Are Money-Saving Group Deal Sites Taking Up Too Much of Your Time?

A penny saved, they say, is a penny earned -- which certainly explains the popularity of group-buying websites. But they also say that time is money, which is why you may be feeling as if the daily slog through your inbox's growing list of discount deals is becoming more trouble than it's worth.

The temptation to sign up for "just one more" deal site is likely to become even greater with a host of new competitors coming online soon, featuring an ever-widening range of merchants offering deep discounts in hopes of winning repeat business. Savvy consumers, however, can save both time and money by approaching group buying with a laser focus on the deals they're most likely to be interested in, rather than snapping up goods and services just because the deals look like bargains.

And more options are becoming available for weeding out the deals you want from the deals you don't, say industry players. Aggregation sites are increasingly popping up, and niche group-buying sites are forming rapidly.

Sites to Suit Your Specific Needs

Niche group-buying sites serve a dual role for online publications and websites, allowing them to leverage their existing readership bases and advertising relationships -- for example, ParentsDeals, which was created by the publisher of Parents and American Baby magazines and is hosted on the Parents.com site. Other niche sites are being formed to serve particular clientele and distinguish themselves from broad-based players like Groupon and LivingSocial, say industry players.

Environmentally conscious shoppers can pick from among such eco-friendly niche sites as GreenDeals operated by Green America, or standalone green site ethicalDeal. Green Box Top offers deals designed for those interested in eating organic and locally grown foods, which likely draws a different crowd than Omaha Steaks' overstocks daily deal.

And the list of niches sites goes on, among them:
  • Spa Sites: SpaRahRah run by spa information site SpaFinder; TheRightDeal operated by spa information site SpaWeek; and Daily Deals run by spa and hotel listing site SpaandTravel.com.
  • Luxury Sites: Gilt Groupe, a standalone site that focuses on fashion, home furnishings and travel; Ideeli, a standalone site for fashion, home and beauty; and One Kings Lane, a standalone site for home furnishings.
  • Family Sites: Sweet Deals run by mom's site Mamapedia; Plum District, operated as a standalone daily deals site for moms.
  • Jewish Sites: JDeal, which offers such deals on kosher foods and restaurants; KosherKouponz, which offers discounts on Judaica items from kiddush cups to etrog boxes; and Jewpon, which sets itself apart with a bilingual English/Hebrew website.
Consumers who have signed up for a number of niche sites should consider creating an email filter that redirects all their daily deals into a separate inbox. Setting up a filter for Gmail, Yahoo email, or email using AOL (which publishes DailyFinance) is relatively easy, and there resources out there for other email providers as well.

Reduce Aggravation with Aggregation

Deal aggregation sites like Yipit and The Deal Map provide consumers with another alternative for reducing the daily deal deluge to areas of specific areas of interest and location. Both companies pull their daily deals from hundreds of websites, from niche players like Green Box Top to industry titans Groupon and LivingSocial.

The Deal Map, for example, has 12 categories that range from health and beauty to home and garden to medical, for example. Yipit slices it even thinner, allowing consumers to pick their interests from among 51 categories such as pets, bridal, skydiving or kids. Personalize your profile, and the aggregator sends you only daily deals that fit your interests.

Based on category selections made by Yipit's users, here's how its top 10 categories shaped up:

popular daily deal categories

"We'll add more categories if it makes it easier for users," says Jim Moran, Yipit co-founder, noting that as more businesses try marketing themselves on group-buying sites, a wider range of categories may be needed. "We now have air conditioning repair companies offering daily deals."

Back in February 2010, Yipit worked with 20 daily deal companies and offered a couple hundred deals a month. Now, it aggregates more than 500 deal sites, and offers about 20,000 deals per month, says Moran.

Location, Location, Location


The Deal Map sources its deals from over 400 sites: small businesses, national retailers, and group buying heavyweights like Groupon, says Dan Visnick, the company's vice president of marketing.

"People want more relevant deals and want to select from the categories they're interested in," says Visnick. Location is a key filtering criterion as well: 50% of Deal Map's users have taken advantage of the company's mobile app to find deals in close proximity to their mobile device.

But after selecting location as that first slice toward personalizing daily deals picks, consumers will often select more than one category to draw from for their daily deals, Visnick says.

Visnick's gut estimate is that, a year or so ago, 85% of the daily deals came from general deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, but that the dramatic rise in niche sites has lowered that market share to around 65% today.

Groupon, LivingSocial Still Rule the Roost


Recognizing the trend, Groupon and LivingSocial are moving to take their broad reach into the niche arena. Earlier this month, Groupon teamed up with Live Nation Entertainment to form a joint-venture to offer deals on live events like concerts, theatrical performances and sports under GrouponLive.

LivingSocial is also forming some categories: It kicked off its Family Edition in November, and debuted its Escapes site for quick, nearby excursions following its acquisition of Urban Escapes last fall.

For now, LivingSocial plans to focus on its existing product offerings, rather than creating a number of new categories, says Maire Griffin, a LivingSocial spokeswoman. She notes that despite the onslaught of niche sites, LivingSocial and Groupon continue to hold about 90% of the group buying market. And both companies' efforts to expand their geographic reach internationally and domestically are keeping them hopping.

Although the number of players in the group buying industry has exploded over the past year with more niche players and aggregators, Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru doesn't see any immediate danger for the big sites.

"Most people find out about deals by getting emails from companies like Groupon directly. That's not going to be displaced by aggregators," Mulpuru says.

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12 Comments

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Wayne Parker

Great read. I know personally, I spend too much time on those sites. I also feel I spend more money when I feel I'm saving money.

Wayne Parker | http://www.sixfiguremomsathome.com

February 05 2014 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

Worth reading post! Check out new deal aggregator site: http://www.dealbind.com/

September 20 2011 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daily Deals

Great Article Dawn! In the land 'Down Under' Group buying has become a phenomenon. More than 50 daily deal sites a counting so the team at DealsGuide has used various technologies in order to aggregate all the deals. Our Facebook application. iPhone app and website platform allows consumers to conveniently access all of the deals at the leisure no matter the location. Visit www.dealsguide.com.au.

May 29 2011 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
S.Bindes

Well if you`re going to post the aggregators sites, let`s get a more complete list of all the competitors in the market.

CakeDeals
DealADay
Dealery
DealGator
DealRadar
OneSpout
8coupons

May 21 2011 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mvfreel

I agree! Revoriot the idiot need to pull his racist sheets tightly around his idiotic mouth or neck!

May 18 2011 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rob Hawkins

This is why we use That Free Thing. Instead of buying deals we get free things. We pay $9.95 a month for access to ove 850 free things like free food, free travel, sometimes free hotels, free software and mp3's, and so much more. This is only 60 days old and over 140,000 people have looked at it. This will be bigger than Groupon. http://www.myfreething.com/easymoney

May 17 2011 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
DTVideo

I use a company called Savemore.com and I really like the fact that I get a different style of deal every day. I'm not sure that I would sign up with one of the aggregators since I'm not going to be using spa's, or exclusively looking for deals in such a limited niche. I thought the whole point of daily deals was to introduce me as a consumer to new services, etc. that I might have never used or known about before, and give me the chance to try them at a discount. I just bought some wall art that I probably never would have picked up if it hadn't been for Savemore.com and I saved a bunch of money on it, too!

May 17 2011 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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YES_YES_YES

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