Why Groupon Isn’t in Australia

Nice blog post by Groupon … http://www.groupon.com/blog/cities/why-groupon-isnt-in-austr...


Since Groupon started in 2008, we’ve grown from one to thirty-seven countries. Australia, however, remains conspicuously absent from our lineup. Australian customers and press have been asking why we still haven’t formally launched – we’re very sorry for the delay and would like nothing more than to grow Groupon to Australia. I put this post together to shed some light on why it’s been such a challenge.

The worldwide proliferation of Groupon clones has been well documented (of course, none being more sinister than Nopuorg). One particular clone in Australia called Scoopon, created by the brothers Gabby and Hezi Leibovitch, has been making life difficult for us. Scoopon went a little further than just starting their Groupon clone – they actually purchased the Groupon.com.au domain name, took the company name Groupon Pty Limited, and tried to register the Groupon trademark (filing for the trademark just seven days before us) in Australia.

The way we see things, this is a classic case of domain squatting – an unfortunate reality of the Internet business. As Groupon became internationally known, opportunistic domain squatters around the world started to buy local Groupon domain names, thinking that we’d eventually be forced to buy them at an insane price. In fact, we tried to do just that, reluctantly offering Gabby and Hezi Leibovich about $286,000 for the Groupon.com.au domain and trademark—an offer they accepted. But now they’ve changed their minds, and we believe that they’ll only sell us the domain and trademark if we’re willing to buy the entire Scoopon business from them. Left with no other options, we’ve filed a lawsuit against Scoopon, claiming that their Groupon trademark was filed in bad faith (amongst other things).

Unfortunately, it could take a over a year to resolve our lawsuit. In the meantime, rather than continue to wait, we plan to grow in Australia under a tentative name, currently Stardeals.

If you’d like to see Groupon grow in Australia, show your support by joining the “Groupon in Australia” Facebook Group, and post a note for Hezi Leibovich, politely asking them to accept the $286,000 (which we are still willing to pay) so we can get on with business. Not a bad paycheck for simply registering a domain name and company name and applying to register another company’s trademark!

Apologies – we don’t like to bother our customers with these things, but felt you deserved to understand why it’s taking us so long in Australia.

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closed Comments

  •  

    $286k for just the domain name and trademark. Gee. Talking about domain name squatters… Although I think Scoopon is right that you can't really buy a domain name in Australia without also buying the business, but that does not make what they do "right".

  •  

    how much are they asking for their current list?

  •  

    I guess for a company that rejected a $6B bid from Google, that $286K is chump change.
    These COTD/Scoopon people are notorious for domain squatting.

    Check out
    http://woot.com.au
    http://dealextreme.com.au

    both redirect to COTD.

    •  

      domain squatting hmmmm very questionable practice.

  • +1 vote

    I think the only way to make them stop doing this is to stop buying from them. Stop supporting them even COTD. We are encouraging their behaviour. Regardless of the name Groupon i will still buy from stardeals given the deals are good. So please go ahead with your business regardless of the name

  •  

    1 year to sue???

    •  

      at least! they can take ages to even start court, let alone be resolved.

  •  

    encouraging for squatters

  •  

    It also got featured on TechCrunch. I was also reading the comments there and was surprised how many commenters there actually take side of Scoopon!

    •  

      Probably because they don't really know the full story. But yes, as feared it looks like some will see it as the "aussie battler vs global conglomerate" which would be a shame.

    •  

      scoopon=au, groupon=us… it would be unAustralian to not support scoopon to most ppl… most ppl don't know the detail of what happened anyway lol, give aussies a 'fair' go ROFLMAO

  • +4 votes

    Irrespective of the reality of the situation….I can almost hear the ACA and TT storyline…

    "next up….. the Aussie battlers finding great deals for Australians…. now they're being targeted by a large American corporation, muscling in on their patch and wanting a piece of the action…."

    "And later….Match Rage…..the hidden cost of price matching….."

    I suspect this will do scoopon no harm whatsoever, as the average Joe who uses them will not know, or care about domain squatting…..

  • +1 vote

    If you start a new online company, surely the VERY FIRST thing that you do is buy the domain names? Isn't that what they teach in "internet marketing 101"?????

    If you are prepared to pay $286,000 for one… sheesh, it's not like you don't have the cash!

    Anyway, you don't have the domain name to start… just add a sub-domain au.groupon.com and pass on the $286,000 that you saved to us poor bargain hunters.

    If the deals and offers are reasonable, people will come. Remember, whilst you guys might think it's "important", the name of your domain means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to Australians and has zero value.

    •  

      They have forsaken $6 BILLION from Google, so I guess they must have spare $286k around to offer to Scoopon.

      However it is not just about domain names. Scoopon also registered a company name (Groupon Pty Ltd) and trademarked Groupon. That means Groupon might not be able to operate in Australia and call themselves Groupon as it has already been trademarked. So they ended up having to come up a dodgy name "Star Deals".

    •  

      depends, word of mouth is HUGE when creating a business.

      •  

        Yeah, but having a business plan is also HUGE when creating a business.

        And one of the very first steps of that plan is to secure the markets that you are planning to expand into.

        If you were (say) making a new car brand, wouldn't you consider registering the brand (trademark) in the countries that you planned to export to?

        •  

          I think they started expanding overseas around August? The au domain name was registered by Scoopon in early-mid July… correct me if I'm wrong. I guess they never thought they would growth from 1 person to 'this' big in such a short time…

        • +2 votes

          True. I will say Groupon is quite short-sighted for not registering an Australian presence from early on. Stupid as some might call them. However it does not make Scoopon's action less "morally questionable".

        •  

          I prefer to give my money to commercially short-sighted business than a morally questionable one!

        •  

          what if a deal on a morally questionable business is way better than a short-sighted one on a particular day?

        •  

          I would probably make an exception … but i would have to be WAY better!

        •  

          who wouldn't! btw congrat on the iphone app I saw on some article… however I haven't tried it out as I don't have an iphone. (WHAT!? i hear u say…) but yeh I'll try it out on my gf's iphone tonight lol…!

      •  

        WHAT!? :-)

        Thanks felixco. It's pretty basic at the moment, but its a good start. Doesn't have all the side deals we have on the main site, but we'll get there soon.

  •  

    Good lesson for us. Good lesson for me if I start my own business.

    •  

      allthedeals.com is already squatted … although they were there before us so cant grumble

      •  

        r u saying u r a squatter? lol… maybe they'll offer u a lump sum… I see u drooling.

        •  

          $286,000 mmmmmm.

        •  

          sorry to break ur dream, but from the look at the status of their website now, it looks like u may be the one paying them that amount lol

  •  

    stupid question, but since scoopon already has a group buy, why doesnt scoopon just paste all their deals onto groupon.com.au and just run 2 sites concurrently? (living social is doing it since it runs the same stuff as jumponit) u wont be technically squating and u'll also have 2 sites at the same time.

    I dont see whats morally incorrect about buying a website name before someone else does, if scoopon could foresee groupons growth into australia before groupon themselves, good on scoopon. Fact is, just like in any investment, to be able to foresee the future correctly makes you money, its like buying a house u dont want to live in, but for the capital growth. U dont have to let anyone live in it. thats my view.

    • +2 votes

      It's a simple thing called Trademark infringement.

      Would you open a department store in Melbourne called Harrod's? Or a fast food chain called White Castle?

      The LivingSocial is a different case, as they invested in JumpOnIt

      • +2 votes

        Hey Zhenjie,

        I see you registered allthedeal.com.au !!

        Bit cheeky isn't it? Are you hoping for someone to mistype our URL?

        Perhaps we should register Buyiii.com.au :-)

        •  

          Looks like he pulled a COTD!

        • +2 votes

          LOL! Maybe someone should submit an entry to Urban Dictionary that "pulled a COTD" is a synonym to "domain squatting" :)

          On the other hand I found

          • ozbargains.com.au
          • ozbargan.com.au
          • ozbargin.com.au
          • ozbargins.com.au

          have all been squatted. Did someone else pull a COTD?!

        • +1 vote

          LOL, Zhen's already registered
          buyiii.com.au
          buyi.com.au
          buyii.com.au

          I suppose you could get
          buyiiii.com.au

  • +2 votes

    Groupon have filed suit against Scoopon/COTD. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110107/16290812576/how-tr...

  •  

    I have no doubt Groupon will win. All they have to do is prove within a reasonable doubt that the Groupon name is known to people in Australia.

  •  

    Update on Scoopon vs. Groupon: Clash of the coupons: Aussie brothers cash in again after blocking US giant Groupon

    Looks like Leibovich brothers have settled with Groupon outside the court, and have took the money for the domain it squatted on. WHOIS groupon.com.au shows that it is now owned by Groupon Inc in Chicago.