We recently promoted with Groupon again. It was the first time in a few years. They changed their program a bit and quickly surfaced a disturbing business practice.
First, they do not promote a single business for a single day or weekend. Most who receive Groupon emails are familiar with this. They now promote several business, products, and even travel all at once. This, in and of itself is fine. When making the agreement, I noticed that our promotion didn't end within a week, or even two, but rather the promotion would continue for the duration of the promotional value (in our case 6mo) or until the cap had been reached and that they would promote on thier site, through email, and through their network.
This all sounded reasonable for a company who pioneered the daily deal and was now awash in competition. So we went for it.
The deal launched and returned fewer sales than even the new kids on the block, Amazon Local, or Google deals. This came as a surprise, considering a whopping 1700 sold my first go with them. I wasn't expecting a ton, but oh well, there are others.
What lit me up was when upon launching a new website (check it out http://www.floatmatrix.com) I had to create some redirects... essentially remapping the links that Google presented through the search engine. This brought me to searching for "Float Matrix" whereupon I saw that Groupon was advertising with adwords using my business name...
"Wait a minute" I thought. When people type in my business name, ready to visit my site by methods that have nothing to do with Groupon, Groupon is going to sell them one of my services for half, and keep a portion of that. Groupon was undermining my natural sales. They are, metaphorically, biting the hand that feeds them.
The silver lining to this is, while appalled I contacted my representative, who clearly understood the betrayal I felt, and assured me that they will pull that advertising pathway...
Let's see how that goes... If you run with Groupon, make sure they don't try to steal your natural customers.
Within an hour of contacting my rep, I noticed the Groupon ad on the "Float Matrix" search was removed... I also noticed so to was the promotion. It seems as Groupon's "Secondary Network" is the ad on your natural search page. I am absolutely stunned at their practice. I spoke with another business who also promoted with Groupon. He said that he also saw the ad on his natural search page and said he probably won't promote with Groupon anymore.