Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Sept. 23 launched Bing Deals, a Website that aggregates more than 200,000 of the best deals from local deals providers Groupon and LivingSocial, as well as offers from retailers such as Nordstrom and Target.
The market for daily deals, in which companies solicit retailers, restaurants and other businesses to offer special offers of 50 percent off or more to consumers, has run afoul of investors and analysts of late even as dozens seem to join the growing pack.
Some of this is due to the hype over Groupon, which has been gearing up for an initial public offering (IPO), and is the leader of the group, along with LivingSocial. Yahoo offers locally focused deals. Facebook tried its hand at it before pivoting to other local interests. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Offers has launched in over three dozen cities in the United States.
So what does Microsoft do? The smarter thing, at least by its own reckoning. The company wants to tap into the daily deals craze without explicitly being one of the 300 deals providers of record, using its search engine to host an aggregate of daily deals from major authorities in the cramped class.
Citing comScore stats that the deals audience grew by 24 percent in the past year, Microsoft said Bing Deals is geared to provide more targeted deals toward users, helping them ward off some of the "deal fatigue" that has set in from too many irrelevant deals emails users of Groupon and LivingSocial receive.
"People are telling us if they can end the unwelcome egg hunt, they would welcome the savings," noted Bing team member Lisa Gurry. "When asked, 87 percent of people said they would increase their use of daily deals if they could find only deals that interest them all in one place."
"Instead of building another program, we're harnessing deals from major providers and retailers, including Groupon, LivingSocial, Nordstrom, Target and many others, to help you cut through the clutter and find the best deals in one central location. Now you have a place to browse, find and purchase."
Microsoft is hardly blazing a new trail here. Bing Deals enters a market of aggregation rivals that includes Yipit, Savings.com and even carrier T-Mobile, which launched a mobile deals app called More For Me. How does the company believe it adds value with Bing Deals?
Gurry said Bing Deals filters by retailer, location, keywords or by category such as restaurants, spa services, arts & entertainment, and nightlife offers to prevent deal fatigue.
A top-deals-of-the-day button is another option to draw interest, allowing users to see the best offers from their city or town with one click. Bing Deals savings range from 30 percent to 50 percent off.
Gurry promised more "money-saving features" and deals will roll out over the coming weeks.
Can't wait to see how Bing gives Google Offers a run for its money. Of course, more users need to start using Bing for Bing Deals to gain the kind of traction Microsoft hopes it does. Bing has around 14 percent market share, compared to Google's own 65 percent U.S. plot.
Bing already offers deals via its mobile search engine at m.bing.com. Desktop users may also access these deals from the search engine's homepage, bing.com, where applicable deals appear via a green Deals icon alongside a particular local business
So why did Bing choose to add an aggregator? It could be insurance given that its own deals are supplied by The Dealmap, which Google acquired this past summer.
Search Engine Land suggested Bing had to turn elsewhere for deals. However, Microsoft told eWEEK its deal with The Dealmap was a multi-year agreement and is still very much in play, so Bing still surfaces deals from that Google-owned property.
To wit, Search Engine Land also suggested Google may follow Bing to aggregate deals from others.