LivingSocial launches, offers deals in Gainesville


Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.

LivingSocial launches with Fresco deal

Update at 6:10 p.m.

LivingSocial launched its social commerce service in Gainesville on Thursday with an offer of $30 worth of food and drink for $15 at Fresco Neighborhood Italian restaurant.

Subscribers to the service at LivingSocial.com can choose a new deal every day at a local business.

Users bought 192 coupons to Fresco by 5 p.m.



New social commerce site starts in Gainesville

Another social commerce site has come to Gainesville with today's launch of LivingSocial, which allows customers to sign up for a new deal of at least 50 percent off each day at a local business.

LivingSocial.com features a new promotion every morning at a local restaurant, salon, fitness center, specialty shop or outdoor activity, among other businesses. Users get the deal for free if they refer three friends who also participate.

With today's launch in 10 cities throughout the U.S., the service is available in 150 markets in five countries, with 16 million subscribers.

The company is part of a rapidly growing market of online daily deals. After launching the service in July 2009, LivingSocial is booking daily sales of more than $1 million and is projected to top $500 million in revenue this year, CNNMoney reported. In December, Amazon.com invested $175 million in LivingSocial, just days before rival Groupon rejected Google's $6 billion buyout offer. Forbes called Groupon the fastest-growing company ever, passing $1 billion in valuation in its 17th month in April with $500 million in projected revenues for the year.

LivingSocial follows the launches late last year of Groupon and Flycoupon in Gainesville, joining The Gainesville Sun's "Half Price Deals" among online-based discount sites.

Blue Highway pizzeria was Groupon.com's first local offer on Nov. 29, selling 740 "Groupons" of $10 to receive $20 worth of pizza.

Owner Frank Rufino said it brought in a lot of customers in the first week and has generated a lot of money from those who spent more than the $20. With about half redeemed so far, he said the majority of users have been existing customers, but it brought in some new ones as well.

As a small business, he said he can't afford to offer coupons regularly.

"I don't know if I would do it again, but I'm not disappointed that I did it."

Anthony Clark is business editor of The Gainesville Sun. He can be reached at 352-374-5094.

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