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Zagat Exclusives for the Foodie on a Budget

Everyone loves a deal, even the luxury foodies that roam New York City looking for most exquisite truffled egg toast or perfectly prepared poison-free fugu. That’s why Zagat has team up with DealOn for Zagat Exclusives, the newest group-buying program to hit the web.

The new site will offer deals related only to the restaurants listed in the Zagat Guide. The program will begin this September in New York City, then the company is expected to roll out additional sites for other major cities across the US including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Each offer will start with a fixed price then the price will drop with each person who buys the deal. This way there is no minimum number of people required to make the deal happen, but the more people, the merrier the price gets.

ShopLocal Brings Local Circulars to Facebook and MSN

shoplocalShopLocal has made the news twice this week with two major players taking on their virtual circular technology. Facebook and MSN have both begun incorporating ShopLocal apps into their systems in order to bring localized deals to the consumer.

On Facebook, ShopLocal is integrating local sales circulars into corporate fan pages. When a user visits a brand site on Facebook, the application looks at their profile to determine their geographic area then presents the proper circular for their city. Vikram Sharma, CEO of ShopLocal says;

“We know that 49 percent of visitors to corporate fan pages go there to gain information on sales and special offers and another 45 percent come to learn about products. ShopLocal’s toolkit helps retailers across the country capitalize on this social shopping phenomenon.”

Two Companies Using Off-Line Strategies to Build Online Sales

According to a survey commissioned by game company PopCap, approximately 100 million people in the US and UK alone are social gamers. Of that number, 83% said Facebook was their preferred place to play. Now here comes the important number, nearly a third (32%) of social gamers said they were likely to purchase virtual items with real-world currency.

But not everyone has the ability or is comfortable paying online, so GameStop is working on a solution that they hope will help them gain some ground in the Facebook gaming business. To promote their new game, Gangsta Zombies, GameStop is giving out promo cards in their stores that can be used as in-game currency. They’re also selling pre-paid cards that players can buy and use in lieu of a credit card or give to someone as a gift. Chris Morrison of InsideSocialGames.com says,

ComScore Report Says Divas Drive the Dollars

Divas drive the dollars.

That’s according to a new report from ComScore called Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet. The study shows that women spend 20% more time on retail websites overall than men. Not surprisingly, they lead in sales in every category except Computer Hardware/Software, Electronics, Sports/Outdoor and Music to a smaller extent. Movies is near even but when it comes to shopping for clothing online it’s women by a large margin.

comscore-shopping

Though women have been known to enjoy window shopping, in most cases they are actually spending. The ComScore report states:

“In February 2010, [women] accounted for 49.8 percent of the U.S. online population, but made up 57.9 percent of all non-travel buyers, made 61.1 percent of online purchases and accounted for 58.2 percent of online dollars.”

Amazon and Facebook Team Up and It’s Kinda Creepy

amazon-facebookAmazon began beta testing a new application this week that claims to be a simple gift suggestion engine for your family and friends. It all begins on the Amazon recommendation page. From there, you give Amazon permission to talk to Facebook and from there you get a page full of people matched with products.

At the top of the page is a list of everyone on your friends list who has a birthday coming up. Good thing I decided to try this because I totally forgot that my sister has a birthday in 4 days. It even tells me “4 days” because simply saying August 1 isn’t urgent sounding enough.

Consumers Say Family Recommendations Are Not Enough

A new survey by Cone says that four-out-of-five consumers will go online for a recommendation when they’re interested in buying something–even after it’s been recommended to them by a friend or family member. Looks like blood isn’t thicker than water these days. Not when it comes to parting with hard earned cash. And it doesn’t have to be a lot of cash, either.

The survey found that cost wasn’t a big factor in the decision to verify product claims. 82% said they would do research online before buying a car, but 72% said they’d check the reviews on movies and restaurants before heading out. Once they find what they’re looking for online, 80% of those polled said that a positive recommendation would reinforce their intent to buy. It’s interesting to note that only 68% said a negative review would stop them from buying a product or service. That may be the result of our tendency to want validation for our own ideas. Dad likes it, the guy online likes it and so do you, equals, you’re a smart decision maker.

The @Earlybird Gets the Sponsored Twitter Ad

earlybirdIn an effort to turn Twitter’s captive audience into dollars, Twitter has launched @earlybird, a new account that give followers exclusive deals from a variety of sponsors. Up first is Disney Pictures and a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal on tickets to “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

The account has only been live for a week and this is the first deal to be sent through, but already they’ve picked up nearly 50,000 followers. The irony is, these same 50,000 people were probably the ones complaining about Twitter’s decision to add sponsored tweets to their feeds earlier this year. Now they’re paying (granted, not in cash) for the privilege of having ads sent their way.

But just because a 50,000 tweeters clicked the follow button, doesn’t mean that @earlybird will be a success. That will depend on two factors: