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Starting Your Own Group Buying Site Without Joining Groupon Group buying is growing by leaps and bounds. Get in on the action with a site of your own.

By Mikal E. Belicove

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Last week, I told you about The New York Times' plan to join the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial in the group-couponing world with TimesLimited. But have you considered that you too can have your own group-buying website where you can promote your own products or services?

Despite the ample praise bestowed on the big group-buying sites Groupon, BuyWithMe, LivingSocial, Jasmere by business owners who've watched their traffic balloon or seen sales skyrocket, the horror stories of deals gone wrong are plentiful. There's also the fact that business owners typically must relinquish a whopping 50 percent of their gross revenues to the group buying site once a deal goes through. That's if you can get Groupon to return your call, of course.

Another idea? Try using one of the many group-couponing solutions available under the white label and application service provider model.

Companies like ChompOn, AnalogAnalytics, Group Commerce, NimbleCommerce, AtCost, Deal Current and PoweredByTippr all cater to businesses interested in offering daily deals and group coupons on their own website or domain. In addition to using these companies' services to create a direct link between your business and customers, having your own group-buying site allows you to keep more of the deal revenue. You also get guaranteed up-time and training materials that support your knowledge and understanding of group buying.

Other benefits to using white-label technology and services for group buying include:

  • The possibility of generating additional revenue by offering to promote deals from partners and others to your customers.
  • Turn deals on and off on your schedule -- not someone else's -- and avoid exclusivity contracts enforced by Groupon and their competitors.
  • Adjust your offerings based on key performance indicators, all of which are available in real-time.
  • Getting people to sign up for your deals (as opposed to Groupon's), which allows you to capture and cultivate leads yourself.

Traditional daily-deal sites charge up to 50 percent of the money someone pays for your coupon or deal, while white label providers charge considerably less. Take ChompOn, for instance. This provider charges 15 percent of gross revenues generated using their technology (i.e., if your item sold is a $100 coupon for $200 worth of products or services, ChompOn's take for using their technology is $15), and it lowers the rate as volume increases. PoweredByTippr offers two pricing configurations for its white-labeled group-couponing solution: Pro and Enterprise pricing. PoweredByTippr Pro will cost your business between six and 10 percent of gross revenue and does not include any educational content or dedicated support. On the other hand, its Enterprise product includes support, account management, seller training and more. You'll pay more, of course, based on the volume of sales you run through the platform.

Don't think for a second that group buying or group coupons are just a fad. The 10,000-pound gorilla in the space recently launched Groupon Stores, a service that anyone -- including consumers -- can use to create deals anytime, as often as they'd like. Think of it as the eBay-ification of the space.

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. 

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