New York Times' Groupon Clone: More Caviar Than Bikini Wax
Like many of its newspaper brethren, the Times launched its own deals site in March, but as the service gets rolling, one thing is clear: the Grey Lady doesn't get the whole "deals" thing. While Groupon or LivingSocial have grown massive with offers such as $60 for sushi for four or $50 for 10 yoga classes, the Times has its sights set way, way up market. But, as the deals come online, I'm scratching my head if there's actually a market for deals that , well, aren't deals at all.
"TimesLimited is not being marketed as a 'deals' program," said a Times spokeswoman via email. "The focus is on curated (as opposed to high-volume) offers."
Regardless, it remains to be seen if there are enough caviar fanatics out there to keep this new digital revenue stream afloat. Of the deals mentioned above, none have sold out on the Limited website, except for one Thursday night for the seven-course dinner for two. The Times is not reporting any specific results. "However, I can tell you that we are pleased with the performance of our initial offers and the growing interest shown by advertisers," the spokeswoman said.
But alas, Gilt Groupe with it's new deals arm, Gilt City, has managed to find a market for this stuff. Two thousands-of -dollars offers sold out in record time. Someone spent $10,000 for a set visit and walk-on role in TV show "Entourage" the moment it hit the site. A $30,000 wedding package for Mario Batali restaurant Del Posto sold out too, with 75 members on the wait list.