The Internet titans are taking shots at Groupon, trying to get their piece of the daily-deals pie. Not that we should worry, because competition between the titans spells good things for the consumer! The most recent of these titans is Facebook, which will soon be testing an expansion of its Deals program, which currently connects users to special discounts when they use Facebook Places to “check in” at select businesses.
Apparently, a thumb in the Foursquare pie isn’t quite cutting it for Facebook, and their new Groupon-like service will first be hitting Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, San Francisco, and San Diego before reaching out to other locations. Basically, members will be able to team up with the friends on their network to buy deals from their local businesses, posing a significant threat to Groupon and its clones.
Facebook’s 500 million members, compared to Groupon’s 60 million, represent a force that may be capable of changing the tides of revenue currently flowing into Groupon’s coffers. But that doesn’t mean that Groupon is running scared; it’s expected to take advantage of its growth with an initial public offering later this year.
It’s also not facing off Facebook alone at this point. There are plenty of other players to mix things up a bit, including Amazon, which invested $175 million in deals-site LivingSocial in 2010, and Google, which, after failing to entice Groupon to sell-out for a solid $6 billion, has announced its intentions to launch its own deals-dealer in the form of Google Offers.