When Todd Rideman first heard about Groupon, he figured he could do it, too. After all, what’s so hard about putting up a Website, offering a few deals each day from local merchants — like $20 worth of cupcakes for $10 — and then watching the cash roll in?
So Rideman poured $100,000 of his hard-earned money into his own daily deal site and, at the beginning of the year, launched WowWhatSavings, targeting the Boston area. He quickly learned, however, that building a profitable Groupon clone isn’t as easy it looks.
“I was able to get the local merchants, but getting people to come to the site was costing a fortune,” said Rideman. After six months, he had just a few thousand people on his distribution list. He has since morphed his business into a deal site for restaurants only, and has seen sales perk up.
WowWhatSavings, based in Waltham, Mass., is one of more than 130 Websites that offer daily deals like Groupon, according to Yipit, which aggregates the deals. Now, with the New York Times reporting that Google is negotiating to buy Groupon for up to $6 billion, the space is likely to grow even more crowded.