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back to article Google clones Groupon to rival e-coupon site

Google is prepping its very own Groupon-like offering, after failing to grab the voucher site for itself. In December the Chicago-based e-commerce coupon website snubbed Google's massive $6bn buyout approach, preferring instead to raise equity and eventually take the fast-growing company public. According to Mashable, Mountain …

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Anonymous Coward

Surely you meant ...

... Google Offers (beta)

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Or...

..."Goofers" for short?

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Coat

I guess they're not afraid of getting sued?

Groupon has deep enough pockets now to enforce their 'patent' against Google.

So in this case, only the lawyers win.

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Anonymous Coward

What patent?

You can't patent a business model... I thought at least. What patent does Groupon hold that would let them keep other companies from doing a me-too?

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WTF?

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

How can it be possible to patent the concept of sending people emails about offers in their local area. Seriously, how.

Ridiculous.

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Boffin

Can't you just Google it?

http://www.law.com/jsp/cc/PubArticleCC.jsp?id=1202475920449

(A lawyer's view on Groupon and their patent portfolio and why Google was willing to pay 6bn.)

From this site:

"PA: Groupon has a patent and believes that MobGob is infringing on that patent. It wants MobGob to shut its Web site down.

NLJ: What does Groupon have to prove in court?

PA: There are computer patents that are generally claimed as what's called a business method. And although business-method patents in the past have been looked at by the patent office with a little bit of skepticism, there is definitely patentable subject matter that is available for these type of inventions. If people come up with a new method of doing something that involves something that's never been done before with a computer, it can definitely be patentable. Where they are asserting their own patent, they will have to show that the claims of the patent or a claim of the patent is infringed. And usually the battle over invalidity will involve the defendant trying to show that the patent never should have issued because the invention that's claimed was in fact old — you could say was old and/or was obvious. "

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Anonymous Coward

Horrible source

The guy they're interviewing didn't even bother to look up the patents - his ruminations on the subject are about as useful as anyone else's uninformed opinion. All that article really says is that by virtue of the MobGob filing Groupon must have a patent *of some sort* - there is absolutely nothing to say that Google's me-too would necessarily be violating said mystery patent... although from the very little information I can find on it, they might not even have a patent granted yet and are still in patent pending status.

As a boot note, Groupon itself is currently being sued by *at least* one other site for Patent infringement.

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Boffin

@AC...

The source was the first one I came upon because Groupon is getting sued and they are seeking class action status. This has really gummed up the use of Google for searching. But you can google Groupon and MobGob (Also a Chicago based firm) and see the lawsuit for yourself and other articles like from Chicago Crain's Business News.

My initial point was that the patents involved should never have been granted, because software patents and general business patents are bogus. They are not meant as a way to protect IP but to create artificial road blocks and stiffing competition.

If you looked at the patents owned by Groupon, you can bet Google would run afoul. But Google has deep enough pockets to sue and overturn Groupon's patents. This may be why Groupon is solidifying themselves by purchasing companies/competitors around the globe. They may also be betting that Google is over extending themselves and like Microsoft, will be found abusing their monopoly in the search engine arena and online advertising. Assuming of course that a judge in the US declares Google a monopoly....

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Happy

Re: Ian

"My initial point was that the patents involved should never have been granted, because software patents and general business patents are bogus. They are not meant as a way to protect IP but to create artificial road blocks and stiffing competition."

That, we can definitely agree on.

Just so you know where I was coming from, a search for "Groupon Patent" yielded almost nothing but results about Groupon being the target of patent infringement suites from EWinWin and Tippr.

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g e
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So...

Goopon?

Coople?

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FAIL

Sued? Nah

Groupon has just gone on a $950m spending spree after another investor whip round, so their pockets are not deep but decidedly turned inside out when compared to Google's mega slushfund.

After hearing this news do you think there will be any more investment in Groupon? Nope.

Just surprised Google offered so much for it in the first place - if they pulled all the programmers off their open source projects they could probably duplicate it in a weekend.

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Excuse me, but what do they actually do?

I'm not getting this clearly.

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What do they do

The basic idea is they contact retailers in each city and arrange big discounts on certain items which are then offered online to the websites members from that city, a certain minimum number of people must take the offer for it to be valid.

i.e. the retail offers 75% discount on a particular t-shirt but only if say 10 people take the offer, if you don't get 10 people sign up then the offer is withdrawn.

This way, the local retailers offer 50-75% discounts on items but know that in return they will get 10+ people into the shop who they can sell more stuff.

They occasionally have national deals as well, especially for online services etc.

Everyone benefits, the shop can get an increased number of customers through the door (maybe on a specific day so more staff could be laid on), groupon gets paided by the retailer for advertising the offer, and the customer get deep discounts.

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Pint

The field is really crowded and Groupon is just another large one

Given that there are so many coupon dispensers it's unlikely there will be any/many claims.There was a piece recently on one of the international business channels about coupon web sites and I was surprised how crowded the field is with city, regional and national outfits.There are others denominated by commodity types.

Charlie Rose also interviewed the Groupon founder recently on Bloomberg TV.

Google has an advantage few others have. Android. Just imagine as you about your daily business that little green robot can offer you location related deals or may be a generic choice say food, clothing, automotive, etc.

With Google vendors could post coupons when waiting lines thinned out - just as is done on radio. Any way you cut it Google can scoop the field.

Google better make sure no Apple Tosh has been served up laying claim to this idea!

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FAIL

Just wait a year...

I predict hear and loudly that most of these companies flash-mob coupon companies will be gone by year's end. Groupon os arguably the best of the lot. However their overhead is astronomical due in large part to the sheer # of people they must employee to negotiate the deals with the vendors. And they have to keep doing it because the vendors rarely come back once they realize that they just lost money on 500 tchotchkes to 500 "new" customers of which only 2 or 3 ever come back.

You see, we Americans are a cheap lot who'll gladly plop down $50 for your $200 massage but we sure as hell aren't coming back to pay full price.

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yada yada yada

I've been noticing that google has been engaging in increasing activity that makes all the years of Microsoft anti-trust issues laughable.

Anymore you do a google search on a loaf of bread and you never have to leave the google network to get what your after.

They're far beyond search but still far better than using other websites that insist on being media portals first and search engines second.

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FAIL

Coupons are rubbish anyway

Most of the coupons offered by Groupon (in my area anyway) are rubbish. Usually teeth-whitening, hair removal etc. And I seem to get the offers week after week.

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Grenade

anti-competitive?

"buying three companies offering similar services"

hello? do these jurisdictions not have any anti-competitive laws?

surely having a competing product is the way to ensure the consumer isnt being ripped off

by 'offers' that really arent?

I'm a member of Groupon but I'll happily check out this google tool.... as , just like other

tools, I can get good offers elsewhere (usually via eg moneysavingsupermarket.com et al)

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