They are everywhere on the internet and trending worldwide. Everybody wants to be in this business called “Deal Of The Day” and clones are popping up in every county but still the biggest player is Groupon.
The idea for Groupon was created by now-CEO and Pittsburgh native Andrew Mason. Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website (also called group buying) that is localized to major geographic markets worldwide. Launched in November 2008, the first market for Groupon was Chicago, followed soon thereafter by Boston, New York City, and Toronto. As of October 2010, Groupon serves more than 150 markets in North America and 100 markets in Europe, Asia and South America and has amassed 35 million registered users.
In October 2010, Yahoo! was rumored to have offered over $3 billion to acquire Groupon. On November 30, 2010, it was reported that Google offered $5.3 billion with a $700 million earnout to acquire Groupon and was rejected on December 3, 2010. After the rejection of the Google/Groupon buy-out, Groupon was identified as a possible candidate for an initial public offering by 2013.
Before its expansion into the MENA region (Middle-East & North Africa) with its launch of Groupon UAE on March 1st 2011, already 2 companies were up and running, trying to cover the region before the arrival of the big player.
Both companies are based in Dubai, UAE. Gonabit is backed up by Bayt.com and Cobone by Jabbar Internet Group.
In my opinion, both of them are waiting for a buyout offer from Groupon based on their users database and turnover (which is not known), but I am not sure if Groupon itself is interested in such offering after their arrival into the region.
Specially that Cobone site is not showing any deal-of-the-day and that is a bad sign for a service who said it will offer its users or any potential web surfer a daily offer. I never registered for both sites, even they both had/have appealing offers for Lebanese consumers but when I decided to write this blog post, I was really disappointed seeing a “coming soon” sign.
Unfortunately Gonabit and Cobone did not manage to be present in all major capitals of the MENA region before the arrival of Groupon, so the race is on with the only difference between the 2 local players and the American giant, the cash flow.
Surely Groupon will handle the game in a more aggressive way trying to drag the local players down on their knees in order to get them out of the market.
CEOs of Gonabit, Cobone & Groupon M.E., Dan Stuart, Paul Kenny & Faisal Haq will be present in Beirut between the 22nd and 25th of March for the Arabnet Shift Digital Summit. So let us wait to hear from them about it.