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Groupon actively prevents businesses from following up

I’ve been pretty fascinated by the uptick in daily deal chatter, mostly related to a series of TechCrunch posts by Rocky Agrawal.

I’m actually working on an extended post about the daily deal business. As a one-man business I’m hardly a candidate for a daily deal. And as a somewhat cynical consumer, I’m not really a great recipient target for these deals either. So why should I care? Why should YOU care?

Maybe I shouldn’t and maybe you don’t, but after about a week of esearch (sort of like research, but without actually speaking to anybody yet), I am convinced the daily deal discussion is nothing less than a “business class” skirmish. And it’s not even about who gets to sit in business class. Quite the opposite. This conversation is about the millions of individuals who made the conscious decision to own and run a “small” business. Let’s run that by you again: conscious decision to own and run a small business.

By now you are probably looking for some payoff on that headline. It’s link-baity, I know, but check-out this little nugget from the Groupon terms of service:

“Groupon shall provide You with access to Customer Data solely to the extent necessary for You to redeem and/or verify the validity of GROUPONs. Except to the extent required by Law or otherwise authorized in writing by Groupon, You may not use Customer Data for any other purpose.”

From Quora

If you know nothing at all about how daily deals work, you probably know they are delivered via email. Given the cost of investment in a daily deal (more on that coming soon) for a small business, wouldn’t you expect you might get to keep the email addresses of the customers who purchased your offer? How can you even try to bring those “new” customers back if you can’t find them? Why you could run another deal of course!

There’s a whole mess of legitimate reasoning one could bring up as to why Groupon¬†shouldn’t (or can’t) provide those emails to their merchant clients. ¬†Most of them have to do with the daily deal business plan, however, and have very little to do with helping the small business.

“That’s business” you might say. And you’d be right. But that’s not small business and it certainly isn’t local business. End of day, THIS is the cultural chasm I want to dig into: The Business Plan vs. The Small Business.

If you have ANY thoughts on this, or any actual experience, please let me know. I’m genuinely looking to learn something here. Have you done a deal? Have you purchased one? Good? Bad? Whatever?