Sometimes everyone wins.
The latest example of maximizing the power of the Web are all those daily deals that look too good to be true. But the fine print doesn't stop you from buying $25 or $30 worth of food or services for $10 or $12. Often the deals are even better.
The services offering these bargains have names like Groupon, Living Social and Crowd Savings. At least 10 sites offer a daily deal in Las Vegas, and now there's a site that filters and delivers just the deals you want -- Yipit.com.
"The purpose of the vouchers is to get customers to discover new businesses," Yipit co-founder Jim Moran said. "There have always been coupons, but these are really serious discounts. The businesses only run the promotion a certain length of time and customers have to buy them in advance online.
Moran said Yipit was aggregating deals in New York City for about two years. In February Moran and business partner Vin Vicanti decided to expand to 10 more cities.
"This is a brand-new space that didn't exist nine months ago," he said. "In February there were about 20 companies in the U.S. offering daily deals. Now it's October and there are more than 200 companies, and many of them are in multiple cities.
"You're going to start seeing every major media company offering these deals," Moran added. "It's a great innovation in local advertising."
Moran said Yipit makes its money by getting an affiliate fee for each referred purchase. He sees plenty of growth for this type of service and predicts large publishers with strong audiences and credibility will use white-label providers to give their customers great value.
"There's going to be a lot more of these daily deals coming to Las Vegas and every other city. Lots of merchants work with more than one site, but some sites are specialists, doing only food deals or deals for moms. Everything is going to evolve and become specialized."
"The only way big discounts work is if the customers pay in advance and they have time to use it. Let's say a business sells 1,000 vouchers on one day for a $20 certificate for $10. The savings the business is providing is equivalent to $10,000." It all comes from the marketing budget.
Deal seekers using Yipit get just the deals that interest them. Signing up takes just an e-mail address and password, then you select the types of deals you want. A single e-mail featuring your culled deals hits your inbox every morning. If you see one you like, you're sent to the offering site where the transaction occurs.
Yipit employs five full- time employees and many contractors across the country. They confirm the deals and their locations and affirm the value. Moran said four people look at each deal before the e-mails go out.
"There's no need to subscribe to all those e-mails," Moran said.
Just one does the job.
Share your Internet story with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.