Author: Bell, Adam
Date published: May 5, 2011
Oy, have we got a deal for you!
The Jewish Exponent's latest service for readers is designed to save people money on an array of items and services. It's the website www.Oy Whata Deal.com, which the paper has recently joined up with and started linking to on its home page at: www.jewishexponent.com.
The program is similar to Groupon, LivingSocial and other sites offering participants discount coupon's on local goods and services.
Here's how it works:
Readers sign up by providing their email address to Oy What aDeal.com. Each day, they will get an email spelling out the deal of the day.
If they are interested in that particular offer, they have to purchase the deal with their credit card and then print out the coupon. If not, they can just ignore it and wait for a new deal to appear the next day
Recent deals have included half-off of Jewish merchandise at allthingsjewish.com, 60 percent off of a photo blanket at fotosbydesign.com and 86 percent off of certain dental work at the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence.
OyWhataDeal.com is part of DBG Networks LLC in Northbrook, 111. The program started in Detroit last year as an alternative to Groupon and the like.
DBG decided to concentrate on a Jewish authence because "we felt it was a good demographic. This industry has a lot of players right now, and we wanted to establish our niche," said DBG owner Brian Giles, noting that "there's a lot of buying power" in the Jewish community.
In addition to Detroit, the company also is operating in the Milwaukee area.
Giles runs the company with his partner, David Bookstaff of Madison, Wis. Bookstaff is originally from Milwaukee. Giles, who lives in Chicago, is from the Detroit area.
Giles said he's been around Jewish causes and philanthropy all of his life, an interest that stemmed from his father, Conrad Giles, who has long been involved in Jewish causes nationally and internationally.
Giles said his father was the last president of the Council of Jewish Federations before its late 1990s merger with other Jewish groups in what is now the Jewish Federations of North America.
In Philadelphia, Oy WhataDeaL corn's main approach has been working with Exponent advertisers when determining the daily specials. The service began in early April, but starting this month, the emails go out daily.
Readers typically have a 24hour window if they want to accept the deal.
"We've gotten a lot of good feedback," Giles said of the initial reaction. "People like the fact that there is a site targeted to the Philadelphia Jewish population. We've been pleased with that."
And unlike Groupon, which insists that a certain number of people sign up for a coupon before it becomes active, there is no threshold that needs to be met for OyWhataDeal before its offers may be used.
INCREASINGLY LUCRATIVE FIELD
The company has joined what has become an increasingly lucrative field: Groupon launched in late 2008 and was estimated to be worth more than $1 billion after its first 16 months of operation, according to Forbes, which described Groupon as the fastestgrowing Internet company ever.
Late last year, Chicago-based Groupon brushed off a $6 billion acquisition bid from Google, and is now said to be considering its own initial public offering of stock. It's no wonder, then, that a number of newspaper chains have launched daily deals.
Consider this. According to a new survey for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, some 23 million Americans got a coupon from an online site in the past year. That's more people than live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware combined.
When asked about the origins of the site's name, Giles said that it simply came to him one day when he was talking about the concept with his partner.
"I didn't want to do anything that was too over the top," he said. "OyWhataDeal is catchy, playful and non-offensive."
Jewish Exponent Feature