so what’s this groupon shit anyway?

18 02 2011

last year when groupon really busted onto the scene in maine, i must have gotten like 48 emails from friends and family members telling me that i should think/write/talk/pee my pants about it.

so i checked it out… and frankly, it left me a little limp (boner analogy intended).

now conceptually, i think it’s a great idea: 1 deal, limited time, limited avialabilty… the deep discount IS seductive, as is the fact that there needs to be enough people taking the deal in order for it to be valid.  but for some reason, i was expecting to be completely blown away, and i just wasn’t.

for example, today’s portland deal is a discount car wash.  i’m sure a lot of people are really enthusiastic about this with the salt/slush tornado that’s been going on here lately, but me, not so much. i suppose with a site like this, it is a bit optimistic for me to expect that the daily deal to appeal to me even the majority of the time… but to date, there has only been one deal that has even vaguely interested me ($10 at barnes & noble for $5). groupon just doesn’t have what i want.

that said, i should be thanking groupon for being so exceptionally copy-able. groupon clones have been shooting wildly from every orifice of the internet for the last year or so, and some of them actually do give me the discount boner that i so deeply desire (although many of them [sorry loonEdeals] could sill use A LOT of work). but what i’ve realized in the last year as i have slugged through the symphony of variations on groupon, is that for me, it’s not about the format that makes a site desireable to me, it’s what they’re selling.  groupon might be the most elegant of the deal sites, but if it only offers car washes and pricey spa treatments… i’m never going to buy.

i’ve made a small list of online deal sites below (of various ilks) that i’ve been enjoying lately, but there’s so many out there! what am i missing?

no more rack: this site offers incredible daily discounts on fashion, beauty, accessory, and gift items from brands i have actually heard of and would consider buying. i’ve seen super discount smashbox, clinique, american apparel, xoxo… decent stuff for the most part, but shit sells out quick. they also offer $10 in credit for opening a new account, and for referring friends.

weshop: i was originally seduced to weshop by laura at sweetersalt who alerted me to a $10 CVS gift card for $4, but i signed up for their email alerts, and have been very impressed by overall by their selection. urban, modern, most recently i was smitten with a $30 gift card to neighborhoodies for $15, and today they have professional graffiti supplies for 50% off. kinda makes a girl wanna take up spray paintin. *UPDATE* ok, i go on and talk about how they’re all hip and urban, and then they change their deal to comfycozypetfurniture! whatever, they can’t all be winners!

phoenix auctions: on the local tip (since i already smack talked loonEdeals), the auctions on the portland phoenix website are AMAZING. squid & whale tattoo! nomia! mesa verde! what could possibly be better than beloved local businesses givin it away for 50% off?

coupon evolution: in the spirit of full disclosure, i would like to tell you that this particular local company has hired me to be their resident blogger (i’m finally getting paid for writing something! my first post goes up on monday!). now, i would not write for a website that i didn’t think was awesome. or maybe i would if they paid me a lot of money… BUT, i would absolutely not give them valuable space/pimpin on my personal blog.

coupon evolution is an interesting hybrid of all the deal sites, with a very local twist. they’ve got one grouponesque daily deal via dealitious (today it’s for susan’s fish & chips which i still miss desperately despite being vegetarian for almost 4 years), AND a selection of discount gift certificates, AND printable/textable coupons (FOR FREE YO) for great discounts at local businesses. again, the key to my heart is representing brands that i actually care about. they won me over with tandoor, and then kept it going with deals on places like finer points (dance shit is expensive!), and po’ boys and pickles (STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING IS YOUR BOYFRIEND).  i have a feeling that i’m going to enjoy working for them, but i promise not to turn this blog into an advertisement. you deserve better than that.

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4 responses

19 02 2011
Melanie

I think you’d like Groupon better if you lived closer to civilization. 😉 I get offers all of the time that are amazing!! Obviously the deals are different based on geographical region, but I’ve also hit pay dirt with deals online with Picaboo, Gap, and beauty retailers that were awesome. Definitely worth paying attention to! Or you could always move to Boston to get better Groupon deals which I think is a fab idea.

20 02 2011
bessmarvin

totally! i subscribed to the boston groupon for a while, and it looked pretty hot. maybe portland just needs to catch up? or maybe portland will just make do with lower cost local deal sites. the copycats are taking over, so there’s definitely still a lot of good stuff out there to choose from (even if groupon is leaving me cold). as for moving to boston… i hope someday to have a reason to move to a bigger city. i don’t think i want to be a professional blogger when i grow up, but i would like to write. unfortunately, it’s near impossible to make a living doing that in maine…

5 07 2011
Marc Shepard

Hi there – just stumbled upon this old post and had one (months too late) note to add to it: although you are correct that Groupon is the biggest discount site, they were no way near the first….the Portland Phoenix auction site went live in June 2006!

19 07 2011
bessmarvin

so you guys are the OG coupon site. i love that. also, i feel like you consistently have things i want to buy. sorry groupon, you’re beat.

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