If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

Summary: Like the old saying goes, if you can't buy them, beat them...Or something like that.

TOPICS: Google

In a highly publicized, failed acquisition bid, Google attempted to buy the local deals and advertising service Groupon late last year. Their offer of $6 billion suggests just how seriously Google takes the local ad/search market and Groupon's proposed $15 billion IPO suggests just how seriously Wall Street takes the market. However, not to be deterred, Google is simply rolling their own local ad/group coupon service. Heading into testing now, Google Offers will either be another Wave or may, perhaps more likely, make Groupon wish they'd sold when they had the chance.

As Mashable reported (via CNN.com), a Google spokesperson has essentially confirm[ed that] Google Offers is real:

"Google is communicating with small businesses to enlist their support and participation in a test of a pre-paid offers/vouchers program. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new products, such as the recent Offer Ads beta, that connect businesses with customers in new ways."

It's easy to imagine a scenario in which the Groupon acquisition would have given Offers a serious jumpstart in terms of technology, experienced sales staff, and business relationships. However, an Apple acquisition would have given Google a leg up in the mobile phone space too (and yes, I know that Google couldn't buy Apple, but my point is valid) but Android is doing just fine without that particular advantage, thank you very much.

Will it take Offers a while to take off once it's out of beta? Probably. The Android comparisons are here as well. It took Android a while to become the dominant smartphone OS and there were (and continue to be) occasional missteps in that space. However, just as Android has reached a critical mass where a Verizon iPhone will be temporarily disruptive but hardly disastrous, Google's ubiquity in search and mapping mean that Groupon and the many clones that have emerged will most likely be feeling some very serious competitive pressure from the search behemoth before long.

Topic: Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • If you can't beat them, drive them out of business with their own idea.

    Sounds a bit like Microsoft, doesn't it?
    • The problem is, Google will fail at this, too.


      They won't be driving Groupon out of business anymore then Google Gears killed Sharepoint, or Buzz killed Facebook, ect.
      John Zern
      • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

        @John Zern
        Or Google killed Yahoo!
        Or Android is killing iOS!
        Or gMail has started rolling market share away!

        Nope, Google is one big failure.
  • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

    I don't see why this wouldn't work out well for Google. They are already very popular with a lot of consumers who use their other products and services.

    If you are a consumer looking to save, try http://www.dailydealpool.com. They'll email you daily with the best buys from all the daily deal sites out there. This means you won't miss out on a great buy!
  • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

    Another copy idea from the supposed geniuses at Google. I agree, this is destined to fail. Whenever Google copies something they always fail at it. Google only has one thing associated with it and that is search. They know nothing of retail.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

      @Loverock Davidson I think gmail might be considered a success over hotmail. Also, I happen to use the shopping tab on google to find places to buy stuff.
  • Google

    Google can't copy, look at Buzz and Wave... the only thing google got right was Gmail. Things that were good they destroyed, for example Google News, whoever did that redesign needs to be fired!!
    • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own


      A lot of the issues with "other" companies not doing as well as teh original, is because the US has a Intellectual Property Rights and Patent system shoved too far up it's backside. This stymies innovation. If Google was able to make a system that was more closely similar without threat of suing, it would increase competition and drive all involved companies to better their products. Instead american patent system and IP laws make sure there is ALWAYS one clear winner, in this case Groupon, unless Google learns to do something innovative, like notifying you if you are within 5 miles of a store that they have an offer for, or using GPS to determine when you walk into a restaurant (vs. retail/movie/... locations) and automatically buzz your phone alerting you to coupons for that location or others nearby with a similar category of product. Once things get the way of the "future" billboards that customize themselves to your personal tastes when you get near them, and even greet you by name, then Google is already a loser in this market.

      So in a sense I agree, Google is horrible at making anything profitable, except search, but this limitation is mostly the fault of USA laws and regulations.
  • Groupon $15Bn valuation - ROFLMAO

    Why anyone on their right mind thinks Groupon is worth $15bn puts me on the floor.<br><br>It's little more than a disount coupon affiliate site, with a little rudimentary social networking.<br><br>Are we back to the madness of dotcom $multi-bn IPO's, for any old shite these days ?<br><br>Perhaps, as Goldman-Sachs are unable to sell any Mortgage backed SPV's these days <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
    • Bubble

      @neilpost You're exactly right--this absolutely REEKS of another bubble, and we all know that bubbles burst in the end. I've seen no numbers to make me think Groupon should be valued at anywhere near $15 billion--or even the $6 billion that Google offered.

      I like Groupon. I've bought deals from them. But valuation in the billions? I just don't see it.
  • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

    Don't be daft; Google has money to burn, they can pay $6B to save the brand-building; and Wall Street... come on. Do we REALLY need to state AGAIN what a bunch of 'tards THEY are? They're only supporting that inflated IPO valuation cuz each and every one of them wants to be first on the "Airplane" and collect from the marks before it crashes.
  • Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll steal their ideas

    At least Google is not stealing ideas from Apple this time.
    • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own


      Much of Apple's success past Apple I/II/III originates from Xerox PARC.

      Perhaps Xerox should sue Apple :-)
      • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

        @neilpost Apple licensed the tech, so no.
  • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

    Groupon will falter. The high evaluation is based on the concept they will continue to do what they have done, but frankly they can't. The business model takes too much away from businesses. A voucher, prepaid, for a product at about 50% off of which groupon takes 50% of the revenue, leaving 25% of the original price to the seller.

    So, unless the stuff being sold is insanely overpriced, it only works for the seller if they get lots of repeat business. The thing is , I don't see much in the way of companies going back for a second dip with groupon.

    Google can just do a groupon clone and take 10% instead.
    This makes it more palatable for the business and will instantly pull the rug from under groupon which needs the flow of revenue to stay alive. Much of what they collect gets paid out as commissions to the sales people.
    Google can likely scale better and faster in the long run.
    • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

      Groupon take 50% of the revenue !! Aagghh!!!

      Fcuk me, that's barking mad. Surprised anyone is interested. An affiliate/referral should never take this chunk of money. 10% revenue, or a fair profit split only (perhaps 25%).

      No doubt they have expenentially extrapolated this, to get their $15bn IPO madness.
    • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own


      having worked in retail, i can say that a normal markup from wholesale to retail is over 100% in some segments, it all depends what segment you are looking at...

      there is also the point of view that many of these "deals" may be on something that would have sat on a shelf forever otherwise... no matter what you paid for it initially, if it doesn't move off the shelf, it is a continuing drain because it is taking up space a product that sells better could occupy.

      as the retailer, i would much rather dump something that isn't moving at 50% of the wholesale price i paid for it than have it sit on the shelf until i'm force to simply throw it out at 0% of the wholesale price i paid... sometimes it isn't about making a profit, but rather about cutting your losses, and quickly
  • Those investors for Groupon should give me the money and I can give them

    a much better system.<br><br>In fact, I don't need a billion dollars or even 100 million or even 10 million.<br><br>And, I already have the system built. I'd just have to pull it "off the shelf" and refresh it with better graphics and, voila!, the system could be up in a matter of a month or two.<br><br>And, the system wouldn't depend on e-mail coupons, and, the retailers/vendors wouldn't have to pay so much to a company in order to get customers to bite. The retailers/vendors would be in charge of their own "coupon" business, and the consumers would just "menu" into the deals being offered through coupons. <br><br>Perhaps Google should be calling me.
  • RE: If Google can't buy Groupon, then they'll build their own

    @Groupon whoever they can't beat it.Its growing and improving a lot of informations up to date."coupons" more over they are using in daily deals sites to establish a new info for customers.