Interesting piece at the NYTimes on how GroupOn distinguishes itself from on the copycats that are cropping up in the hundreds:
Any Web site can offer a daily deal, and in the wake of Groupon’s success just about everyone is. There are hundreds of knock-offs and imitators, some of them trying to undercut the original by charging the merchant less than Groupon does. Others try to cater to specialized audiences (babies, gay people). Groupon’s closest competitor, Living Social, is backed by Amazon, the retailing giant that has a history of winning.
“We’re not at all concerned any competitor is going to come in and start writing like us,” says Mr. With. “They try but fall flat.” (Living Social declined to comment.) In other words, words will save Groupon. Many more words. Mere words.
Like all the companies that have copied the iPhone over the last 4 years, the companies copying GroupOn are copying surface qualities. To other companies, GroupOn showcases deals, when the reality is owners of GroupOn adds value beyond the ‘group coupons’ they offer.
I respect GroupOn for trying to create a great product.