Did Groupon Err By Spurning Google’s Offer

 

Like a bad date who couldn’t take “let’s just be friends” for an answer, Google has turned from suitor to rival.

Many would say it was inevitable. It’s not like Groupon created a revolutionary new technology. The daily deal wasn’t even their idea. [I remember signing up for Woot’s daily emails and hilarious ad copy nearly four years ago.] Groupon’s big innovation was taking that daily deal concept and making it ultra local… then growing it like gangbusters.

Now Google has quietly rolled out their answer to Groupon with Google Offers. It’s only available in New York City, Portland and the San Francisco/Oakland area.. for now. If you want to be “invited” to Google Offers, you can get on their waiting list at https://www.google.com/offers/t#!subscribe.

So did Groupon make a mistake when it decided not to accept the handsome offer from the real Big G? Is Google being a vindictive about the very public turn down it received from Google last year?

There may be a little bit of revenge on Google’s part. I mean seriously: who enjoys being dumped (especially when you’re the big man on campus)?

But the truth is that it makes perfect sense. Google has been making a concerted effort to enter the local search scene for quite some time. Plus, they have everything they need to succeed in Groupon’s space. Yes, Groupon has an army of local sales people built up over the past couple of years. But that basically gives them a six-month head start on Google, at best.

Google’s success in Groupon’s space won’t necessarily spell the end of Groupon. I think the space is just too big… and can probably accommodate several daily deal providers.

From a consumer standpoint, the more daily coupons and deals we can compare, the better. And it’s not so bad for local businesses either. As it is, local merchants have to accept Groupon’s terms because it’s really the only game in town. But as more competition enters the market, business owners will have more choices and options.

It’s an exciting time to be part of the online marketing arena.