Facebook enters the crowded marketplace of daily deal sites

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The market for daily deal sites that feature half-price offers in metro areas is a very crowded space. After Groupon turned down Google’s $6 billion buyout offer, it seems everybody and their brother wants to have a daily deal site to be the next Groupon.

Facebook is now the latest entrant into the market. The social network giant is starting slow, with a rollout of service in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego and San Francisco. If you live in one of those cities, you will be offered a series of deals when you sign in to your account.

So far, PC magazine has not been too excited by the initial daily deals from Facebook because they’re apparently not very discount driven. “While many deals on Facebook offer discounts, it’s more important to us that you find interesting experiences around you to do with friends,” Facebook noted on its official blog.

As I recently told you, I have gone from being an active buyer of daily deals to virtually never buying any at all anymore. I don’t even look at the e-mails about the deals that come to my inbox because I’m not good about using them after I buy them. When you lose money because you forget to use the deal, well, that’s when a deal is no longer a deal. (But if you’re good about not letting things expire, this can still be a good way to save dough.)

One caveat for participating businesses in the world of daily deal sites: Being careful about the parameters you set around the deal no matter which site you sign with. You don’t want the additional traffic to be debilitating to your normal customers.

And what about the future of daily deal sites in general? Capitalism has the “rule of threes,” which means the marketplace usually settles down to sustain vibrant competition among three (or more) competitors. So I think the market will reduce from the tons of competitors we have today to just three main players when all is said and done.

Will Facebook be one of them? I have no idea. We’ll have to wait and see.



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