Facebook launched its new location based service ‘Places’ last week. Like many things with new Facebook products invasion of privacy was an issue. In the case of Facebook places it allows your friends to broadcast where you are and they can do this even if you are not there.
This can be dangerous if you are having a spat with a friend and he or she ‘broadcasts’ that you are playing hooky or golf bar during the work day (when you were not there) and your boss finds out. The default settings allow this intrusion and you have to go into the application to change this in order to stop it from happening.
Meanwhile the folks at Foursquare whose location based service allows you to check in and send that update to Facebook are trying to figure out if FB is out to have their lunch. Since Foursquare has no revenue model, it would be a light lunch at best. I’ve been checking in and using Foursquare for almost six months thinking that they would figure something out but it’s taking far too long. The message I am getting from most of my friends on my check-ins is – why?
So in my view neither Facebook nor Foursquare accomplished much last week. But couponing site Groupon (www.groupon.com) had a GREAT week (see the article in Forbes) http://tcrn.ch/bLhcxt . Groupon launched its first nationwide deal – at $ 25.00 off discount on a $ 50.00 purchase at Gap. It became so popular so fast that it actually crashed Groupon’s servers for a time. In total it looks like more than 400,000 coupons will be sold (Figure more than $ 11,000,000 in total). Groupon won’t disclose the specifics of the deal regarding profit margins. Since Gap offered such a steep discount I’m not completely certain what they accomplished besides some pretty expensive brand buzz.
Groupon’s ‘deal of the day’ is gaining momentum and the company is actually making money (yes they have a revenue model – how about that?!). From Wikipedia – The company offers one “Groupon” per day in each of the markets it serves. The Groupon works as an assurance contract using ThePoint’s platform: if a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all, if the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day. This reduces risk for retailers, who can treat the coupons as quantity discounts as well as sales promotion tools. Groupon makes money by getting a cut of the deal from the retailers. There are certain businesses that Groupon will not offer its services to, including shooting ranges, abortion clinics, plastic surgeons and strip clubs.
There are other couponing sites – Thrillist, Woot, Living Social, MyCityDeal, but Groupon is the current first round leader.
So while Facebook frets about the new movie (Social Network,)coming out that has less than flattering portrayals of Marc Zuckerberg and the team that got it started, Foursquare continues to try to figure out how it could actually make some money, Groupon is coming on strong and I think they may have one of the strongest new revenue models out there.
Are you going to give Groupon a try?