By some counts there are dozens of daily deals services in existence — “hundreds” in China alone, according to Groupon CEO Andrew Mason. All are hoping to get a piece of the exploding market for limited-time, group-purchased coupons. The New York Times is ready to join the fray.
The news giant is rolling out TimesLimited, an emailed deals service. Don’t expect the Grey Lady to fight with Groupon for the right to promote 60 percent off leg-waxing, though. TimesLimited takes a high-brow approach. It will focus on high-end goods. The promotion page makes this pretty clear with photos of yachting, fashion and an expensive-looking lamb chop. The idea is that the Times brand will curate the offers in a way that lends added credibility.
This makes perfect sense. The NYT has good penetration already with top travel and fashion brands. Adding in high-end eateries shouldn’t be a stretch. That could provide a twist on what could be yet-another Groupon knockoff. In fact, the service is closer to that offered by Gilt Groupe in its pricey focus.
The Times states each deal will have limits on quantity and time to act, both standard features of deals services. The Times isn’t a complete stranger to the deal space. It already has e-mail deals newsletters in travel (Great Getaways) and fashion (The Sohpisticated Shopper), although those are more traditional advertiser emails without the group-buying dynamic.
The deals category shows little signs of slowing down. LivingSocial, Groupon’s largest competitor, made waves today with an offer from Fandango
for two movie tickets for $9. Nearly 250,000 were purchased by noon.