Groupon announces expansion and scoops up Ludic Labs

Deal FeedWho says Google is the only one that can go shopping? Today, Groupon announced its own acquisition of development firm Ludic Labs, as well as the company’s expansion.

Groupon is a relatively young business that has more than thrived on its local daily deals scheme. And clearly, it was onto something as imitators like LivingSocial and Facebook Deals are inundating the market. Location-based sites, like Foursquare and Gowalla, are also treading on Groupon territory by offering their own rewards. While still leading the way, the site is definitely feeling the heat of its competition, and wisely has considered buy outs (from Yahoo and most recently, Google, which may be offering as much as $6 billion). What the company also has up its sleeve is a newly introduced long-term plan.

Groupon plans to introduce Groupon Stores, which will significantly alter the site’s current pace of one deal per city per day. Groupon Stores allow individual business owners who are seeking to use Groupon to set up virutual shop and offer customers in their areas as many deals as they please. In a Facebook-like move, the company is also introducing the Deal Feed to display a constantly updated stream of deals available to users. The Deal Feed shows you bargains based on the businesses you follow, recommended deals deduced from past purchases, and of course a featured daily deal, surviving from the original format.

In a blog post, Groupon explained that its short-term strategy only enabled it to feature one business a day, since it lacked “merchant relationships.” Now, demand is out the roof and business’ are clamoring just for a spot on Groupon’s waiting list.

Groupon is immediately launching the features, kicking off its test round today in Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle.

And in other Groupon news, the company acquired Ludic Labs, a development firm focused on local marketing services as well as three Asian coupon websites, Reuters reported. One, Atlaspost, has more than 1.2 million users in Taiwan, giving Groupon a considerable edge on the continent. The company launched in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, and Taiwan today.

As if it weren’t already clear, Groupon is showing Google it’s more than worth that rumored $6 billion price tag. The company is revolutionizing how people buy online, and more significantly the effect local businesses have on the market. But any confirmation of a Google acquisition is the one thing Groupon didn’t announce today. CEO Andrew Mason instead remarked, “we cannot comment on speculation or rumors about our business.”

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