is latest in online coupon sites

With the successful April launch of Groupon in Vancouver the city is getting another collective buying-bargain-coupon-website in  How the deals work is that the site owner approaches a business and promises x number of customers in exchange for a really good deal.  The site then sells the deal to its users, and if x number of people buy into it they all get the deal and if they don’t hit that number then nobody gets the deal.  Essentially it’s online buying similar to if you’ve ever dealt with an old-style farmer’s co-op.  

GoodNews is from Vancouver’s Reinvent Technology Inc., whose website doesn’t work.  Regular readers of Techvibes might remember that Reinvent’s founder Kevin Ham made a video to try to drum up interest in the fact that he owns the domain, soliciting ideas for what to do with the domain.  Apparently the most compelling idea presented was to link it to a site that looks like a GeoCities page designed in 1998.

The Groupon/GoodNews idea of collective buying is essentially a good one.  GoodNews is currently offering deals around 50% off a few of Vancouver’s spas, dance studios and Australian bars, which could represent a significant savings if you were going to be going to one of those places anyway.  As the site grows in popularity it’s likely that the level of potential deals it’s able to offer to users will get higher.

To promote the launch of GoodNews they’re offering an iPad for $50.  The catch is on the iPad deal they’re actually breaking with their format and only selling one, and only to the person who convinces/encourages/spams the most people to sign up for the GoodNews website.  The $50 iPad deal might attract some interest initially, but in my view it’s a horrendous idea to break from their main offer format to advertise their launch, especially in a way that is so very almost-but-not-quite-scam-Internet-marketing kind of way.

What is clear is that a number of people are betting on online coupons/collective buying being the next big thing in online marketing.  The question is will GoodNews have anything good to offer.