How did Groupon do it!?!

October 20, 2014

They built 7 million Merchant websites overnight .... well, over-months.

Groupon announced Wednesday that they are now live with their new consumer facing Offers Site. Essentially creating a Groupon site that is powered by 7 million brand new freshly built, personalized, Merchant branded one-page websites. Bravo!

"But why didn't they build Pages for the balance of the 23 million Merchants they have content for in their databases?"

"Because it’s really hard to do. And they probably put years into building an internal proprietary system to stuff the Merchant content from their databases right into these Pages."

Basically the new Groupon Offers site is a copy of YELP’s site. Good move or not, it is still a monumental accomplishment to build 7million+ one page websites, with branding, content and copy specific to each individual Merchant. At initial glance, it looks like the the Pages include photos, tag-lines, hours of operation, maps/direction, logos and of course offers on each Merchant’s page. As well as options for conversion widgets like BookNow, Schedule, Click-to-Call, etc. And the Pages are of responsive design, so they show optimized content for each screen type (online, tablet, mobile, Apps, etc.)

We don’t have a specific view into how they did this at scale, but do know that there is at least one proven tech platform that will do the same for any Publisher that has access to Merchant content. These platforms pull the content directly off the web or out of a Publishers Database, and build it straight into any permutation of high performance templates, then rendered as branded sites. Once published, the new sites are responsive, giving that Publisher’s Merchants a compelling online, mobile and social presence that can be organized on a directory site like Yelp and GroupOn have done, and/or to be let loose to run free across the web and mobile ecosystem.

With new automated site creation technology, the Groupons’ of the world, could take the same content and instantly create Video Ad Units, Display Ad Units, LeadGen pages, Multi-Location sites, and Store Locator sites. These platforms allow Merchants to claim their pages to add/correct their business information, or allow internal editors to manage the content, look, feel, and conversion tools across all Merchant sites at the same time, or individually site by site.

For anyone that wants to do their own version of what Groupon did, the technology is now there today to make it instant, seamless and of mass scale. The boost in traffic and potential leadgen/content syndication deals are also a delicious reason to get in the game.

Congrats to Groupon for accomplishing such a mass-scale play via a ton of heavy lifting.