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    Posted February 17, 2011 by
    JT7
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Tech talk

    Sustainability of the Deal Site

     

    Sustainability of the Deal Site

    With the recent explosion of deal sites, businesses are left reeling with many options as to which site they should advertise on. When in reality the sites are virtually identical, like  a vehicle fresh off the assembly line with the only distinguishing difference being its color. Yes, Groupon and Living Social have great deals an with the state of our current global economy you would be a fool not to take advantage of them. That got me thinking, are these businesses advertising with these sites as a last ditch effort before watching their business fade into a distant memory. Would they really sacrifice 50% of their already deeply discounted offer just to drive business through their doors at a complete loss? This is a business idea that I could not grasp no matter how much I thought about it. Don’t you start a business to have the freedom to choose your own destiny and provide for you and your family? So what would drive these people to go that route? Did they have an option or like some many others they really don’t have a choice? Could these new companies be twisting the arm of an already crippled business infrastructure here in America? None of us are new to this tactic and so many of us have grown so a custom to it we don’t even see it anymore but it’s right before are eyes. I like to call it the Wal-Mart affect. Yes, that global giant that has steam rolled it’s way through our local communities for the past 20 or so years leaving nothing but the wreckage of what once was called the local business. Could these sites have taken a page right out of the old Walton playbook and applied it to them? If they have what is their plan for sustainability how do they manage to stay on top of the mountain like the great Wal-Mart giant. The product they are offering is nothing tangible that you can touch or buy in a store. It’s a website that posts daily deals for people to find, all the while taking astronomical amounts of money. Some people say the newspaper is a better way to go, but most say they are still stuck on an old ideology of business that’s soon to be obsolete. Many people have said that the traditional newspaper and advertising as we know it is a dying breed and that we should just let it die. Most newspaper media companies are in a transitional phase right now and they are searching for untraditional means of revenue through partnerships that once would not have been fathomable. Is this true that the once great newspaper companies are seeking this partnership or are these sites doing to them what they have done to that small business person? Are they kicking the dog while he is down and taking advantage of the new identity less media we like to call the newspaper? While most businesses are indulging in the thought that the newspaper is not the only marketing solution available anymore since the recent emergence of sites like Living Social, Coupons I Want and Groupon. They have failed to realize that the cost to them is equal or even more than the once all mighty newspaper. With that thought in mind it made me wonder is their a place on the internet that a business can advertise these (buy one get one free) deals and have little to no cost to them and still be effective. After all the internet is still free, right? So why shouldn’t a businesses be able to find somewhere to advertise for free. Sure, there’s Craigslist but with all those categories it can be frustrating for even the simplest person to navigate. Our society is  people that require instant gratification and you achieve this through simplicity. Today’s internet almost seems like Im looking at a Ying and Yang symbol one side dark and clouded, the other simple and clean. In referencing Asian things that reminded me of a new website I have never seen before the other day. It was called Freefu.com and had and Asian type character holding a sword. My first impression was this site is out of China, but after a little more examination I found that they were based in Florida. I guess they launched back in December 2010 and the idea behind the site is that if you offer a free product or service you can advertise that free offer on their site absolutely free. Could this be the businesses alternative to these deal sites that we hear with such frequency in our news today? Do they actually have another option that won’t cost them any money? After closer review of www.freefu.com I found that navigating and posting an offer was rather harmless with little to no issues. Their content is still exceptionally thin but with a launch date of only 2 months ago that’s understandable. So does freefu.com lack in the management department or is this just the natural course all sites take. Most people believe you have to walk before you run and I’m pretty sure sites like Facebook, Groupon, Ebay and Amazon had to evolve into what they are today. Not to long ago in 2008 Andrew Mason’s once little company had only 400 or so registered members and look at where they are now. Freefu.com’s platform makes much more business sense than Groupon and Living Social’s leaving freefu’s future pretty bright. Deal sites are very much in their infancy but are already very much in danger of getting played out because of over saturation thanks to the evolution of the clones. Didn’t George Lucas make a movie called  Attack of the Clones, could this be more of an attack than an evolution or is it a revolution. What happen to originality? Don’t all these people realize that purchasing a Groupon template for $ 299.00 from sites like Joomla just brings more exposure to the big box sites that the templates are emulating. Oh, yeah you could make money with your clone but can you beat the big box, absolutely not. How can you beat someone that designed the platform your using, if you could not even design the initial concept yourself? That poses the question of sustainability, how can Groupon and all it’s minion clones get to the top of that mountain and stay there. Do they even stand a chance with their current system? Is their short term fix a good decision for the business in the long run or should businesses continue to explore their options with sites such as freefu.com? 

    Written by Jerald Tracek

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