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Google announced today that it has partnered with coupon distributor Valpak to provide electronic coupons that are served with business listings in Google Local. At launch today, this will include 20,000 coupons from Valpak’s existing advertisers.

We’ve long advocated the value of online coupons in both driving conversions and tracking offline purchases — traditionally an obstacle in determining search influence on buying behavior. Online coupons will play an increasingly large part in online search and shopping (not to mention mobile local search), and this deal will certainly push it forward.

Others that play in this space include ZiXXo, Cellfire (in the mobile space), 3Cdepot and ShopLocal. Expect more deals and announcements to come out of this area soon. We’ll write more about this trend and the Google deal in next week’s Local Media Journal. Here is more from the San Jose Mercury News, The New York Times, Search Engine Journal and Peter Krasilovsky’s Local Onliner blog.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Google is looking to do to coupons what Craigslist has done to classifieds; namely leverage free Internet-based distribution to disrupt and cannibalize the market. Valpak has provided Google the critical mass they need to establish themselves as a destination site for coupons and to jump-start their simple self-service coupon offering.

    This move really validates the market for online local coupons, which ZiXXo has pioneered. At this point, I believe that the heads of AOL, MSN, Yahoo, IAC, News Corp. et al. are asking what their coupon strategy should be. Google is looking to build a silo of coupons on their site. ZiXXo differs in that we offer a syndication network of online coupons. We are in talks with most of the big guys about leveraging our solution for self-service and syndication, and I expect that this will accelerate those talks. Basically, we want to be the arms merchant in the battle to be the local coupon destination site.

    The offline coupons folks, Valpak, MoneyMailer, ADVO, etc. also need to figure out how they will respond to Google. Again I believe that ZiXXo provides a mechanism to respond to them. We provide the self-service, the API for integration of coupons into content, tracking and reporting, coupon management (e.g. pausing coupons) and more. I believe that Google's coupon solution will be a shot across the bow of these folks.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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