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If Google can’t get local merchants to self serve, you probably can’t either December 24, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in advertising, local.
8 comments

Local has been a category that has long attracted a lot of attention from internet startups. Not surprising given that it is a $130Bn market. Now that Groupon and Living Social (a Lightspeed portfolio company) are growing s0 fast, it is attracting even more attention from startups.

Most of these startups focus on innovating on their product, and aim to have a “sales light” approach.

Usually they start with a self service business model, expecting local businesses to go to the web to sign up for service on their own. They mostly point to Google as the evidence that self service can scale.

I’ve long been skeptical that self service works for selling products to local businesses. From my time at CitySearch in ’96 to today, I haven’t seen this work. In fact, I’d argue that ReachLocal exists as a public company solely because Google can’t get local merchants to self serve. Today, perhaps lost in the holiday shuffle, the WSJ notes that even Google has turned to a call center sales force to reach local merchants.

The Internet-search giant this year has hired several hundred sales representatives to call U.S. businesses such as spas, restaurants and hotels to promote new advertising initiatives, people familiar with the matter said. The effort includes an office in Tempe, Ariz., with around 100 sales representatives, one of these people said.

The other business model that startups attacking local hope to rely on is channel partnerships. Many startups have struck deals with local yellow pages, or newspaper groups, to sell their product too. They have typically been disappointed when sales numbers come in far short of projections. It is hard to get someone elses salesforce to know and care about your product as much as you do, especially when they are used to selling traditional media and not online media.

The winners in this category (Yelp, Groupon, Living Social, Yodle, ReachLocal, CitySearch etc) have all relied on a direct sales force, whether on the phone, or feet on the street, to drive their revenue growth.

If you want to make a business in local online media, you have to control your own destiny and build your own salesforce.

More on internet trends December 22, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in 2011, Internet.
7 comments

UPDATE: Bloomberg has made this video private so it is no longer available. Sorry

 

I was interviewed on Bloomberg TV this morning about internet trends. It’s about a five minute video. You will have to click through to Youtube to watch as Bloomberg doesn’t allow embedded video watching.

Let me know what you think.

Anatomy of a good landing page December 17, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in Ecommerce, UI, usability, viral.
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Both virality and direct response advertising are areas where getting the details right are critical. One element in both chains is the page on your website that a new user lands on (either from a friend invite, or from an ad.) Many developers don’t sweat the details on what they regard as “aesthetics”. Many designers focus more on making a page look good than getting users to do what you want them to.

Here is an ecellent “how to” that breaks down what a good landing page should look like.

(thanks startup digest)

 

Why Lightspeed invested in Bonobos December 16, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in apparel, bonobos, Ecommerce.
12 comments

Today we’re announcing that Lightpseed and Accel are investing in Bonobos, a vertically-integrated men’s apparel etailer. Bonobos was founded in 2007 by a couple of Stanford Business school students, selling better fitting pants out of their dorm room. Initially their focus was on pants, cut for modern American men who had played sports growing up. Not the too skinny Euro cut that doesn’t work for men who had some muscle in their legs, but not the baggy and pleated looks that Brooks Brothers made the staple of American style. I am happy to say that I have a lot of their pants in my closet!

The company has since moved to the web and grown substantially, both adding product lines under their own brand (shirts, jackets, polos, shorts and sweaters), as well as carefully curating products from other brands that fit their style and aesthetic. Their growth was initially steady, but has really taken off in the last few quarters as they got a better handle on Customer Acquisition Cost versus Lifetime Value. As I’ve mentioned before, companies who understand these customer level economics can quickly reach millions in monthly revenue as they can confidently spend on marketing to grow their customer base. Our investment into Bonobos will enable them to ramp their growth rate in just this manner.

Earlier this year Lightspeed invested in Living Sociaand in Shoedazzle. Both investments were premised on the idea that making shopping fun is driving this current generation of ecommerce companies. Unsurprisingly, both companies have a primarily female customer base.

Bonobos is different. Andy Dunn, Bonobo’s CEO,  captures some of the differences between the way that men and women shop for clothes like this:

Basically, this says that for many women, style, trend and fun are the most important factors. Time and hassle is acceptable if the style, trend and fun are high enough. Shoedazzle certainly focuses on style, trend and fun.

For many men, the equation is different. They do not like to shop, but they do care about looking alright. They focus primarily on fit, but want time and hassle to be minimized. For an e-commerce website, this means that fast, free shipping and returns are important factors to drive men’s apparel sales.

Furthermore, men develop a certain loyalty to brands and retailers that have clothes that fit them. If they have confidence in a particular brand, they can make their annual shopping fast and easy, and they don’t have to cross shop from other places. Whereas the lifetime value for female clothes buyers comes from their frequent purchases driven by entertainment shopping, the lifetime value for male clothes buyers comes from the brand loyalty engendered by meeting their needs for clothes that fit, in a fast and easy buying process.

I’m very excited about our investment in Bonobos. We believe that they are the leading pureplay vertically-integrated men’s apparel etailer, and are well positioned, and well capitalized, to expand on their leadership position. In Shoedazzle, we are also investors in what we believe to be the leading pureplay vertically-integrated women’s apparel etailer as well. JCrew, Lands End and others have grown to be billion dollar businesses in the vertically-integrated catalogue led apparel space, and have transitioned well to the web, but the advantages of being a pureplay etailer will allow for very valuable new companies to emerge.

If you’d like to check them out,  grab something for work, the weekend, a party or the holidays. Use my discount code – SECRETHANDSHAKE, and get 20% off through the holidays!

Internet/Media: 5 things that will define 2011 December 8, 2010

Posted by Bipul Sinha in advertising, Consumer internet, social media, social networks, startups.
Tags: , , , , ,
16 comments

Some observations from Bipul Sinha about the internet and media industry in 2011.

1.  Year of Social Utilities

With over half a billion users and open graph integration, Facebook is the Internet with social graph at its core. This is as much of a game-changer (due to a new distribution model based on the social graph) as going from offline to the Internet was in the 90s. A number of startup companies, I call them social utilities, are leveraging the social graph to potentially disrupt traditional online businesses such as dating, e-commerce, travel and recruitment. Yardsellr, Branchout, and Mertado are examples of such companies and we will witness a few scale companies emerging out of this space in 2011.

2.  Display Advertising Enters a Golden Era

Innovations in media transaction platforms along with a better understanding of target audience have brought an amazing level of scale and efficiency in display advertising market. The use of data and technology will disrupt the premium, guaranteed media buying segment in the coming year resulting in an open, transparent marketplace for audience-based transactions. This marketplace will help bring price equilibrium to media supply and demand thereby further increasing the marketing budget spent on this medium. Startups to watch in this space are Legolas Media, Krux Digital, and BrightTag, among others.

3.  Social Media based Discovery Traffic Breaks Out

In the traditional marketing parlance, Google directed web traffic represents bottom-of-the-funnel users who are ready to take an action now. The aggregation of such high-intent traffic is what makes Google a formidable force on the Internet. However, the emergence of social media in the past few years has created a new web where people are the nodes, connected through the social graph. The traditional advertising formats such as display lack both context and intent to be effective in the social media environments. New advertising platforms are emerging to enable advertisers to leverage engaged followings and connections on social media for brand and discovery advertising. The resulting web traffic represents top-of-the-funnel users who are interested in learning more about the products/services, but not ready to commit just yet. This discovery/intent web traffic will grow fast in the coming year to become a significant source of users/customers.

4.  TV Goes Social via Mobile Devices

Since the advent of the Internet, media has been abuzz about web-connected living room. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to bring the web to TV, but the user experience hasn’t matched the lean-back, simple remote controlled TV watching. The new-generation mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads could bridge the gap between the web and the TV, and make TV watching a truly social experience. A number of startups including Peel, Umee, and Miso are attempting to turn this vision into reality and the implications are huge since the winner would essentially influence the content promotion and consumption. I believe that TV will finally go social in the coming year and we will witness a breakout company in this space.

5.  Online-Offline Commerce Accelerates

The astronomical growth of Groupon and LivingSocial* in the past two years heralded the integration of local businesses into the efficient marketing machine of the Internet. This online-offline commerce trend will accelerate in the coming year as more startup companies figure ways to leverage location capabilities of the smart phones to drive foot traffic to the local businesses. This acceleration would largely be driven by discovery via location based social experience sharing. The explosive growth of Instagram is an early sign of the experience sharing trend and we will witness a whole lot more in the coming year.

The New Year will create tons of opportunities. Are you ready?

*A Lightspeed Portfolio company

The Hottest Enterprise IT Trend You Have Never Heard of December 6, 2010

Posted by Barry Eggers in datacenter, enterprise infrastructure, flash.
3 comments

Ten years ago, the term virtualization was rarely uttered in an enterprise data center.  Today, it’s part of the daily vocabulary.   Server virtualization has changed the datacenter forever,  shifting the proverbial IT bottleneck from computers to storage.  There’s hardly an element of the enterprise infrastructure that hasn’t been impacted in some way by virtualization. Today, we all know more about virtualization than we care to admit, and VMWare’s stock has gone up and down and up again….

The Cloud is supposed to be the next big thing in IT – first brought to the public’s attention in 2007 in The Big Switch, by Nicholas Carr. Back then it had not yet make an indelible mark on the enterprise.

Three years later, the Cloud is already the centerpiece of ubiquitous primetime ads brought to you by the folks in Redmond.  The Cloud has been over hyped, then under hyped (Gartner would call this the Trough of Disillusionment), then over hyped again. Certainly, the Cloud will have its day in the sun. But this post is not about the Cloud…

This post is about Flash.  Not Adobe Flash.  Not Flash sales.  But Flash memory.  Flash memory, the solid state technology that has mysteriously entered our lives through iPods, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and practically any mobile device, is about to invade the Enterprise Datacenter – in a very big way.  While consumers have provided the insatiable demand for this technology that has driven its cost lower and lower, a group of savvy startups have been preparing this technology for large scale business deployment.

It’s the hottest trend you’ve never heard of, the virtualization of 10 years ago.

Why Flash memory?  Why now? Because rotating hard disk drives (HDDs) are no longer good enough…..the last bastion of moving parts (i.e. “energy hogs”) in the datacenter has lived a good life, but like tape, its days are numbered.   Disk drives are great for storing large amounts of data, and will continue to have a relevant place in the data center in that role.  But now that the bottleneck has shifted away from servers, there will be a new focus on storage performance that will pave the way for Flash memory-based solutions.

But while performance is the reason for introducing Flash into the datacenter, COST will be the reason that it takes a significant “byte” out of the disk drive market.  You see, a “hybrid” storage system that includes Flash memory for speed and inexpensive HDDs for capacity is both faster AND lower cost than a system comprised solely of expensive high performance HDDs.  Hybrid systems are expected to become the “flavor of the decade” for storage during 2011.

Unlike virtualization, Flash memory in the enterprise will not grab your attention because of a single poster child (aka VMWare), but rather because of the depth and breadth of solutions that will pervade the market.  There is an ecosystem building around enterprise flash memory that will enable continuous improvements in cost, performance, and reliability while providing a variety of product choices to end customers.

Companies like FusionIO*,  OCZ, and Virident provide card-based solutions that plug into server slots.   These solutions have a direct high speed path to the computer, allowing them to satisfy I/O intensive applications like database processing and web analytics.

Other companies like Pliant Technology* and STEC package Flash memory in the same form factor and with the same storage interface as HDDs, creating a solid state disk (SSD).  The large storage and server OEMs will place SSDs into HDD slots, allowing them to quickly retrofit current products with this hot new memory technology.

There are also appliances from companies like Avere, Gridiron, and Kaminario that pack large capacities of Flash into a standalone system in order to accelerate capacity-hungry, mission-critical applications.

Other companies like Nimble Storage* take a “clean sheet of paper” approach to design a best in class “hybrid” system from the ground up, offering enterprise customers unprecedented functionality in a single system – raising the bar once again on the storage incumbents.

On the component side, companies like Sandforce, Anobit (also an SSD player), and Link-a-Media* are offering merchant silicon solutions for controlling and managing Flash. These pre-engineered building blocks could shorten development times for the next set of market entrants.

And, of course, there are several stealthy software companies that will engineer more performance, reliability, and availability into the solutions that gain the most favor with enterprise customers.

Over the next few years, billions of enterprise IT dollars will shift from rotating disks to Flash memory solutions.  Several private companies will ride this wave to financial success. Meanwhile, the heavyweight storage and server OEMs, who have already recognized the disruptive nature of Flash memory, will reshape their product lines as they battle over market share.   Given the scope and scale of solutions coming to market, and the insatiable enterprise demand for storage price/performance, it’s not crazy to predict that we will see the next $10B enterprise market develop in this area.

But don’t expect a Superbowl commercial for any of these companies anytime soon!

______________________

* A Lightspeed portfolio company

2011 Consumer Internet Predictions December 3, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in 2011, advertising, Consumer internet, Ecommerce, ltv, mobile, predictions, social games.
22 comments

Once again Lightspeed is going on the record with some prognostications for what the future holds. Before I try gazing into my crystal ball to see what 2011 will bring for the consumer internet industry, let me first see how I did on last years predictions:

1. Social games overflow out of Facebook

Grade: C+. While the amount of social gaming on other social networks, especially the Asian networks, has significantly increased over the course of the year, the vast majority of social gaming still takes place on Facebook. While Farmville.com now has 6M UU/month, this is still only 10% of the number playing Farmville on Facebook.

2. Brand advertising starts to move online, boosting premium display, video and social media

Grade: A. The recovering economy has really boosted brand ad budgets in 2010, with online ad spend back to setting records again. Automotive and CPG in particular are both seeing significantly increased online budgets. The online video networks are doing terrific business, and even Yahoo is benefiting from increased brand spend, seeing revenue growth for the first time in a while. Many brand advertisers are spending their experimental budgets widely in social media as they attempt to figure out how to promote themselves through Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other platforms. The key driver of this renewed confidence from brand advertisers is better measurement of brand metrics that can show the impact of online advertising beyond clickthrough.

3. Direct Response Advertising becomes ever more efficient

Grade: A. According to Adsafe, approximately half of display advertising inventory is now moving through exchanges, Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and realtime bidding platforms, with another 23% moving through Facebook’s self service ads. These platforms are rapidly commodifying a lot of “low quality” ad inventory, enabling the use of data and targeting to find the best use of this inventory, and thereby creating a very efficient marketplace. Direct response advertisers have benefited the most from this transparency.

4. Finding money and saving money online

Grade: B-. Saving money online has been a real driver of ecommerce growth in 2010. The breakout categories of 2010 are Local Deals (Groupon, Living Social* etc), and Flash Sales (Gilt, RueLaLa, HauteLook, Ideeli etc), and both are squarely aimed at helping consumers save money. Finding money online (principally online lending) has not seen the same level of explosive growth in the US, although in Europe and India there has been real growth in microlending (including “pay day loans”) from companies ranging from Wonga to SKS Finance. I think we’ll see more from the online lending space in 2011, so I may just have been too early on that part of the prediction!

5. Real time web usage outpaces business models

Grade: B-. Twitter continues to grow in usage, overtaking Myspace to become the third largest social network in the world. Foursquare and Gowalla have grown too, but off of much lower bases, such that only 4% of internet users currently use a check-in service. Facebook also joined the Location Based Services (LBS) party this year, enabling Facebook places, which some speculate is getting 30M users already. Last year I speculated that monetization would be hard for these businesses since CPM models have traditionally been hostile to user generated content, and local ad sales is an expensive and difficult proposition. But these companies have innovated new monetization models. Twitter, through its Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts, is not selling media on a CPM basis, but rather selling attention, and the early returns suggest that brands are willing to pay for more attention. Similarly, the check-in services are attracting experimental budgets from national retailers as well as forward thinking small businesses who are eager to attract new customers into their stores, and reward regular customers. While the revenue numbers may not be huge in 2010, there is certainly promise to the business models that are developing on these platforms.

Overall for 2010, I figure a B average, a little worse than last year. But there is always grade inflation when you grade yourself, so let me know what you think. Now, on to my predictions for 2011:

___________________________________

1. Putting fun into ecommerce

In 1995, when Amazon was founded, e-commerce was like the proverbial talking dog. It wasn’t about how well the dog could talk, it was amazing that the dog could talk at all. The first generation of ecommerce sites were focused on functionality, getting the dog to talk better. We got everything from price comparison engines to aggregated user reviews to one-click checkout. These early innovations were focused on optimizing the “workflow” of shopping to get users into the checkout as quickly as possible.

This worked great for most internet users at that time because back then most internet users were men, and in general, men do not like to shop. They treat it like a chore, a necessary evil that would ideally be minimized and optimized to take the least amount of time possible. Then they could get back to doing something they enjoyed, perhaps playing video games, or watching football!

But a few years ago, that changed. There are now (a few) more women online than men. And in general, women tend to enjoy shopping more than men. Certainly more than playing video games, or watching football! If you enjoy shopping, you don’t want your “workflow optimized”. You don’t want to be rushed to the checkout as quickly as possible. Instead, you want to linger, to be delighted, to discover new things, to find great deals. You want shopping to be fun.

The Flash Sales sites and Local Deals sites both make shopping fun by offering deep discounts. This is the mechanism that they use to entice shoppers to buy something, even when they are not looking for anything specific. But discounts are not the only way to make shopping fun.

Sites like Modcloth make shopping fun through discovery. Modcloth highlights women’s clothes from modern, indie and retro designers. Because each item has limited supply, and selections are constantly changing, Modcloth builds an urgency that has users coming back frequently to see what’s new and to make sure that they don’t miss out.

Shoedazzle* makes shopping fun by democratizing the personal stylist experience. After users take a style quiz to assess their profile, they are shown a selection of shoes, bags and accessories that have been specifically chosen to match their taste. Each month they get a new selection of on-trend pieces that fit their profile. JustFab and JewelMint have subsequently launched with similar models.

More models keep popping up. Recently launched Birchbox focuses on sending cosmetic samples to its users to help them discover the perfect eyeliner or blush. Pennydrop is a Facebook app that lets users peek at discounted and constantly dropping prices on items and jump in to buy when the price is low enough.

All these sites play to the idea of making shopping fun. I expect to see more applications of these formats, as well as more new formats, all under this overarching theme. A little social shopping anyone?

2. Self-service ad platforms find their ceiling, and brand advertisers seek other avenues

As noted above, about half of display advertising inventory is now moving through exchanges, DSPs and realtime bidding platforms. Yet these platforms are only two to three years old. While perhaps only 10% of online ad revenue is currently flowing through these channels, the trend here is clear. Today, two thirds of online ad spending comes from direct response advertisers, and soon the bulk of these budgets will likely flow through bidded platforms such as these, including Facebook ads. Direct response advertisers move their budgets quickly to follow results, so this could happen within the next year or two.

Brand advertisers are also experimenting with bidded platforms. Each of the big ad agencies have their own trading desks. However, adoption on the brand side will likely be slower and far from complete. Many of the exchanges, DSPs and RTB platforms allow for bidding strategies that are easily optimized for click-through rates, but optimizing for brand metrics is much harder. Brands also care more about content adjacency and brand safe content, and these are harder to guarantee on an exchange type platform, where in some cases, ad impressions are traded several times before finding their final buyer.

In addition, exchanges by definition can only support standard ad units. Many brand campaigns incorporate custom elements, ranging from social media and other earned media components to custom microsites, site takeovers, roadblocks and other high impact units. These are often tied to specific publishers, and bundled into a broader media buy including standard ad units. Premium publishers depend on this sort of creative advertising to maintain the ad rates required to support the creation of high-quality content, and I think it is likely that this symbiosis between brands and premium publishers will continue to capture a large chunk of the brand ad budget. In fact, I expect to see a proliferation in custom ad units from the biggest and most premium publishers as they work to capture a greater share of brand budgets. Non-premium publishers that have reached the scale to become “must buys” are doing exactly the same thing. Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts, and Facebook’s Social Ads and Likes are all great examples of this trend.

3. Competition shifts from user acquisition to user retention

Today many e-commerce and subscription companies are growing very quickly through smart marketing. They are taking advantage of cheap media to cost effectively acquire new customers. As I’ve mentioned above, I think the exchanges will continue to make it easier for direct marketers to reach their customers. Facebook’s self service platform is still a relatively inefficient market, allowing savvy, analytical marketers to quickly and cheaply gain market share. However, in some categories (e.g. Local Deals) Facebook has quickly become efficient and there is already a “market price” for a new Local Deals subscriber. As more marketers take the plunge into Facebook’s platform, more categories will become efficient, just as Google became an efficient market over time for almost all keywords. Once this happens there will be a market clearing price for new customer acquisition across almost all categories, and smart marketing will no longer be as much of a differentiator.

On what basis then will winners pull away from the rest? Companies who are able to derive the highest lifetime value (LTV) from their users will squeeze out their competitors with a lower lifetime value. How can you improve LTV? There are three key factors:

  • average revenue per user
  • gross margin
  • average lifetime.

The e-commerce and subscription based companies that pull away from their competitors in 2011 will find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors on one or more of these dimensions.

4. Social games chase hardcore gamers

Notwithstanding Disney buying Playdom* this year and EA buying Playfish last year, Zynga is still the market leader in social gaming. Their enormous installed user base gives them a real advantage in customer acquisition cost over their competitors; their ability to cross-sell installs to their new games at zero cost allows them to get a new game to scale with much lower marketing spend then smaller competitors.

To combat Zynga’s might, the other social game publishers have to focus on games with a very high LTV. High enough that the publisher can afford to rely on paid customer acquisition alone to build a user base, and still make money. Kabam (once know as Watercooler) pioneered this approach with Kingdoms of Camelot, a relatively hardcore social game that is reputed to be doing low to mid single digit millions in monthly revenue from  about 750k Daily Acitve Users (DAUs) – a monetization rate that is dramatically higher than the norm for social games. Other publishers have taken note, and I would expect more games aimed at the hardcore gamer market to emerge over 2011.

5. Year of the tablet

Smartphones transformed the mobile internet. Apps will drive $5bn in revenue in 2010. Mary Meeker presents some great insight into the future growth potential of mobile in her Web 2.0 Summit presentation, Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask and Answer.

The same thing will happen with tablets. While the iPad has the tablet market largely to itself this year, that will change dramatically in 2011 and beyond, just as Apple’s iPhone had the truly web-capable smartphone market to itself in 2008, but is now a minority as competition emerged from Android, WinMo7 and the modern Blackberry.

The key difference between these new platforms and the PC web isn’t mobility (although that is part of it), but rather that these devices are always on and always with you. However, use cases differ between the phone and the tablet.

Phones are with you all the time, in particular when you are out of the house and out of the office. The most popular genres of app fit well with this “on the go” usecase. Local information, “snacky” entertainment, music, games have all been killer apps on smartphones. Some web incumbents made the transition well, including Yelp, Flixster*and Pandora. Many new companies also gained ground on the phone through this disruption.

Tablets tend to live in the living room. They lend themselves more to leisure than PCs, and to more protracted content consumption than phones. Killer apps might include, video, music, games, and “reading”, broadly defined. Again, some web incumbents will make the transition well, but once again I expect to see new companies gain ground through this disruption.

What do you think will happen in 2011? This time next year ,I’ll look back to see how accurate I was. In the interim, stay tuned for more Lightspeed predictions in other tech sectors over the next few days.

_________________________

* A Lightspeed Portfolio company

Amazon <3 Living Social December 2, 2010

Posted by jeremyliew in amazon, living social.
8 comments

As announced today, Amazon is investing $175M into Living Social. This investment will fuel the company’s growth on three dimensions:

  • International. Living Social recently bought a controlling stake in JumpOnIt, a local deals site in Australia, and have launched owned and operated sites in the UK and Canada. They’re actively looking at expansion into other geographies.
  • Lifestyle focused deals. The company recently launched Living Social Family Edition and Campus Deals to target deals to the lifestyles of particular demographics.
  • Vertically focused deals. Living Social recently launched a “near-cation” service called Living Social Escapes, focused on getaway travel. Their acquisition of Urban Escape is helping them create these amazing adventure experiences.

At Lightspeed, we continue to be incredibly excited about the growth prospects for the company, and increased our investment into the company, putting in an additional $8M. I posted earlier this year on why Lightspeed invested in Living Social, and our enthusiasm continues unabated to this day.

Local deals is a category whose growth has been extraordinary. This space didn’t exist two years ago and now is generated over $100M a month in revenue. Although there are many new entrants, and more each week, the two leaders, Living Social and Groupon, control more than 90% of the market share in the “local deals” space.  Furthermore, the share of the two leaders is increasing over time. This has rapidly become a scale players game. It is no wonder that Google is rumored to want to buy Groupon. As Living Social CFO John Bax said earlier, $6Bn could be cheap. There are only two companies at internet scale in the local deals space right now, and the major internet companies are all thinking about what their response to this category’s growth should be. Amazon has always been forward thinking and we’re excited to have them join the board and the investor base.