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Groupon knockoffs get specific

jdeal couponGroupon was the original daily deals site, but it has spawned some ridiculous offshoots. The local-meets-social-meets-discount aggregator has become a staple of your inbox, and if these coupon curators weren’t personalized enough there are a slew of extremely specific services out there. (Groupon for online business owners)

startupsAfter spending some time as a resource for online business owners and website operators as KillerStartups, the service got itself a new domain name and decided to put all that online office data to use. It’s not just Startups, and you can subscribe for free to get 50 to 80-percent discounts on anything from software to e-books. Once the site reaches 10,000 members, it will start releasing daily coupons.

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Sciddy (Groupon for senior citizens)

Sciddy Senior DiscountsYes, we know, strange name choice. Moving on, Sciddy is going out on a limb and trying to scoop up that burgeoning sector of elderly Internet users. You heard right. Sciddy aggregates all of the senior discounts available for the 65-plus population in their respective locations.

Example coupon: 10-percent off at Quizno’s

RapidBuyr (Groupon for office supplies)

rapidbuyrYou won’t find any deals on spa trips or exotic cuisine here: RapidBuyr bypasses the element of fun and is all business. The site sends members 30 to 70-percent discounts on B2B supplies, like Mozy software or copier ink. The real value comes in when RapidBuyr hooks you up with affordable IT outsourcing or staffing assistance. That’s right: You can actually use the daily deal site to purchase cheaper employees.

Example coupon: 50-percent off an expert on-site system evaluation

PopMarket (Groupon for music collectors)

popmarketThis groupon knockoff describes itself as the “ultimate shopping club for music fans.” The beta site e-mails its members exclusive, 24-hour sales of media memorabilia with discounts of up to 70-percent off. Most of the items are box sets or special editions; a lowly CD doesn’t quite cut it.

Example coupon: $29.99 for The Definitive Elvis Presley Box Set (regularly $59.98)

JDeal (Groupon for Jews)

jdealFile this one under bound to offend somebody. Founded in 2010 by Jodi Samuels and Allen Ganz, as the site puts it “For six days, they sought incredible deal after incredible deal…and on the seventh day, they closed them. And jdeal was born.” The site is laden with many similar puns (i.e., “you don’t have to be a rabbi or a doctor or a lawyer to figure it out – although if you are a doctor or a lawyer, are you single?) and hooks you up with discounts to local Jewish museums or events, Jewish-owned stores, and even various unrelated deals.

Example coupon: $5 for $10 worth of kosher wine from Gotham Wines and Liquors

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Groupon may be coming to a cash register near you

If it weren’t already clear that the lines between e-commerce and physical vendors were blurring, it should be now. Daily deals site Groupon is reportedly in talks with cash register manufacturers to develop machines with Groupon buttons in place.

According to Bloomberg, Groupon has met with various electronic-payment system companies (including Verifone Systems – the second largest manufacturer in the industry) and believes adding the designated online coupon button would make transactions quicker and easier to cashiers and customers alike. Groupon president Rob Solomon even tells Bloomberg that the wheels are in motion and the company will begin testing the feature on cash registers, although he refrained from saying when that would begin. “We are in an evaluation mode. Test and learn is the best way to do this,” Solomon says.

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Groupon facing threat of class action lawsuit over deal expiration dates
Groupon Logo 200x200

Those too-good-to-be-true deals Groupon offers expire all too quickly, according to new lawsuit filed in Chicago. Eli R. Johnson filed a complaint against the Chicago-based company after purchasing a gift certificate for the Whirlyball games center, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The $55 gift certificate was good for 30 minutes of game time for up to 10 people. It allegedly expired a few months after the purchase date -- not good enough for Mr. Johnson.

Under a provision in the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, gift cards have to be valid for at least five years -- not a matter of months. The suit, which has potential to balloon into a class action lawsuit, alleges that the gift card expired on February 16, but did not give a purchase date. It's too early to tell if the allegations will materialize into a major headache for the deal-of-the-day provider, but it seems like a bit of legal semantics will follow as the plaintiffs attempt to establish Groupon's deals as legally "gift cards."

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Bing launches Groupon competitor with Bing Deals
bing launches groupon competitor with deals thumb

If you want to be considered one of the big search sites these days, you’ve got to yourself a daily deals feature. Bing is the latest to launch a coupon aggregator to take on the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial (not to mention AOL's,  Yahoo Local Offers, and Google Offers) and announced Bing Deals this morning.

The tool is the creation of Microsoft and The Dealmap, which works to find the best discounts in your area from a host of different websites. The final product will be available on PC and smartphone, and of course you can expect to be seeing it pop up in Bing search results as well. Which has the possibility to be both annoying and helpful: Hastily trying to look up a restaurant address could be buried beneath coupons, but maybe one of those will actually be of service to you. It’s the trade off we’ll all begin to pay more and more as local deal aggregators’ popularity continues to surge.

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