Repeat of LivingSocial’s First Offer Two Years Later Tells the Tale of Daily Deals

The first deal LivingSocial ever sold was on July 27, 2009, exactly two years ago today.

In case you missed it, it was for Washington, D.C.’s Zengo, an establishment known for blending Latin cuisine and sushi, which washes down nicely with some “crazy-cool cocktails.” Fifty-four $50 vouchers were sold for half off each.

Since then, the four-year-old company has established itself as the second-largest daily deals provider in the U.S., behind Groupon.

It has raised more than $600 million to date and is partially backed by Amazon.com.

It has more than 40 million subscribers in 21 countries and is live in 487 markets.

That’s in contrast to Groupon, which has at least 83.1 million subscribers in 43 countries.

As one measure of the company’s growth, last week it offered the same deal at Zengo for a second time. Nearly two years later, the same deal, again offering a $50 coupon for $25, sold 6,160 vouchers.

This deal provides a quick snapshot of both LivingSocial’s astronomical growth, and more generally, the awareness of the daily deals space.

The next big milestone will be Groupon’s three-year anniversary of its first deal. On Oct. 22, 2008, it sold two pizzas for the price of one in Chicago. Twenty people bought the deal.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work