Hearne: The Pitch’s ‘Big Deal’ Tanking; Are Daily Deals Drying Up?

Goes without saying, when even the Pitch and Star hop on the daily discount deals bandwagon the party’s about over….

With two fierce years and dozens of firms hawking half price email offerings, a thinning of the herd is in order. So how many different companies are out there attempting to con local businesses into giving their shit away at half price?

"I’ve been contacted by no less than 40 and I’ve used 10," says Stanford’s main man Craig Glazer. "And none of them got anywhere near the results I got with Living Social and Groupon. Our last round with Groupon was in May and we did around 1,000 deals when they had 450,000 people on their list. Now they say they have 680,000."

New owners of the Pitch are trying to cash in on the gold rush but with little apparent success.

I contacted a number of businesses that participated in the Pitch‘s The Big Deal.  Results; weak as a kitten. Its Big Deal Kansas City Facebook page has been frozen for weeks at 146 "likes."

Sweet Z’s Gym says it sold only two deals – two freaking deals on The Big Deal. Imo’s Pizza puts its magic number at between 50 and 100 for its $7.50 to get $15 deals. Clearly there’s not enough bang in those bucks to make it much worth anybody’s while. Thai Orchid says it capped its deal at 100.

That said, Sweet Z’s says it did quite a bit better with the Star‘s Deal Saver. Seven times better, which translates into a mere 14 deals sold. Fourteen measily deals.

That’s chump change compared with the 14,000-plus Groupons blanc burgers bottles unloaded earlier this year. Or the 747 Groupons jazz club Jardine’s unleashed in April. Or the more than 800 Groupons Taste in Overland Park has on the books at this writing with more than a day left to go on its deal.

Stanford’s tried the Pitch’s Big Deal with lackluster results.


"It was horrible," Glazer says. "I did it because I’m an advertiser but I’ll never do it again. It’s just such a small universe and they’re so many big players like Groupon and Living Social available. And what happens (on the Pitch) is you dillute your brand. People on Groupon are looking for deals. People on the Pitch are looking for free stuff, same as radio, so you’re denigrating your product."

The reason Glazer opted to try the Pitch in the first place?

"They kept harrassing me and I felt sort of sorry for them but their ad was really second rate," he says. "I just did it to get them off my back – they were calling me every week."

The bottom line: "I’m signing an exclusive with Groupon this week," Glazer says. "They’re worried about Facebook and Living Social stretches out your payments too long. Groupon gives me three times a year to do it and I can kinda pick the times."

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9 Responses to Hearne: The Pitch’s ‘Big Deal’ Tanking; Are Daily Deals Drying Up?

  1. bjayhawk says:

    This is not news
    The Journal ran a big article on the overcrowded field of deal companies earlier this week, so no doubt you are that well read and took the lead. Gee, no shit.

    I don’t get the Groupon infatuation — it is a business like any other, except you somehow think this is a grind against other publications. And quoting Glazer as a source is just plain bush league. My God — talk about conflict of interest. BUSH league again.

  2. Hearne says:

    Nice try but
    KCC readers know I’ve covered the daily deal scene in KC from the get go. Already beat the Journal, if you will, on too many dealer makers. Look it up, catch up.

    This was a zeroing in on how lame the local media have been in their efforts to get in the game.

    Bush league in all caps? Clever. You wouldn’t happen to be affiliated with the Pitch or Star would ya? Nah, of course not. Sorry I bRot it up. Oh yeah, missed. The WSJ story. Maybe they caught mine a month or three bAck

  3. Gerald Bostock says:

    Another EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Craig Glazer!!
    Doesn’t Nigro have an opinion on this? Snubbed!

  4. bschloz says:

    whats the big deal
    Hearne why would you say they. are tanking? If Thai Orch sold $1,000 worth of coupons …who got hurt? Pitch and Star can split that any way they want. Thats not bad business….I noticed Chellys had sold 250 coupons on Star DealSavers? They have to like that,no?
    Funny the Grouponee needs to do credit check of they’re daily dealer…heads up Glaze its a hot potato.

  5. Hearne Christopher says:

    Nigro isn’t running the top comedy club in town, nor has he dealt with all of the main players in this game. And don’t forget, G Man, that I spoke with a number of the other contestants who played the Pitch’s “Big Deal” game. All with mediocre to poor results.

  6. Hearne Christopher says:

    Good question and here are the answers…

    For starters it’s not about merely giving away your stuff for half price. They could stick a sign in the window and accomplish that. A big part of the game is reaching out to hundreds of thousands of Kansas Citians with your product and/or message. In other words it’s an advertising tool.

    With only 146 Facebook “likes” and selling as few as two deals, it’s clear that the Pitch is not reaching very many prospective customers with its Big Deal.

    If all you do is nail down 100 people and give away your product at half price, what is being accomplished? Very little to nothing. People are not in business to take a very inexpensive product and give it away for half price. There’s got to be a payoff.

    Many people in the comments section early on didn’t get Groupon. Thought it devalued the product or service being given away. And I tried to explain the benefits, real and potential to them by interviewing people who had tried it and found it to their liking.

    You may also have noticed that Groupon is starting to cherry pick and sign the better businesses up to exclusive deals. That’s what Stanford’s is poised to do. That will have the effect of freezing out Muncharoo, Living Social and others and force them to do ever more bottom feeding than they already are.

    Chelly’s may or may not be happy with that. A really small business probably doesn’t want 10,000 people rolling in wanting half off. On the other hand, if they can reach a huge market with their message but limit the deal to a manageable number, that’s a good thing.

    However at this stage of the game – outside of plugging the Deal Savers in the Star to its core of mostly older readers, chances are not many people are getting those emails with the sexy ad prose compared to Groupon or Living Social.

    Which companies will survive? We’ll see.

    But there has to be a payoff for the biz giving its stuff away. Reaching a half million plus people with your marketing message is a big part of it. Reaching a handful of thousand or far fewer is not.

    Make sense?

  7. bschloz says:

    Hearne I understand the allure to participate with Groupon / Living Social –yes its nice to have that kind of an impact to what I assume is a very substantial list. That still doesn’t take away what Star and Pitch are doing.

    I heard I guy on Bloomberg this week comment on how the Publishers are eager to jump on this platform…given they have tremendous economies of scale to make it happen. Saw the Star sold 415 $7.50 coupons to Hamburger Mary’$ …. I think they can find a way to make that work.

    Groupon is an interesting business story, I’m sure we’ll be talking about this company for years…not sure I would let them hold my money for over 10 minutes. http://tinyurl.com/3oczw8q

    Appreciate your coverage…and nice work at KCC

  8. Hearne Christopher says:

    Thanks, as always, for your input. And maybe in some ways it doesn’t take away.

    But it’s hard to imagine those ways. Not getting your ad message to more than a fraction of the people on Groupon or Living Social, then giving away the product on the cheap is not good biz. That’s what people said about Groupon early on – that businesses were merely devaluing their product.

    They ignored the reach of the message and other considerations.

    I argued that then. But when you get just two or 14 or 50 to 100 people, and you only reach like 146 people on Facebook (plus or minus an email list put together by hiring hotties to sign up drunk people at concerts and bars (rather than consumers looking to make shrewd buys), that’s not a very good thing.

    Which isn’t to say people cannot be sold on something which isn’t necessarily in their best interests.

    What was that expression? A sucker is born every minute.

  9. katie s. says:

    Er, I can’t figure out how to even get info about Big Deal on pitch.com, and this article is the first I’ve heard of it.

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