Friday, January 21, 2011

Who Google Should Fear (Short Take)

Groupon MyCityDeal
In my previous posting I did a quick evaluation of how serious a threat Facebook is to Google.  In summary, I don't see a lot over overlap in the value they create.  This could change if Facebook continues to add services such as Email but for now I don't think Google has a lot to worry about.

A much more serious and emerging threat is coming from companies like Groupon and Living Social.  Rumored revenue numbers for Groupon have been all over the place with $500 million to $2 billion being the range late last year.  The number I find most credible is $800 million.  Even the low water number is very impressive for a company that celebrated its second birthday in November of 2010.  Facebook was launched in 2004 and has seen much slower revenue growth.  In light of these numbers I don't think it's surprising that Google tried to buy Groupon and is apparently planning a very similar offering of its own called Google Offers.

The reason Google is worried about Groupon is that both companies provide advertisers with an opportunity to deliver highly targeted offers.  Groupon has the additional advantage of actually getting customers to commit by way of the special offers that they enable companies to deliver.  So in effect, the groupon experience is a much more immersive and valuable one for both customers and businesses.

Facebook may have even more to fear since much of their ad revenue comes from small to medium sized businesses that will likely see much more value from using Groupon or a similar service.

Image via Wikipedia
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