Provides Yahoo for Groupon

Group discounts enable discount prices - bargain hunters get their money's worth on the Internet: The coupon revolution on the internet

At the same time, completely different online bargains were available for 27 other cities on this page. The Austria-wide Sparmania has mainly targeted younger city dwellers and predominantly female discount hunters, who are often still studying and are mostly singles.

The phenomenon is a prime example of the so-called dot-com boom: Groupon, founded in Chicago in November 2008 by the then 28-year-old Andrew Mason, is one of those Internet rockets that made a spectacular rise practically overnight. According to "Forbes" magazine, Groupon is even the fastest growing Web 2.0 company - and on the verge of fundamentally renewing the Internet and radically changing the preferences and behavior of millions of users, just like the social networks Facebook and Twitter.

The former seven-man company, which was provided with the necessary money by wealthy private investors, professional venture capitalists and major banks, has transformed itself into a group with more than 5000 employees, which is present in 44 countries worldwide. This has initiated a veritable shopping revolution with a relatively simple business model: Groupon offers one deal of the day in around 800 cities, especially in the areas of food and drink, lifestyle and online trading. If enough people want to buy, the matter comes to fruition, if not, it is called off again.

The unbeatable prices - discounts usually start at 50 percent - are making more and more users around the world happy, who according to Groupon have already been able to save 800 million euros. Most business partners who use the discount offers to reach new customers via Facebook & Co. are also happy to pay the 50 percent commission to Groupon because they can save the costs of conventional marketing measures - and often a large number of customers attract: A steak house in Cologne, for example, was able to look forward to 1,594 guests who paid eleven euros half the price.

Also in Austriaclear market leader

In Austria, Groupon is represented by more than 20 employees and is the clear market leader. The company was formerly called City Deal and has been managed from Berlin since May 2010. The platform already has 500,000 registered users and has already worked with a thousand red-white-red partner companies. According to managing director Daniel P. Glasner, Austrian customers are characterized by a comparatively "high quality standard" and "a strong need for variety".

The sharpest rival is DailyDeal with currently twelve employees, whose managing director Markus Pichler plows around 20 cities in this country and also reports to Berlin. The corporate headquarters of the voucher specialist, which is represented in 29 countries around the world, is located there.

The remaining competitors in the coupon business, such as www.dealhamster.com, www.preisjaeger.at or www.meinonlinegutschein.at, rank under also ran. Groupon boss Glasner: "In Austria, like everywhere else, there are many Groupon clones. We take them all seriously, but most of the time they disappear again very quickly."

Despite countless imitators around the world (see box), Groupon inventor Andrew Mason caused such a sensation last year that he is already mentioned in the same breath as Facebook boss Marc Zuckerberg. While Groupon had 1.5 million registered users a year ago, there are now more than 25 million worldwide - and just as many vouchers have been sold to date. Sales are estimated at $ 500 to $ 600 million, with some sources believing as high as $ 2 billion.

A Russian is one of themlargest donors

Digital Sky Technologies, the investment company of the Russian Yuri Milner, is one of the most important donors of what is by far the largest social commerce specialist in the USA. She also holds shares in Facebook and the game company Zynga and helped Groupon in April 2010 with $ 135 million.

After Yahoo lost its way when trying to participate, Google stepped in last autumn: The search engine giant offered six billion dollars in order to be able to process its local advertising markets even better. Although Groupon co-founders Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky would have received around $ 600 million and $ 1.8 billion respectively, Mason declined in early December because he believed the coup was not compatible with American antitrust rules. Besides, he didn't want Google to talk him into it.

In any case, the 30-year-old drove the company value into breathtaking dimensions and - like Facebook boss Zuckerberg - sparked stock market fantasies. For the time being, a few donors helped him drive expansion and keep buying up clones: The investment firms Kleiner Perkins Caufiels & Byers, Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz provided Mason with venture capital of $ 950 million at the beginning of January. The IPO of Groupon will probably not be long in coming: It should bring in around 15 billion dollars.