Daily deal websites are a dime a dozen these days, from Groupon, to Living Social and Tippr, to the hundreds of smaller sites aspiring to ride the wave of group buying success.
To be sure, the deals can be pretty great. But signing up to get all of the alerts means your inbox will be inundated with daily deal emails, not to mention the time you’ll spend sifting through to find those that meet your needs.
Enter daily deal aggregators. A handful of companies are doing the work for you by aggregating all of the Internet deals into one place. Some will send you targeted deals while others will list all of the deals per day on their site. Yahoo is even incorporating offline deals like direct marketer coupons into its service. Either way, these free services promise to take the work out of discount hunting and leave you with what you’re truly after: the discounts.
YipIt offers up recommendations
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past year, you’ve probably heard of Groupon and LivingSocial — the two biggest group-buying daily deal websites. But there are hundreds of smaller ones out there. YipIt, a New York-based daily deal aggregator, had mulled launching a daily deal service, but decided instead to be an aggregator, betting that the number of daily deal sites will explode — which has happened, indeed.
“It’s very easy to launch one of these deal websites so we took a bet with the new service and launched in five cities,” in February, says Jim Moran, co-founder of YipIt. At launch, YipIt counted 2,000 users. Less than a year later, it is now in twenty cities, with 85,000 subscribers.
Recognizing that people don’t want deals for the sake of the deal, YipIt customized its service so that subscribers only get offered deals that are relevant to them. Subscribers get to pick and choose their categories of interest. Let’s say you’re into spas and shopping, but don’t eat out much. YipIt will only send you deals on spas and shopping and not flood your inbox with restaurant discounts. “If we don’t find anything that matches your preferences, we won’t send it to you,” Moran says.
YipIt makes money from the daily deal websites, but Moran said the company maintains its independence and won’t be swayed to feature one deal more prominently than another. Subscribers only get seven offers a day, even though YipIt works with close to 250 sites.
“We have a team of about 15 curators that work around the country to ensure that the smaller sites still get attention,” he says.
Yahoo takes it online and off
Not to be left out of the daily deal craze, in November Internet heavyweight Yahoo announced it would be getting into the local deal aggregation market with its Yahoo Local service. Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo inked partnerships with twenty companies to provide a combination of daily deals and discounts from local direct marketers like ValPak, which sends coupon books to people’s homes. Some of Yahoo’s partners include Groupon, LivingSocial, Gilt City and BuyWithMe. Yahoo plans to ink more partnerships going forward.
“Our strategy with this program is to build the most comprehensive store of deals available online,” says Matt Idema, vice president of Yahoo! Local. “We are trying to get every local offer available to you in one place.” Idema noted that Yahoo will use its targeting technology to make sure subscribers get coupons and deals that are relevant to them.
While Yahoo could have created its own daily deal site, Idema says an aggregation service meets a need. “Consumers don’t have time to get through everything,” he says.
Yahoo’s service is currently in testing phase. Idema wouldn’t say when it will be rolled out to the masses, nor would he disclose the ultimate destination online for this service.
Dealery.com lists them all
Dealery.com, out of New York City, is another company that is going after the aggregation market. But unlike Yahoo and YipIt, it isn’t customizing the deal for subscribers. Launched at the end of August, it currently lists all the daily deals within 14 cities from around two dozen daily deal websites. The company is constantly expanding to add more deals and more cities.
“There are so many sites and clones that once you subscribe in that circus, you are inundated with all these emails. It’s almost too much information,” says Dealery.com founder and chief executive officer Limor Elkayam.
While the competition in the deal aggregation market is heating up, Elkayam says there’s enough room for multiple players and the whole idea of a daily deal isn’t a flash in the pan idea that will quickly sputter out. But chances are, she notes, that the model of offering daily deals will go through iterations, with some companies emerging as niche players in certain areas.
“People just want to save money even if the economy is in a better position than last year,” said Elkayam “Whether the economy is good or bad, saving money isn’t a fad.”