WhitePages.com Combines Daily Deals With Search

And here’s yet another entry to the expanding roster of daily deals providers. WhitePages.com is looking to attract local businesses that want to do e-commerce nationally via its young “DealPop” platform.

Dubbed “DealPop USA,” the telephone directory company has signed long-established-but-small marketers like Boston Tea Company, Vermont Sugar & Maple Spice, and the Hawaii-based Lion Coffee. WhitePages’ announcement comes on the heels of DealPop’s launch roughly three months ago as a local advertising product in San Francisco, Seattle, and Los Angeles.

“What we found in those local markets was that [the platform’s] best customers were coming from our website [rather than e-mail or social media],” said Kevin Nakao, COO of the Seattle-based WhitePages. “Local is a super long tail… We wanted to take things to a national level. We wanted to create critical mass, so we could do really good contextual integration.”

The company aims to distinguish itself from Groupon, LivingSocial, and other daily deal competitors by adding search to the mix, providing supplemental distribution for marketer offers. For instance, 50 percent off discounts from Boston Tea Company, Lion Coffee, and Vermont Sugar & Maple Spice could appear on WhitePages.com on the same day via masthead banners targeted to relevant search terms. “Tea,” “coffee,” and “maple syrup” are obvious possibilities.

According to Nakao, WhitePages and sister site 411.com together reach 20 million unique visitors a month. “And people search for everything from restaurants to coffee to dentists,” he said.

The COO said national advertiser offers will also appear in daily e-mails sent out by WhitePages. “Half of our sales from the local offers have up to this point come via e-mail,” he said.

If for no other reason, “DealPop USA” is an intriguing development in the group-buying niche because of its focus on e-commerce clients. By contrast, many Groupon marketers have focused on driving offline foot traffic in hopes that a voucher buyer will spend more once inside their local stores. According to at least one study, roughly one-third of Groupon marketers say the platform is unprofitable.

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