Groupon versus Living Social

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Groupon is one of the best daily deals sites around
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Groupon versus Living Social? Among daily deals sites, who's better?

The birth of the "daily deals" sites sparked a bit of an arms race in the newly created business tech sector.  Companies that could sign deals with restaurants, movie theaters and businesses in order to offer products and services for half of what they normally cost was immensely popular almost immediately.  Websites like Hotwire and Expedia had already sewn up discount travel sites and the ability to get meals and products for much cheaper than what they were valued at had folks chomping at the bit. 

Groupon is widely regarded as the company that first found out just how much money could be made with this marketing strategy.  Soon other contenders to the throne were born and a battle for the daily deals landscape was joined. 

While companies like Amazon have jumped into the fray, the real showdown has Groupon versus Living Social.  Living Social being a daily deals site that looks and acts quite a bit like Groupon with just a couple of tweaks here and there to give it some originality.

While some people can debate who actually wins the battle of Groupon versus Living Social, the bottom line is that consumers are the real winners in this battle because they will find more useful goods and services getting deep discounts.  Where most of the discounted products used to be things that most people wouldn't be looking at to buy, even if they had their price shaved, the two companies have had to adjust and offer movie tickets and meals at the best restaurants in town in order to get customers. 

How the two companies do business is remarkably similar with just a few differences.

The Local Feel

Both of these sites were originally focused on giving their customers a deal at local mom and pop type restaurants, stores and quite a few spas and hair salons.  To a great degree this is what drove Groupon to being as popular as they were, because deal seekers were used to only seeing coupons and deals from national chains.  Suddenly, being able to save $50 at your favorite watering hole was a big deal.  

Of course, since Groupon had pretty much already sealed up the local market, Living Social saw that they could make some more inroads in offering big time deals on national chains that were located in local markets.  The ability to offer a coupon at a store like Whole Foods is what is credited as putting Living Social on the daily deals map.

Groupon is still heavily centered on local deals, though they do now offer up nationwide deals as well.  Living Social has also focused on the local aspect but they lean heavier on deals that can be purchased from national chains.

The Deal is On!

The biggest difference between Living Social and Groupon is that the granddaddy of the daily deals site still requires a deal to be "activated."  This means that a certain number of people must actually purchase the deal before the savings are valid.  When Groupon was first born, this caused quite a bit of consternation, because they weren't certain whether the service was for real.

Obviously it was, and because that was their signature move, they have kept it.  Living Social, on the other hand offers the deal right from the bat (though they do count how many people take advantage.)  

Because Groupon is so popular, there are rarely deals that end up not going live, but when the service starts, people were refunded money because they couldn't get enough people to pony up.  

Time Limits

Both services do not offer up their deals in perpetuity.  Part of the popularity of these deals is that they are only offered for a short period of time.  When Groupon first got started, the deals only lasted one day, but as the service has grown, the time limits tend to be a couple of days.  Living Social has benefited from Groupon's first trial and errors in this regard as they have almost always offered the deals for more than 24 hours.

Something for Everyone

When it comes right down to it, this battle isn't really a battle so much as a choice between personal preferences.  Both programs these days offer a little something for everyone.  You really can't go wrong using either site.

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