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Holidays, Charity and Daily Deals

In an interesting look at the daily deal phenomenon that has everyone chattering in the recent past, some researchers have taken a look at whether daily deals influence how people do two things related to giving (at least in theory): holiday shopping and charitable giving.

First, eMarketer reports on data from another daily deal player, Eversave. Of course, we offer the usual “remember the source!” warnings since someone like Eversave has a vested interest in getting the word out to fight against the Google of the deal space, Groupon.

This first chart relates to how people may or may not turn to deal sites for holiday shopping.

Free Shipping is the Battle Cry This Holiday Season

Free shipping! Online retailers are shouting it from the rooftops and it could be the key to staying out of the red this holiday season. ComScore worked the numbers and discovered that unlike last year, the percentage of transactions with free shipping continued to rise after Black Friday. Last year, free shipping orders dropped to 45% late in November, but this year they climbed to 55.1%.

I do the majority of my holiday shopping online and I noticed this trend long before I saw this report. Nearly every online store I visited was offering free shipping on any size order. That’s not just a boon for people buying a whole sleigh full of presents from one retailer. A no threshold offer encourages people to buy small items that would have been too pricey with shipping included like a $5.00 pair of slippers from Kohls.

Could A Mere $183 Million Spell Trouble for Groupon?

Yesterday, I took a look at whether Groupon’s decision to pass on Google’s ridiculously generous offer of around $6 billion for the 2 year-old company was a good move. One thing that wasn’t looked at was the investment that was made in the competing deal site, LivingSocial, totaling $183 million ($175 million from Amazon and $8 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners). In the end, could an investment that equals about 3% of what Google offered Groupon be the beginning of the end of Groupon’s dominance of the online deal space?

With LivingSocial their investment didn’t come from just anyone. No, in fact with Amazon leading the way this money is very real and it bodes well for the company currently viewed as the ‘other guy’ in the space (not to mention the myriad smaller players and branded versions of Grouponesque offerings as well.).

Was Groupon’s Rejection of Google the Right Move?

Groupon knock –offs breathed a huge sigh of relief as they category maker in online deals rejected the lavish offer of around $6 billion in total that Google put on the table last week.

According to a Bloomberg article

Groupon Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason, who started the company in 2008, had concerns about the strategic direction it would take under new management and what could happen to his employees if he sold to Google, according to a person familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified because the discussions were private.

If there was ever a chance to ‘take the money and run’ this one was it. Why? In my opinion, it’s because although Groupon has the lead in the online deal space right now, it is more about being first rather than being better or, more importantly, hard to replicate.

eBay Buys Local Shopping Site Milo.com

eBay took another step today toward becoming Amazon.com and away from the collectibles auction site we all fell for more than ten years ago when they bought Milo.com, a website that locates in-stock merchandise on the local level.

According to Business Insider, eBay payed $75 million for the company and they seem to think it’s a good buy. It may be because, as we all know,  when it comes to deals and shopping, local is everything these days. Local isn’t even a buzzword anymore, it’s a god marketers must bow down to every morning and I don’t like it.

FTC Online Privacy Report Endorses Do Not Track

The FTC issued a report today that outlines their plan to deal with privacy issues on the internet. Even though online advertisers are working on a self-policing program,it looks like the federal government is going to have their say and their say trumps anything from the private sector.

The report states that industry efforts have been “too slow, and up to now have failed to provide adequate and meaningful protection.” The FTC says that current privacy policies, which are long and full of legalize, are confusing to consumers if they can find the policy and they take the time to read it. The report wants to shift the responsibility away from the consumer and on to the advertisers. They call it “privacy by design,” suggesting that companies build “privacy protections into their everyday business practices.”

Groupon Intros Deal Feeds and Groupon Stores

While the rumor mill now has Google trying to buy Groupon for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.3 billion (nice neighborhood considering Twitter is garnering $4 billion valuation talk for its next round of investment) the deal site continues to add more features.

In Groupon’s blog called Groublogpon (you read it right so it goes to show they are not anywhere near perfect) they explain how the new Deals and Stores idea evolved. With expansion like these offerings now it might start making more sense why Google is coming after the site with a huge wad of cash.