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Daily deal services: How many can possibly survive, and what do merchants really think about them?

Posted by Scott Kirsner  April 3, 2011 09:14 PM

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Today's Globe column deals with the explosion of sites offering time-limited bargains, like Groupon, LivingSocial, and BuyWithMe.

Mainly, I look at how merchants view the services; whether consumers will keep paying attention (and scarfing up the pre-paid coupons); and how many of the services can survive.

Some bonus material:

- Philip Greenspun, the chief helicopter flight instructor at East Coast Aero Club, wrote two great blog posts about his business' experience with Groupon. In 2010, the school sold 2600 $69 introductory lessons in a single day. He offered a slightly higher-priced deal ($99) this year, and sold 800.

- Scott Walker, co-owner of Greenward, a Cambridge shop that sells "eco-friendly" stuff, sent me this e-mail about two recent experiences offering daily deals.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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