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292 - Groupon

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Grandes promoções todos os dias: jantares em restaurantes, viagens pela metade do preço, grandes ofertas à disposição, desde que se atinja um número mínimo de participantes. Esta é a febre do Groupon - e seus similares - prometendo tornar todos os sonhos de consumo possíveis. Aviso: provoca forte dependência!
by John Rigg.


Would you like two tickets to the theatre at {yootooltip title=[half-price]} half-price: metade do preço {/yootooltip}? Would you like a 60 per cent discount {yootooltip title=[at the hairdressers’]} at the hairdressers’: no cabeleireiro {/yootooltip}? If the answer is yes, then Groupon is for you. Groupon is the {yootooltip title=[ latest ]} latest: última {/yootooltip} Internet sensation. It offers members special {yootooltip title=[ deals ]} deals: ofertas, negócios {/yootooltip} with local shops and services every day. {yootooltip title=[ It doesn’t matter ]} It doesn’t matter: não importa {/yootooltip} where you are. Groupon is everywhere. It’s in major cities in the USA, Brazil, Asia, Russia, Australia and Europe. But {yootooltip title=[be careful]} be careful: tenha cuidado {/yootooltip}: Groupon is dangerous. American user Jonathan Yelp admits, “I’m addicted. I check the offers every morning!”

THAT NAME
What exactly is Groupon? The name explains everything. It is a combination of “group” and “coupon.”
Groupon sells coupons for local services and products at a discount. The discounts are usually at least 50 per cent. Incredible? Well, there are two conditions. First, a group (a minimum number) of people must buy the coupons on the same day. Second, you only have a few hours or days to use each coupon.

THE SYSTEM
{yootooltip title=[ How does it work? ]} How does it work?: como funciona? {/yootooltip} It’s free. First, you register. Then, every morning, you receive an email with the day’s {yootooltip title=[bargains]} bargains: ofertas {/yootooltip}. You see an offer for dinner at a restaurant. You buy a coupon with a 60 per cent discount. So you are happy. Half the money goes to Groupon, the other half goes to the restaurant. The restaurant loses money on the deal. So why do companies agree? Groupon offers free instant publicity. It is so successful it can cause problems. An American Air Club offered discounted helicopter flying lessons. Groupon sold 2,500 coupons in three hours. The club only had one helicopter. The offer was {yootooltip title=[ quickly ]} quickly: rapidamente {/yootooltip} suspended. Today Groupon limits the number of coupons for each offer.

BIG MONEY
How successful is Groupon? It has 51 million {yootooltip title=[ subscribers ]} subscribers: assinantes {/yootooltip} and {yootooltip title=[ revenue ]} revenue: a receita, renda {/yootooltip} was €530 million in 2010. That is a spectacular success. Compare two of the Internet’s most famous sites, YouTube and Twitter: they have existed longer, but don’t make a {yootooltip title=[ profit ]} profit: lucro {/yootooltip} today. Google makes enormous profits from advertising, but it cannot create instant results like Groupon. Last year Google tried to buy Groupon for €6 billion: Groupon said, “No, thank you!”

THE FOUNDER
Groupon was the idea of Andrew Mason from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA). He launched The Point in 2007. It was a platform for activists and campaigners. The site became famous for its crazy campaigns. For example, 1,000 people promised to donate over $1 million to fight the African AIDS epidemic. There was one condition: the {yootooltip title=[ retirement ]} retirement: aposentadoria {/yootooltip} of U2 pop star Bono from public life! Mason’s website permitted anyone to run a campaign. There was no control over the subject. Campaigners only needed a certain number of followers – a group. Mason had a brilliant idea: use The Point’s platform to “campaign” for discounts.

THE FUTURE
Groupon has a {yootooltip title=[weakness]} weakness: ponto fraco {/yootooltip}: anyone can copy the idea. Two serious competitors are arriving: Facebook Deals and Google Offers. Groupon intends {yootooltip title=[to stay ahead]} to stay ahead: manter a dianteira {/yootooltip}. It has just launched a smartphone application, Groupon Now. The application recognises the customer’s present location. It lists local offers. The customer chooses and pays. Then the coupon appears on the screen of the smartphone.

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Answer these questions after reading Groupon.

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