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Why I’m no longer Groupon-ing or Living Social

26 Apr

If someone said to you, “How would you like to have an awesome deal delivered to your inbox every day, a 50% off deal (or more!)”…would you want it?

I thought I did.  I signed up for Groupon.  I get Syracuse, New York City and (who knows why) Cincinnati groupons.  I also get Daily Deals, Living Social, and a whole slew of others.

If you’re like me, your inbox is already full enough.  So why do we continue to sign up for services that send us more worthless emails, like clockwork? Every morning when I wake up, I can count on hitting delete a minimum of 20 times for the mass markdowns, not just from the group couponing sites, but from every retail store I’ve ever been dumb enough to offer my email address to!

But I digress…there are lots of emails I hate, but my rant today is strictly for the group couponers.

To the right is a sampling of the “deals” I have been offered lately.  

The problem with these?  They’re not targeted:  I don’t have a baby.   I’ve seen Syracuse from the air; it’s not that exciting.  I don’t live in Oswego.  I don’t shop at stores that have names like Coldwater Creek.  Wall decals? I have my own eye doctor, thank you.

I’ve bought two Groupons in my life.  One for a restaurant that I probably would like, but I would only go to for lunch and I have to drive there, so I’ll never use it.  The other was for Bath & Body Works.  I took it into the store and the manager never even heard of Groupon (is that possible?).  It was only then that I realized that it was online only…so what may have seemed like a deal was really just saving me the shipping costs.  My bad on both counts.

But that’s what these group couponing sites are hoping for.  They hope that you don’t read the fine print, that you lose the groupon or forget about it or never use it.  They don’t care, they get their cut when you put your credit card number in.

What amazes me is that ALL of these companies are using old-fashioned marketing speak to try to sell you stuff you don’t need.  I thought we were over this?  I thought this was the age of transparency, one to one customer service and The Thank You Economy?

Here’s an example from yesterday’s Syracuse Groupon for half-off a helicopter ride:

“Lifting off from Hancock Airport, the sky vessel sojourns south over notable landmarks such as Carousel Center mall and Onondaga Lake. The airborne gaze upon Syracuse like an ant surveying his amoeba colony, as the chopper cuts east toward the zoo, Carrier Dome, and Syracuse University.”

Everybody raves about how witty Groupons are.  Please. This is like really bad fiction. AND PEOPLE BUY IT!

So, today’s lessons are A) stop giving out your email address to everyone that asks.  It’s not a law: it’s your choice, and B) Boycott needless junk in your life.  All of it, including Groupons. Your wallet (and your inbox) will be glad you did.

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16 Comments

Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

16 responses to “Why I’m no longer Groupon-ing or Living Social

  1. Faith

    April 26, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    I think you hit all the bases on why I’ve stopped paying attention to my Groupon/LS emails (haven’t gotten around to actually unsubscribing yet). Even email newsletters like GiltGroup and and JackThreads, which are supposed to be based around specific interests/lifestyles, are starting to lose their lustre due to the fact that honestly, I’m just to frugal to spend money to save money.

    That said, it also reinforces my interest in things like Scoutmob (Groupon but “hipper”… and free!) and Facebook Deals (maybe even too relevant to me? my boss thinks it great, I still have to be convinced to use Places over 4sq.) Social couponing sites where the only cost is being social, what a concept!

     
    • kellylux

      April 26, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      Faith, I forgot to mention the whole social part…one of the reasons I don’t need the emails is because if there happens to be a really great deal, I will hear about it on Twitter! FB Deals is scary to me…I really don’t need to be enticed to buy anything other than what I already do. I want to be the one who decides when/if if need/want a service/product. I don’t want FB looking over my shoulder nudging me into buying, just because it knows what I like. I am also a foursquare user, so not a Places user. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

       
  2. Pat Steer (Gaelen)

    April 26, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    I never “group-on’d” but I do subscribe to Living Social deals for Syracuse (and just Syracuse!) I’ve bought three of them since I started subscribing…just about one per month, all for restaurant discounts that I did use. And I briefly considered yesterday’s $10 junk removal deal because, hey, I could use that one. ;)
    I think you just have to be selective. I would never, ever use FB deals. OMG, I don’t even play FB games. It’s a great way to stay in touch with far-flung family, my nephews, friends who live across country, and a good way to do some marketing of my columns to the groups I cover – but other than that, I try to give FB as little territory in my life as possible while using it as a marketing and communication tool.

     
    • kellylux

      April 26, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      Everybody’s different and some of the deals are good. I just believe they’ve gotten way too much hype and the deals are often not really deals at all. FB is another story altogether…thanks for your comment!

       
  3. Jim Reilly

    April 26, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Thank you, Kelly, for saving me from from a site lots of people say I should try (GroupOn) but that I’ve resisted because I feared the experience would be just as you described. Now I know I’m not missing anything. Ah, the utility of pioneers! We who are slow to follow owe you our gratitude.

     
    • kellylux

      April 26, 2011 at 1:44 PM

      The thing is, if there’s a good deal happening, you are bound to hear about it from someone. And you can always opt in just for that one. But getting a daily dose of deals is just too much for me. Glad you found the post helpful. :)

       
  4. Mitch Mitchell

    April 26, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Good for you. I never signed up for any of these things early on because I didn’t get it, and then once I’d did have an understanding of it I recognize that, like you, most people talk about the good ones on Twitter. You’re absolutely right, sometimes you just have to tell yourself no way comes to subscribing to stuff that looks like it’s going to be a deal, because often it’s not.

     
    • kellylux

      April 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM

      Being an early adopted does make you kind of a guinea pig, never thought of it that way before. Thanks for stopping by!

       
  5. nicole

    April 27, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    Interesting view towards this Kelly, thanks for sharing! I echo every other comment above and your views as well: after one year of this, I think we are all simply exhausted of the group deals. I was actually thinking this morning, if a brand or business wants to dip into the social sphere, why are they copy-catting what others have already done? Isn’t the best way to make a splash these days in digitally marketing yourself to do something innovative and unheard of? Just a thought :)

    Saw you tweeted at Gary V this am, looking forward to his response!! (because you KNOW he will respond ;))

     
    • kellylux

      April 27, 2011 at 9:22 AM

      Absolutely, Nicole! Everyone is jumping on this bandwagon at the same time as the consumer is saying “Enough!” I would not recommend Groupon to small local businesses, there are much better ways to build a relationship with customers…which is kind of my point. We’re living through a major paradigm shift in the ways businesses conduct themselves, and this is taking us right back to where we’ve always been = push, push, push. Have a great day!

       
  6. Amie Marse

    April 27, 2011 at 7:33 AM

    Doesn’t everyone have a spam email or two? Of course the problem happens when you actually think you might want the email.

    I think you can’t have it both ways. Either you have untargeted stuff or you have nosey programs. Unless you want to fill out an even longer form.

    I’ve never used groupon but I hear about it all the time. I’ll be sure to refer people to this post for a heads up. And tell them to add an extra email for the spammage ;)

     
    • kellylux

      April 27, 2011 at 9:20 AM

      Thanks, Amie. If it was just one or two, I wouldn’t mind so much. I think the deluge of these emails really makes me question the value of ever divulging my email address except to work colleagues. Most people I want to hear from know how to reach me on twitter or FB. Thanks for the referral :)

       
  7. Sari Signorelli

    May 4, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Living social targeted me pretty well–I’ve gotten good deals from a few restaurants I like. But these are places I know and love (Gentiles). But it’s not opening me up to new places–I tried one deal for a spa (facial/massage) and it was a horrid experience–so I’ll stick to WOM, thank you very much. Which is why Twitter always rocks for advice. Groupon is like the old time Sears of sales from their bate-and-switch days. I think FourSquare does it right, you get the deal right while you’re near the point of purchase, plus I’ve gotten very good tips. And because FourSquare is doing it right, I’m too overloaded with SM to bother with FB, which seems to screw users on a regular basis if you aren’t vigilant in checking privacy.

     
    • kellylux

      May 4, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      Sari, that seems to be a lot of people’s experience…and I think you’re right on about Foursquare doing it right. If you’re already there…or nearby, you would be much more likely to take advantage of, or least be interested in, a deal. I have the same feelings about FB as you do. Appreciate your comment!

       
  8. Slaton Carter

    May 10, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Living Social just released Instant Deals, which allows people to find short term deals within a half-mile radius w/ their phones — see Mashable article: http://mashable.com/2011/03/07/livingsocial-local-short-term-deals/

    This is a smart move for all the reasons that you’ve brought up, namely non-targeted, traditional push marketing is a dead end game no matter what you’re selling. We’ll see how this more refined, pull model works out for Living Social.

    Groupon’s days are limited w/ their current email based model and something tells me that they might soon be kicking themselves that they passed up Google’s $6 billion offer…

     

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