Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

In 25-City Expansion, LivingSocial Tries to Play Catch-Up With Groupon

Trying to keep up with the lightning-fast expansion of social buying leader Groupon, LivingSocial announced today that it has launched in 25 new cities in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

It is now in 89 cities, compared with 230 where the heavily funded Groupon is doing business.

The Washington, D.C.-based LivingSocial also recently raised another round of venture funding, bringing its total to $50 million.

What does LivingSocial and Groupon, as well as a growing list of rival clones, do for all that investment?

In general, most offer a daily deal with a huge discount on a wide range of products and services–from spas to skydiving–in dozens of U.S. cities, for large groups of potential buyers on the Web, through email, mobile apps or via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Using social tools, the idea is to use collective buying power to get low prices and push customers to local businesses.

If a deal reaches the number of buyers it needs, which can be in the thousands, these services sell vouchers to the consumers and collect a hefty fee for the sale from the businesses it sends customers to.

The plus for many small businesses is to get a crack at a lot of new consumers–think of it as social networking lead generation.

Here is the official press release from LivingSocial on its market expansion:

LivingSocial Continues Rapid Expansion, Launching 25 New Markets Across the US, Canada and UK

With its second major multiple-city launch in 2010, LivingSocial now operates in 89 markets.

Washington D.C., September 16, 2010–Leading social shopping site LivingSocial, today illustrated rapid expansion by announcing that its Daily Deals program is now live in 25 additional markets across the US, Canada and the UK. Since July, LivingSocial has launched, on average, one market per day, and now reaches a total of 89 markets and more than 85 million people globally.

Launching today:

· United States: Albuquerque, Charleston, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Dayton, El Paso, Fresno, Grand Rapids, Greenville, Honolulu, Hudson County, Milwaukee, North Jersey, Salt Lake City, Savannah, Tucson, Virginia Beach, Westside/South Bay (Los Angeles County) and Wilmington

· Canada: Calgary, Edmonton and Mississauga

· United Kingdom: Glasgow and Leeds

“We’re finally in Hawaii! We love launching in great new markets–places we all enjoy visiting and taking in the local culture. We’re really excited to work with merchants in all of these new markets to offer residents and visitors a chance to try out restaurants, shops, services, and attractions at amazing prices,” said Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial. “We’re growing fast, but our Deal experience will remain the same–top quality merchants, significant savings, and customized and tailored deals.”

LivingSocial is the premiere social shopping site that lets anyone find shops, restaurants, activities and services popular in their area. The company has dedicated area experts on the ground in every market, constantly researching the best in local attractions to bring a savings of up to 90% to consumers.

Cashing in on LivingSocial Deals is easy: the site offers a new promotion every morning, announced via its website, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, iPhone or Android app. Live for 24 hours, the Deal is available to anyone who clicks on it. Additionally, LivingSocial’s unique referral model gives users their Deal for free if they refer three friends who also participate. With an extensive user base, LivingSocial is able to provide local merchants with the unprecedented ability to reach both local customers and a worldwide audience.

For a full list of markets or to sign up your city, go to http://livingsocial.com.

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