A (illegitimate) strategy for Groupon clones

Is http://ubuyibuy.com slowing down? Or do Hongkongers just not care for Italian food? Their current (at the time of this writing) deal has been up more than half the day already and has only sold 35 coupons — low considering their first several daily deals were consistently around 200, with one from AMC Threatre selling 1500.

Something else different with this deal is the deal timer, which currently reads 60 hours remaining. Is this a three day deal? This multi-day or week long strategy is what other sites like http://funshare.com (which I learned of bc they tweeted me after my last post) and http://twangoo.com are doing to make up for having a smaller audience. But I’ve heard of another strategy.

When I was in Shanghai a couple months ago for the World Expo I met the founders of another Groupon clone, http://cooltuan.com. With them there was some joking about these clone sites just buying all the coupons themselves and giving them away to their large extended families and friends. There was also some suggesting that other mainland knockoffs were absolutely using this strategy, especially at first.

For all these sites, the real Groupon included, you can’t NOT sell all the coupons. The base number doesn’t function as a real minimum anymore, it just has to be set high enough to encourage early, excited deal seekers to send it to a couple of friends. And, what it’s really about, especially when you’re a clone site hoping to stand out from the other 200 on the block and be purchased for hundreds of millions, is showing off how far ABOVE the minimum you’re selling.

As the plan goes, once you get some press for that, then hopefully the bandwagon effect will have worked and you can slowly phase to over to all genuine buys.

I’m not saying http://ubuyibuy.com is doing this, I think the fact they now have over 40,000 Facebook fans is proof they are legit. Nevertheless, seeing their numbers drop a little bit, and now the extended time makes me think perhaps something is up. Their Taiwan site is also showing 60 hours remaining on it’s current deal.

Anyhow. It’s raining in Seoul.

4 thoughts on “A (illegitimate) strategy for Groupon clones”

  1. Hi John,

    Great blog you have going on here. This is Danny Yeung with uBuyiBuy.com. I like to give you a reply to your post. In regards to us slowing down, certainly there has been some days in which the numbers are not where we would like it as in reality, we are all going through a testing phase of what type of deals work in Hong Kong and in Taiwan. What we have seen work for sites in the USA may not work for the Asia Market and vice versa. Ultimately, it depends on what the actual “deal” is which is no big secret. If the deal is good enough and the merchant is well known, people are going to buy.

    You mentioned the Italian deal which was ran on a Friday (ended up selling 168), our Friday deals run through the weekend, same concept as for all the big sites in the USA, groupon included. The reason for this is because most of the people which visit our site do so from work and the traffic to our site drastically decreases on the weekend and I’m sure this is the same case for any other market.

    I’m certain in the coming months you will still see big variations in terms of number of vouchers sold per day, such as today in which we sold out 500 Yoshinoya vouchers by lunch time. In regards to legitimacy, we are definitely legitimate as evidenced by our 45,000 fans in HK and 27,000 fans in Taiwan. We want to continue to give our fans the best deals every day which at the end of the day will create a win-win situation for all involved.

    Thank you

    Cheers,

    Danny Yeung

    1. 45,000 fans but no one buying… I wonder why? Perhaps Danny have spend millions of $$$ building up a fanbase of “cheap jing”…. $25 Yoshinoya bowl, $10 bubble tea, $5 pork floss. Not people I would want in my shop!

    2. Hey Danny,

      Thanks for your comment here. I’ve been meaning to reply.

      You guys are doing well. Almost 100k Facebook fans now and consistently selling deals. It’s interesting which ones sell 1000 and which sell just around 100. It seems to be related to price, but not entirely and obviously some have a cap.

      After hearing so many people in mainland talk about how to rig the system, I really was curious about the strategy. The longer deals on Friday is what got me.

      I keep hearing about more competitors, but I don’t see you guys slowing down. Hope it keeps going well. The reason I was so interested and keeping track of the ones in HK is because a friend and I were looking at getting a group buying site together ourselves specifically targeting the gwai lo population.

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