The recently launched digital payment and commerce platform from American Express known as Serve has just announced a new partnership with Patch, AOL’s big bet on hyperlocal news and content. Under the new partnership, Serve will power the Patch Deals platform, which will now offer Patch users deals and discounts, Groupon-style, with local merchants on the American Express network.
I’m not sure how cool you would have to make a new offering in this space to stand out. It seems like LivingSocial was barely able to squeeze its way into the Daily Deal space that is currently dominated by Groupon (even with Amazon bucks). Put this in the mix with Google Deals, Facebook Deals, Amazon Deals, Meals on Deals, Let’s Make A Deal, Dealing From the Bottom of the Deck etc etc and you have a cluster whatever of deals. I often wonder if this craze would even be so prevalent if the economy didn’t suck so bad.
The way that Patch is supposedly going to crack this market is through its businesss listings.
While Patch is better known for its hyperlocal editorial content – i.e., local news reports on over 800 Patch.com sites – it also provides a platform for local business listings. At present, over 850,000 small businesses across the U.S. are featured on its network.
If there is anything more run into the ground than daily deals it’s the ever popular business listing play. Every site has a business listing for small businesses but most go untended by the actual business owner, which tends to aggravate businesses more than entice them. Patch is no different. Patch uses the same idea that Google Places does which is to create the listing for the business and wait for the business to claim the listing. It’s as if there is some Business Listing Fairy going around telling these SMB’s that they need to take control of this listing as well as myriad others.
In the end, the trouble with all of this is that there is little to no differentiation between the services. Even the use of “Insert Your Name Here” Deals is making it all sound too congested.
So here are my questions. Do you pay attention to a Patch site? Will a deals offering help you to do so? Are there too many deals out there? Are you developing deal-blindness?