How to launch a GroupOn clone: Groupy Deals

A few of us* founded Groupy Deals earlier this year, and we went live over Queens Birthday weekend. It’s going really well.

Check out the GroupyDeals business site as well.

*Groupy Deals was founded by Scott Kitney, along with Andrew Hunt, Fay French and myself.

Groupy Deals is following in the footsteps of Groupon – a US business that has managed to dominate the US market for daily service-oriented deals. They also managed to raise US$135m in 3rd round funding at a valuation of $1.35 billion – a feat which garnered a lot of global attention.

Alas we are not alone.

So it’s no surprise that we were not alone in our idea to copy Groupon. Our competitors include DailyDo – an Auckland based crowd, DailyOffer – another Auckland crowd, and APN/Bradley Media <edited – thanks Shane>  backed Groupdeal, which is yet to launch. We are quite disappointed with that last, err, group, as our business name of Groupy Deals Limited and our business site ( are very similar to their proposed trading name. It was close, but we were first, and we’ve asked them to change. <update2 – they have – thanks Shane and the team.>

Then there are the one day sale sites. First-in was the first one I found a while back, but check out TheSniff and LoveOneDaySales for the lengthy list of sites now.

We think we are going well. Since launching 2 weeks ago we have had some cool deals, and sold 190 coupons for services. The businesses love it as they get new customers to try their services, and customers love getting great deals – and trying those new services.

Our next step is to launch in Auckland and other cities. If you’d like to help, and you can sell, then please get in touch.

So what are the secrets of starting a GroupOn clone?

Well – you need great deals, a good number of fans that are looking for great deals, and a simple to use website.

We have great deals in Wellington, found by our own super sales person – Fay French. We integrate with Facebook well, have our own Facenook pages, such as WellingtonGroupy, ability to like a deal and good conversations. We have also given away a bunch of credit to people referring friends – payable when those friends also buy a deal.

Our website was build by Scott, who as part of the Trade Me dev team just gets this stuff. He’s also spent time at Cannla and Winnla, and gets how to develop for Facebook.

In the spirit of open competition, and fairness, here is the site along with some annotations. Please – if you are a competitor I am sure you can do it better your way. Really ;-)

Published by Lance Wiggs


25 replies on “How to launch a GroupOn clone: Groupy Deals”

  1. Just a note, finda has nothing to do with APN anymore, as finda is now part of the Yellow Pages Group – has been since Feb 2009.

    GroupDeals is a BradleyMedia thing ..


  2. Only a matter of time that the groupon clones would start to appear in NZ. Good to see a quality local version and looking forward to Groupy presence in Auckland. Part of the success of Groupon is the vetting and competition in choosing deals so will be interested to see if this can be replicated in the nz market given our size.

    …Just noticed some interesting copy on your “Jobs at Groupy Page” – “Who were loo(k)ing for” “Think up exciting business(es) to feature on Groupy” :P


  3. I’ve tried signing up to the site, but when I use my email address (which I’ve used here in this post), the site says “Invalid email”

    Any ideas?


  4. Let’s not forget Luke Howard-Willis has done a great job building it on the back of Torpedo7. He really get’s ecommerce, building the community at Torpedo7 with service second to none, great website, prices – they turned over $30m last year.


  5. Hi Lance

    What a good idea, I will def use as I do love a bargain .. a lot of the wgtn offers I would be very keen on if I was there – however all these sites (of which there are dozens now ) live and die on the availability of quality stuff , cheap – that is why 1 day reigns and the rest are rubbish, 9/10 times the others like deal a day have some magnetic strips that save you fuel (yeah right) or today’s, some sort of button you put on your belt (load of rubbish) where 1 day have things people actually want in today’s examples, branded clothing and shoes of good quality.

    Currently the Auckland page of this groupy site is a bit vapourware ish . So not sure I will come back unless I remember as i dont want to sign up as the site hasn’t earnt my loyalty yet as don’t offer anything – So perhaps better not to have one at all till you have a pipeline of offers – Also annoying is when you change your region to Auckland then click past deals, it reverts to Wgtn .

    Just my thoughts, if you can get the deals, will be a great asset to the NZ e-commerce scene and I will be a keen customer .



  6. I’m glad you guys are open about the fact that your business model is a clone of Groupon’s, and that you are not trying to pretend that you came up with the model on your own.

    Here is a very interesting blog post and video about how Groupon stumbled on their business model:

    Personally, I’m of the opinion that NZ entrepreneurs need to get out of the business model arbitrage game and start iterating and experimenting properly. That way, if you stumble on a business model like Groupon did, you can own the market before anyone else realises what’s going on.

    On the other hand, many NZ businesses have shown that immense value can be created by executing well on an existing business model, so what the hell do I know?


  7. Great idea. Hope it goers well.

    But please, “Groupy Deals was founded by …. me”. Not “myself”.


  8. Hello, can you tell me how you guys get merchants or what you guys do when trying to get them to try out your daily deal website. I haven’t found anything on the web about this and would like to learn more about this side of running a daily deal website. Thank you.


    1. Check out, which is our merchant site. The only proven way to get merchants is to walk in the door and sell to them, which means you need a professional sales team. It’s part of the high overhead of Groupon.


      1. Did you guys write up your own merchant agreement or is there somewhere online that has an outline for one? BTW hello from San Diego, Ca and thanks for replying.


        1. You’d be best to get a lawyer to write one with you. Copying merchant agreements is bad as they are under copyright and whoever you copied it from will jump. Besides – every jurisdiction is different.


        1. word of warning – I spoke with Paypal and if they find that you are aggregating they will close the account. They do not permit it.


  9. did you use a white label service or a Groupon clone script? I’m looking to start one here in Singapore and it’s tough deciding on a good platform! what would you recommend?


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