Ever since the Groupon valuation craze set off by Google’s attempt to buy the daily deal site there has been speculation about just how valuable the site can really be moving into the future. Right now it’s putting up great numbers. Interestingly enough, the chatter around Groupon has become minimal since their Super Bowl ad shenanigans and valuation talks putting the company in the $15 billion range. POP!
Part of that could be that many people are coming to their senses and realizing that while Groupon has made the biggest splash in the daily deal space the model is far from bullet proof. Other deal sites are cropping up and not demanding the first born of deal providers or asking vendors to jack up prices to make it look like a deal. One such newcomer to the space is the venerable New York Times. paidContent.org reports
The NYT is preparing to debut its own daily deals service called TimesLimited later this month. While a number of newspaper publishers have signed on with either Groupon or LivingSocial, TimesLimited is entirely an in-house production, Denise Warren, SVP/chief advertising officer for the NYT Media Group and the NYTimes.com’s GM, told paidContent in an interview.
It’s not that every single other entity on the planet is deciding to go it alone. Groupon has inked deals with other major newspaper companies. What this effort by the Times points out is that Groupon is not necessary to make this happen for many. As a result, expect extensions of offerings like this to possibly go beyond just the company offering deals on their own. In a time where revenue is hard to come by in the traditional sense it might make sense to for a company like the Times to expand this beyond their own fence. They certainly are confident that they can pull it off.
The NYT had considered going the route that other newspaper companies like Tribune, McClatchy and Media General have gone in by partnering with Groupon. “We looked at partner options when we began looking at the space a few months ago,” Warren said. “But we realized that we have the assets, the consumer reach and the relationships with the advertisers to do this on our own.”
This is not a death knell for Groupon or LivingSocial by any means. What it is, however, is a reminder to the suddenly bubble prone Silicon Valley vultures that this model may not be the pot at the end of the rainbow that is being pitched.
Of course, for those organizing any IPO and getting in on the ground floor that is irrelevant. As long as they get in at the right time and get out with their millions they could care less about the later investors left holding the bag when reality sets in after hysteria took up temporary residence in investors’ heads. That’s the way these things work for the most part if they are rooted in spin rather than reality.
What’s your take on the daily deal space? Is it here to stay and will Groupon be the Google equivalent of the space or is this just HUBAR (hyped up beyond all reality)?