Thursday, September 8, 2011

Daily deals deliver disinterest

This morning was not unusual in one way:  my email inbox greeted me at a very early hour (along with my beagle, Selby) with the standard fare of seven or eight deal offers.  80% off of this service in this place you never go!  50% off this thing you don’t want in a suburb you’ve vaguely heard of!  Two-for-one vacations to a place you have no interest in seeing!

This morning was unusual in how I responded (to the deal sites, not my dog – he still got his standard morning walk).  I would normally just mark them all “read” and move on to interesting things.  Today, I made the decision it was time to nuke them all.  I started to find the unsubscribe links and got off the roller coaster.

I’ve bought some great deals on these sites in the past, and I’ve unsubscribed from some who just ticked me off for unrelated reasons.  (Groupon – and your tasteless campaign of trivializing important causes for your own coy marketing – I’m looking at you).  I subscribed to deals from the Saint Paul Winter Carnival that, as it turns out, kept coming all summer and had nothing to do with Saint Paul, Winter, or Carnivals.  How many manicure offers for places 30 miles from me do I need before I realize these folks have lost any sense of personalization they may have claimed to have?  I’m guessing the answer was 8, but I lost count.

Daily deal sites have flooded into the market and I’m happy to consider a contender who actually wants to match me to deals that are relevant to things I need in my life.   I’d happily take a site that simply waved me on for the day if they didn’t have a deal that really and truly had interest for me.  “Nothing for you here today, so no email for you.  Move along, move along….”  Got two-for-one golf at a course I can actually play?  Let me know.  Two-for-one golf sixty miles away at championship courses is nothing of note for me.  Don’t bother me with extraneous stuff.  As it turns out, I can and eventually will unsubscribe.

My advice to the intermediaries who are running down all these deals:  do what the web does best and personalize the experience.  Let me select real areas of interest, real geographies that matter, and then let me opt out of the rest.  Until then, I’ll go back to only buying stuff I need rather than things which appear to have added value but I really can’t use.

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