Groupon’s success at buffing a digital sheen onto a classic boiler room sales operation has spawned an explosion of clones. With a business plan so simple, it’s no wonder a flood of wannabes have jumped on the group-buying bandwagon. There’s even a company called Groupon Clone selling user-friendly “build your own Groupon” software packages.
The 250-plus sites now offering daily deals range from hyperniche pet products to hyperlocal restaurant deals. And no one, including investors, seems convinced there’s a bubble yet. More shocking than the sheer volume of clones is the willingness of VCs, ravenous for another overnight success, to write checks. “Competition is good,” said Gonzalo Senior, co-founder of Orlando, Fla.-based BligDeal. “If you have a Starbucks and you put a coffee shop next to it, it will benefit both,” he said.
The Baby Groupons:
Gilt City: $98m*
Members-only Gilt Groupe spinoff tastefully “curates” with a tilt toward food, culture.
15-month-old site has inked partnerships with Facebook Deals and Yahoo’s Local Offers.
Along with Tippr, entices consumers into sharing collective-buying
Exclusive deals (don’t call them “sales”) on luxury restaurants, spas, and weekend getaways.
Spanish apparel discounter has added Italy, Brazil, Mexico; just bought German rival.
Heavily edited social membership site gives time-based apparel and accessory discounts.
Mamapedia Sweet Deals: $10m*
Wiki companion is third-most trafficked in the category after Groupon and LivingSocial.
L.A. company has local family activity deals; acquired Chicago’s Mamaloot
“Mint meets Blippy meets Groupon” pitches credit card spending-based
This San Francisco-focused Groupon copycat takes a merchant-first approach.