Inside these posts: Coupons

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Goldman’s Blankfein pitches for Groupon’s IPO

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein went to Chicago to pitch Groupon executives on hiring his bank to underwrite the online coupon company’s initial public offering, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The report was attributed to a single unnamed source. Get the full story »

Groupon buys 3 Asia sites as part of shopping spree

Chicago-based Groupon has offices at 600 W. Chicago, pictured here on Nov. 30, 2010. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)

Daily deal startup Groupon is on a shopping spree of its own, even amid feverish speculation that Google is on the verge of making a big offer for the Chicago company.

Groupon said late Tuesday it has bought three daily deal sites based in Asia, moving the company into Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Taiwan. Terms of the deals with uBuyiBuy, Beeconomic and Atlaspost were not disclosed. Groupon’s first foray into Asia was in August, when it acquired a Japanese rival. The company said it is now in 35 countries.

Closer to home, Groupon has acquired Ludic Labs, a Silicon Valley technology company, for an undisclosed amount. Groupon said Ludic Labs’ most well-known products are Offer Foundry, an advertising and promotional platform for local businesses, and Diddit, a Web-based community where members can browse through local activities and attractions. Ludic Labs and Groupon have both raised money from Accel Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Get the full story »

Web site report: Google to buy Groupon for $2.5B

From | Technology news Web site Vatornews is reporting Google has struck a deal to buy Chicago-based social coupon company Groupon for $2.5 billion. The report, citing one anonymous source, has not been confirmed by Groupon or Google. See the report >>

Groupon considering sale to Google

E-commerce coupon site Groupon Inc. is considering either selling itself to Google Inc. or going ahead with a round of fund-raising that may value it at more than $3 billion, Bloomberg reported Friday citing sources.

The two have held talks about a deal, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D blog  reported. Get the full story »

Yahoo to aggregate online deals, including Groupon

Yahoo! is jumping into the online deals space with a new program called Local Offers that aggregates deals from a number of companies, including Chicago-based Groupon.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said it wants to be “the largest and most comprehensive repositories of local offers on the Internet.” With the explosion of daily deal sites following Groupon’s success, a number of deal aggregator start-ups have also emerged. Yahoo! is aiming for an even broader scope by signing up companies specializing in direct mail marketing, such as Valpak. Get the full story »

Yahoo rumored to be circling Groupon

From Business Insider | A source “close to Groupon investors” says that Yahoo is reportedly in sales talks with online daily deals site Groupon.

Target makes cashiers hand-process coupons

Shoppers at a Target in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Coale/File)

By Gregory Karp | Target in recent days has apparently issued a new store policy that requires cashiers to hand-process customer coupons, following media reports that the discounter was shortchanging its customers nationwide. It promised a permanent fix within 10 days.

The mass merchandiser, with about 1,750 stores in the United States, for months has been crediting customers for only a fraction of the face value of certain manufacturer coupons. One of the biggest problems involved coupons that required purchasing multiple items.

In a Tribune story published Oct. 28 that was reprinted nationwide, a Target spokeswoman faulted the stores’ scanning machines and said the company was working on a fix. Get the full story »

Target shortchanges shoppers with certain coupons

Shoppers at a Target in Falls Church, Va., May 28, 2010. (Reuters)

Shoppers at a Target in Falls Church, Va., May 28, 2010. (Reuters)

By Gregory Karp | Target Corp., the mass merchandiser with about 1,750 stores nationwide, for months has been shortchanging its customers who use certain manufacturers’ coupons by crediting them for a fraction of their face value.

Target is calling it a computer glitch. Avid coupon users are calling it an outrage. Get the full story »

Groupon rival VillageVines moves into Chicago

A New York-based Web start-up specializing in restaurant discounts and reservations is expanding into Chicago, hoping to give restaurateurs and diners an alternative to daily deal sites such as Groupon.

VillageVines officially launches in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. on Sept. 15. In the meantime, Chicagoans can sign up for the site starting today. When the site goes live, members will be able to log in and book a reservation through an online calendar that lists available restaurants and dates. VillageVines charges $10 per reservation and typically offers 30 percent off the check. Get the full story »

Illinois AG suing firm for identity protection charges

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Thursday she is suing a California company for charging consumers for identity protection services that they never requested.

The lawsuit, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court, claims that ID Lifeguards Inc. of Glendale, Calif., charged $157,562 on the phone bills of 5,071 Illinois consumers between September 2009 and March 2010. Get the full story »

Meijer introduces digital coupon program

Meijer Inc. said Monday it is launching a new digital coupon program where shoppers can choose coupons from the store’s Web site and redeem them by entering their mobile phone numbers at check-out.

The mPerks program rolls out this week at the superstore chain’s 196 stores in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Customers can sign up for an account linked to their personal cell phone number at Shoppers select coupons from the site to be stored in their account. At check-out, keying in the phone number redeems all applicable coupons. Get the full story »

Yelp trying daily group coupons

Review Web site Yelp said it is testing out “Yelp Deals” — large discounts at local businesses that site users can buy on one day only. The move appears patterned after sites such as Groupon have gotten extremely popular by combining social media with the power of group buying, offering shoppers daily deals on products and services in their communities. Get the full story »

Groupon pulls in $11 million with Gap voucher

Daily deal site Groupon reported Friday that it sold 445,000 vouchers for retailer Gap, bringing in $11 million in revenue for the Chicago-based company’s first-ever nationwide promotion.

Groupon typically splits revenue down the middle with its participating merchants. The company declined to disclose how it divided the $11 million from Thursday’s sale. The coupon offered $50 in Gap merchandise for $25, and demand was so high that Groupon’s servers experienced technical difficulties on Thursday morning. Get the full story »

Zagat to dish up online deals Groupon-style

Zagat Survey, the popular restaurant and city guide, is jumping into the group-buying space with a new program that launches next month.

Zagat Exclusives, as the feature is called, will be introduced first in New York City and then “rapidly roll out” to cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the company said in a press release. Zagat did not provide a more specific time frame on when its Exclusives program would be available in Chicago.

Chicago is home to Groupon, the leading daily deal site that has inspired dozens of competitors. Zagat Exclusives is powered by DealOn, a New Jersey-based rival to Groupon. Other established names have added group-buying features to their core offerings, including online review site Yelp and restaurant reservation site OpenTable. Get the full story »

Local businesses turn to social media to boost sales

When Marion Street Cheese Market in Oak Park was featured on Groupon, Assistant General Manager Michelle Dirks thought it would be a good chance to offer discounts to current customers while trying to get a few new ones.

But she didn’t expect the explosion of interest that started Wednesday morning.

“It’s been a little overwhelming,” Dirks said. “Well, wonderfully overwhelming.” Get the full story »