What’s the DEAL with all of these deals??

They say the best things in life are free – but since nothing in this world truly is, the next best thing is a Daily Deal site, right?

The conversation about these parsimonious websites runs the gamut from weary consumers growing tired of the trend to thrifty shoppers clamoring for more deals. But whether you think they’re here to stay or in the decline of their heyday, let’s take a look at some of the facts about their growth and stagnation.

GROWTH

Whether you think the sites are a steal or a sham the fact is they are a viable industry. The Daily Deal Media 2011 Conference was held in Chicago, Illinois September 8-9th and the event was expected to draw a crowd of 1,500 attendees. Along with many interesting paneled discussions, Daily Deal Media CEO Boyan Josic revealed it’s global expansion campaign.  “While daily deal offers are frequently local, daily deals are a global service,” said Josic, “Globally, there are more than 3,000 total daily deal companies, including more than 1,000 in China, more than 900 in Europe, and more than 600 in South America.”

Taking a closer look at the deals closer to home, there are a purported 600 plus [as of May 2011] daily deal sites out there, with new sites cropping up by small venture capitalists daily.

Larger companies such as Time Warner Cable and Google realize that going local is paramount to the success of smaller sites and have availed themselves of the idea in Austin with ClickedIn and Google Offers as an attempt to mimic their successes.

In addition to these sites, which at base level are carbon copies of each other in different cities and niches, the spawn of the Daily Deal has morphed into marketplaces to buy and sell a previously purchased deals.

Did you forget to use the Austin carpet-cleaning coupon before you moved back home to Houston? Lifesta.com ensures that your money won’t go to waste. Is it increasingly annoying to browse through the veritable aggregation of deals in your inbox? Ponocu.com makes it simple by providing an online list of the deals you are subscribed to all in one place.

STAGNATION

While some scour the Internet in search of the best deal, some (ah-hem, myself included) say they are tired of the constant coupon chase. A survey conducted earlier this year by PriceGrabber concluded that “52 percent, of U.S. consumers who use daily-deal services say they feel ‘overwhelmed’ by the number of e-mails they receive about deals on a daily basis” and “60 percent of people say they feel the daily-deal industry is too crowded

The heavyweights in the game have also taken a few hits in the courtroom. Groupon and Living Social were both slammed with lawsuits earlier this spring. The red tape got sticky around distinguishing between a gift-card and a voucher and the corporations were taken to battle over the terms of expiration which are separate for the two items.3 Other big guns in the game Yelp and Facebook have since avowed to lessen their daily deal sales task force and slowly eliminate their deal features respectively.

Likewise businesses are tired of offering deals, which often oversell and leave irritated and angry customers. Such was the case in Austin when Salon 505 sold enough spa packages to fill every available time slot in the one-year redeemable period. Outraged consumers made headline news and forced Salon owner Sharon Baldeschwiler to accommodate the extra appointments.

So, what’s the [Daily] Deal? What are the odds of these companies staying around? In all honesty, even I am guilty of purchasing things that I wouldn’t have bought otherwise – who could pass up TWO spray tans for a mere $45? – which shows that you really are not saving any money. Yet, with the current market expansion, this writer believes that they are here to stay today – but with Internet technology, they really could be gone tomorrow.