LivingSocial’s offerings. Google clearly wants its users to perceive these offers very differently from regular coupons.
  • Email distribution. Google will be distributing these offers via email. Google states that they’ll “send you regular emails letting you in on amazing offers in your area.”
  • Opt-in. Google is not auto-subscribing their users to this program. They are asking user to sign-up for Google Offers via the Google Offers landing page.

Offers, Google’s rebranded Coupon product, has been seeing a slow but steady emergence from the dark shadows of neglect. This new beta test comes on the heels of their nationwide expansion of the their Check-in Offers test in Latitude.

Exactly who and how companies participate in the latter two is a bit of a mystery. After the Check-in expansion was announced I emailed Google the following to see if they were willing to share any additional information:

Can you give me any more details about  rollout of the Latitude incentivized upgrade offers? Free or paid? Plan for wider access? Success in Austin?

Google’s response:

I just heard back from my colleague who works on Latitude, and she says that all the info we can share about check-in offers can be found on our recent blog post here: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/04/check-in-gain-status-and-unlock-offers.html

I’m sure you’ve seen that already, but just wanted to relay that message. We’ll let you know if and when we have more details to share.

 

With the cancelation of Tags, Google now has 3 flavors of Offers; free via the Places Dashboard, the Check-In Offer and the new Email version. How many and what final form Offers will take in the Google paid product mix is unclear and there are likely more changes on the horizon.

Type Coupon
Free Offers in Places
Good Tagged Offers Discontinued 4/15
Better Check-in Offers
Best Groupon Like Product with Direct Sales Force
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8 thoughts on “Google Expands Offers with Groupon Like Features”

  1. Mike,

    Great post. I’ve been keeping my eye on these “groupon competitors”, and the market seems to be getting quite saturated. I’ve been reading some articles doubting the value of these offers from a long-term perspective.

    How do you think Google is going to differentiate themselves from all the others? Or, just because of the fact that they are Google, that’s enough differentiation?

    I’m really going to keep a close watch on this product, and with Groupon’s ~$20B IPO coming up, it should be quite interesting.

  2. Hi Scott

    Google has incredible trust and brand recognition. On the selling side they have incredible knowledge about the 3 million US businesses that have claimed their listings and the national brands and others that are using Local Extensions in AdWords.

    On the sell side, they have resources like reviewers, gmail clients, latitude users, Android users that they could leverage for exposure….

    In the end, the deal space because of low technical barriers will be defined by the reach of the deals and the care that they give to merchants. On that front Groupon might have some vulnerabilities (although Google has yet to demonstrate that they know how to provide warm and fuzzies). This article http://bit.ly/hEh0dz demonstrates some of the issues that Groupon is running into.

  3. Most of my client’s haven’t found much success with the Places ‘offers’. The Google ‘check-in’ aspect hasn’t caught on (yet), and many I talk to are getting a bit weary (both consumers and small business) with the email offers. However, I receive three email offers a day and have purchased a few services as a result. I’m not sure what will be the best outcome, however I suspect if push were to be in play, the check-in type offers might have some traction.

  4. @Andy

    Offers as free coupons in Places is and will be a bust until Google highlights them in some fashion. The Checkin requires Latitude which very few people are using… and the email Offers is at that very embryonic stage of development.

    Even though the market place is moving very quickly, and Google was in it very early, they have really dropped the ball and are now playing catch up… the one thing that they do have is staying power so maybe they can be a player in the market.

    Time will tell…. but the time won’t lack for excitement

  5. I’m getting younger… in that I’m more like my 20 year old college student, I don’t want another email in my inbox! He’s forced to use email by his college and rarely checks it.

    Wait, he doesn’t use email, it’s text, Foursquare and Twitter.

    Freedom of choice I suppose!

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