Groupon Wannabe PeopleDeals Pitches Improved Dealmaking

Discounts get better the more they are shared

Another Groupon clone is set to hit the market, though this one promises better control for merchants and better incentives for consumers.

PeopleString, a two-year-old startup that manages a social media-centric affiliate program, has launched PeopleDeals, a group coupon product that employs what the company claims is a unique, proprietary sharing technology.

That technology platform, ShareItUp, is designed to induce consumers to share coupons with more people. The more frequently PeopleDeals offers are shared, the more valuable they become. Users can share—and at the same time automatically sweeten—deals via social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, as well as through text messages or email. The product has been available in a public beta.

PeopleString officials see that sharing incentive as a differentiating factor for PeopleDeals, particularly as merchants become wary of one-and-done customers who pounce on offers provided by vendors like Groupon—but don't often convert to loyal customers. The thinking is the more often people share offers, the more likely it is that they will become repeat customers themselves.

Plus, with PeopleDeals, merchants can customize deals, and even tweak them in real time based on consumer response—providing businesses with more control than the Groupons of the world, argues PeopleString, and more of a direct connection to their customers. Companies can also test multiple offers at once and cap certain offers to ensure they don't lose money.

“PeopleDeals offers merchants something Groupon and its clones, which often attract onetime bargain shoppers, do not—a fully customizable coupon platform, direct connection with their customers, and most importantly, a growing, loyal customer base that will advocate on their behalf," said PeopleString president and CEO Darin Myman.