Groupon clone - which one to chose?

Anyone running such a site?
I am looking to build one and would want some feedback on which solution is best?
There are plugins out there and themes that try to emulate Groupon.

I am keen on any info you can give me :slight_smile:

  • Saunt Valerian
    • The Bug Hunter

    groupdealsplugin, the one that was being developed by one of the guys behind WP e-commerce seems to have slowed down almost to death. They haven't updated the blog since April 2011 and the Twitter feed is sparse. From the outside, it looks like it is not longer being developed, and hasn't seen any forward movement in about 8-10 months.

    I watched both plugins and action around them throughout the year to see which one was going to last and maintain its development cycle. Groupbuyingsite seems to have maintained a bit better and is a more mature plugin to begin with. This month (with my tax return) I managed to secure enough funds to buy a group buying plugin to set up a group buying site for my niche. Because of the better apparent support, continued development, and regular updates - it looks like Groupbuyingsite is the winner in this and will be the one that gets my money.

    Groupdealsplugin looked really good early on, but I think it just lost steam, perhaps because they just weren't getting the customers they needed to support the project.

  • Han
    • The Crimson Coder

    @Saunt Valerian & @Ovidiu,
    my project is on hold prior to launch because the owner was busy with his main job, and still struggling to get deals. I tested the old version of the plugin with less features. The code was well written, easy to understand, 100% open source, and I didn't found a single bug at all. The sell the plugin along with 2 themes, one thesis child theme. They use custom post type and custom taxonomy for deals and location, custom login and registration, many email newsletter options, payment gateway options. The system will charge the credit cards when the deal reach the tipping point (exactly like GroupOn). I did a lot of customization based on requests from client.
    The plugin today has more useful features, options and keep evolving. I can say that they did a fantastic job!
    Hope this short review helps you to decide :slight_smile:

  • Saunt Valerian
    • The Bug Hunter

    Yeah, it certainly does!

    I just got done browsing around the dashboard on the demo site. I have to say, that is some extremely high-quality software! It really feels like they've thought of everything, I was even impressed how they took advantage of the new features in WP 3.3 and filled those help panels with tons of useful information.

    I spent about an hour poking around with the demo, it is so incredibly powerful and full featured. I can't believe I even considered any other alternative software for my project!

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    ahm, I just saw a huge difference between these two:

    one goes for about 399$ (most expensive version) while the other one goes for 3999$!!!

    The expensive one has a cheap version for 399$ too but there they charge you 5% of your transactions!

    Any other feedback/opinions?

    btw. I can't figure out this demo: http://groupdealsplugin.com/demo/ I mean there is nothing there!? Is this the plugin that doesn't come recommended by you?

  • Saunt Valerian
    • The Bug Hunter

    I was able to get the demo loaded, I also found a live site built using that plugin at http://www.chippedn.com/

    I'm moving away from that plugin though. There hasn't been a blog new update from them since April 2011, and the Twitter stream is just as sparse. They also have a 7% or 5% fee for every transaction if you don't pay the Enterprise price of $4,000.

    They started talking about Version 1.1 last summer and it is still pending. I'm not saying the plugin is no good, it's being built by one of the team members that is responsible for the WP E-commerce plugin. I just think it has taken a back seat. The competing plugin just released a major update last month, and is regularly releasing add-ons for it (yeah, they cost extra money, but it illustrates a dedication to supporting and improving the plugin).

    I've got one project to finish up this week and then I'll be buying the GroupBuyingSite plugin and starting to work on getting a site put together around it.

  • Saunt Valerian
    • The Bug Hunter

    I just bought the groupbuyingsite.com plugin yesterday. They are currently running a 50% off campaign for a limited time, so I figured, now is a good time.

    Once I paid and got into the website, I was astonished at how mature and well-developed the product is and the support forum looks to be awesome. Sprout Venture is actively releasing regular updates to the plugin and theme, and actively supporting it in their forums. There are also a number of group buying sites I found (through the support forums) that are doing quite well. The documentation for the plugin includes over a dozen detailed tutorial videos and pages and pages of information.

    Even if I had paid full price for the plugin, the level of support, documentation and upgrade development available is astounding and would be worth the full price. I'm digging in and starting work on my project today and I couldn't be happier that I have this plugin and theme to do it with! The developer and his staff really seem to understand group buying (I wouldn't be surprised to find out that one of them worked for Groupon at one point) there is a lot of business-model type stuff built into the plugin that you wouldn't think about when planning something like this. They've certainly done their research and implemented feature sets extremely well.

  • Mark
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    I did a lot of research on this and decided not to use a plug-in. The ones you mentioned all have numerous issues and negative reviews. To be honest, I think the essential features of a Groupon clone are currently outside the realm of a WP plug-in. I went with a white label service, http://www.zuupy.com. I'm still in development but I can tell you the platform is great and the support is really top-notch.

  • honuware
    • Flash Drive

    It is pricey. The site was the same each time I went, but I did see some inconsistent information as well. For the price of one month you can buy a standalone groupon clone (non-WP) that is self hosted. I am looking at some now.

    http://grouponclone.contussupport.com/grouponclone-themes.php

    http://groupscript.net/

    http://uniprogy.com/

    Have you guys looked at the Templatic WP theme?

    http://templatic.com/news/dailydeal-wordpress-theme-improved/

  • Saunt Valerian
    • The Bug Hunter

    I've been working on my dev site using the groupbuyingsites plugin. I'm pretty happy with it. Not much there yet, haven't had time to work on it as much as I would like but I'm really impressed with the plugin and the basic premium theme they provide with it. The support is good, but I haven't been able to get a straight answer from them about how to answer PayPal's questions regarding my Adapative Payments Application. The help given around here for MarketPress back when we were all setting up our PayPal apps was very good. With GBS, I can't help but get the feeling that I'm on my own in getting the PayPal app setup.

    When I was still in pre-sales conversation with them, they did send me these links as showcase. Here's a few sites actively running the GBS plugin. Note that they are all three running the basic premium theme (with variations). I particularly like what Supertrendi.com did with it.

    Please be considerate when visiting the sites below, they are intended to showcase GBS's ability. The website owners have businesses to run and don't have the time for one on one conversations.
    http://DailySocials.com/deals
    http://Supertrendi.com
    http://Bargainbabee.com/deals

  • msaizan
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    hmmm...just want to mention that I am also developing a group buying site through groupbuyingsite.com and just updated to the latest version and i am now getting a message on every page of the site that the latest version of the plugin is NOT wpmu (multi-site) compatible. So it may be that a lot of my effort in developing my site with this plugin is down the tubes. I am going to bump support and get the scoop and I will report back in case any other multisite developers are thinking of using the plugin.

  • PC
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    @all : Thanks a lot for really nice inputs on this thread.

    Its been over 5 days since we have heard anything on this one. I am, for now, marking this as resolved.

    Should you need any further assistance on this one, Please feel free to mark this as not resolved while posting your question else we might miss it.

    Cheers
    PC

  • msaizan
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    oops - one more. Just a heads up...

    Caveat:

    The Group Buying Site plug in, mentioned here http://groupbuyingsite.com/ has been rendered incompatible with word press Multi-Site as of their most recent update. The way this program works is you purchase the theme and plugin and pay a monthly membership fee to receive support and updates. So In addition to the cost of the theme and the plugin, I have been paying membership fees for 8 months and was mid way in development when I learned that the problem I was having with the plugin was due to the fact that it is no longer compatible with my multi site installation. While I have already invested a good bit of money and time into site development site based on this plugin, I am just very grateful that I wasn't running an active full blown production site with deals in progress when the change was made.

    A customer service rep at the development company, Sprout Venture, has told me that they are working on a multi-site compatible version of the plugin - but there is NO anticipated deadline.

    Additionally, Sprout Venture has also changed their business and pricing model - the cost is considerably less now than what I paid for the program back in September 2011.

    And interestingly, there is nothing in the information at the website or in the documentation that clearly states that the pIugin is NOT multi site compatible - that's one of the reasons why I wanted to post this information here. In fact, their pricing tiers are for ingle site and "multi-sites" 5 or more sites - but as it turns out they don't mean WPMU they mean multiple sites hosted separately - so not only is there no warning but the terminology is somewhat misleading and confusing.

    I have asked for a full refund, since the plugin is not compatible with my multi-site installation - but I am receiving no responses to my emails.

    So there you have it. If you plan or need to run your site on a multi site installation - this plugin is not compatible with wpmu - or as we call it now, Wordpress Multisite.

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    @Ovidiu. I hope you've not spent money on anything yet. I've been using a WP Plugin that I bought last year and the developer has been really good about keeping it up to date with WP. His support is excellent, too. I've emailed support late on a Saturday evening and he will respond from his iPhone.

    The plugin is called WP CouponBlitz (http://wpcouponblitz.com/) - that's not an affiliate link BTW. Darren developed it for his gym and then offered it up in the Warrior Forum for a big discount. I think it's still available there for less than the $57 at the link above. I've done a lot of work in the CSS and changed the configuration considerably, but you can see it in action on http://snapupthedeals.com (that's a photography related deals website). It's on a single site WP install, but I've been working with this plugin in a multi-site test environment and it has worked flawlessly. I can't remember if you can activate it Network wide or if you have to activate it site-by-site - but if you decide to get it and want to know on a MultiSite environment, let me know.

    This past February, a plugin popped up in the WP Repository called WP Deals (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-deals/). I'm currently playing with it on a test site (http://520pxwordpressthemes.com/featured-deal/), but I've not really messed with it much. As you can tell from the site, I've not adjusted hardly anything with the CSS.

    Good luck on your quest to find something. I looked at everything that was out last year - and I mean EVERYTHING. The one I settled on (WP Coupon Blitz) was perfect for me because it didn't involve any recurring fees. My client liked all that.

    If you have any more questions, let me know. I've dug all through this concept and have already gotten a working website going. Now, the client has asked me to build more in other niches.

    James Dunn
    Athens, GA USA

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    @JamesDunn:

    Wp Deals sounded great but when I activated it and checked it out I realized there isn't a minimum number of items before a deal tips !? That is essential to what I am looking for...

    Let me explain a bit more in details what I am looking to do, maybe someone can help me sort this pout:

    Imagine something along the lines of groupon but specialized only on dinner offers (as in group dinners) so basically I wish to post a deal for a specific data/location and specify a minimum and a maximum number of available seats. only if the min. # is reached are people who bought actually billed and as soon as the max. # is reached the deal closes.

    Any recommendations for this functionality?

    The fundraising plugin could be used for this except that everything in that plugin seems to be geared at % instead of numbers (i.e. I need a min and max number of buyers not a % of a fund) and people can pay more which I don't need, only a fixed price.

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    Hey Ovidiu.

    If you want "Tipping" then WPCouponBlitz can do that. I'm actually in the process of eliminating that from use with WPCouponBlitz because my client (and his vendors) want immediate tipping - i.e. one sale and the deal is active. But, I can see why you would want it for your business model.

    If you want, I can set you up a sandbox site that you can play around with WPCouponBlitz but I think Darren gives a 30 day or 60 day money back guarantee - but I'm not sure about that. If you want a sandbox to play in for a while, just let me know and I'll set it up for you.

    JDD

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    If you could give me access to a sandbox that would be awesome! I'd prefer this to buying the plugin, experimenting and then having to use the money back guarantee just to test it...
    please email me the details at ovidiu at pacura dot ru
    no rush though, whenever you get around to do this that would be great!

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    Hey Ovidiu.

    I just set you up a Sandbox and sent your login credentials via the email system. Let me know if you have any questions. BTW, when you login, it will not look at all like the WP Dashboard you are accustomed to - but it operates the same. I just like a little cleaner interface and use several plugins to accomplish it.

    Talk to you soon.

    JDD

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    Thanks for the access, I think I am mostly done.

    Btw. for all others, I think this is important to know about wpcouponblitz:

    Important Note: Plugin supports ONE deal per page. Embedding more than one deal on a single page may result in strange behaviour.

    I won't be picking this one since it seems a bit "simplistic" for what I need. I didn't see any way to show related deals, let users check out the older deals and it seems you insert a short code to display either a specific deal or the latest one.
    There doesn't seem to be a deal archive page or anything similar...

    Anyway, I'm not bashing this software just stating what I was looking for.

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    guys, can some of you with some experience with groupon clones have a look at this thread too? I tried to describe what I am trying to do and figured out I need a mix of groupon/kickstarter/events/fundraising :slight_smile:
    => https://premium.wpmudev.org/forums/topic/can-fundraising-to-this

    Just want to keep this thread all about Groupon clones to serve as info for others therefore I opened that new thread to ask the other questions.

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    I haven't used it, but I'll tell you the positives that I see over anything else that I've reviewed.

    1) There is a screen where people can submit deals for review and publishing. That's huge because none of the others I've reviewed had it at the time I reviewed them - they may now, but didn't when I reviewed. If you are busy putting in deals yourself, then that just eats into your time and profit potential

    2) The affiliate system on this seems to be very nice. None of the others I reviewed had an affiliate system that was easy to administer.

    3) I liked the multiple payment gateways. That's a real extra added benefit if you are concerned about getting your money out of your PayPal account. Plus, some of the other gateways may be more cost effective for the types of deals you'll be offering - it would pay to calculate that out.

    4) You can set up a test site and check it out fully before you purchase this. Even though the developer license is $179, you can be sure before you by that this will do everything that you want it to.

    Questions I would have:

    1) Is it multi-site capable? This may not be important initially, but it may become important in the future. Never hurts to ask and if enough ask, they just might work on it if it's not.

    2) Can it handle PayPal Adaptive Payments? While this may not be important to you specifically, I would still ask the question. The answer could help you understand the sophistication of the developer(s). If you get a "PayPal what?" type of response, then you know they're not sophisticated in their payment gateways.

    Good luck if you decide to use this and report back on this thread so we can hear what you've accomplished with it.

    James Dunn
    Athens, GA USA

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    Goodday Ovidiu.

    Somehow I wasn't subscribed to this topic so I wasn't getting emails on it. If the post hadn't come through tonight so it bumped to the top I would have missed it. Anyway, you stated:

    Important Note: Plugin supports ONE deal per page. Embedding more than one deal on a single page may result in strange behaviour.

    I quickly found a way around this - actually multiple ways around it and one that my clients really liked well for their application.

    You are correct, it is a very simplistic deals plugin - it was designed to be so. However, as I've continued to gut it more and more, I'm using less and less of it. In fact, as we bring out Version 2.0 of my client's website, we may not even be using ANY of it. I'm working on the PayPal Adaptive Payments module for his deals site and as I'm doing that I'm learning some neat things that I can do to make the whole thing work smoother.

    Let me know when/if you are finished with the site access and I'll pull all the stuff off and test some other stuff there.

    Talk to you soon.

    James Dunn
    Athens, GA USA

  • msaizan
    • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    In my research for the best group buying deal solution I keep running across this Templatic theme and I have only heard positive feedback.about it. So I am interested in what you find out too @honuware. I am in the process of building out a flash sales/private sales/group buying site. After complaining here about Groupbuyingsite.com plugin and theme + plugin not being multi site compatible I decided to go ahead and stay with it and set up a single site install - pain in the ya ya but there are limited wordpress options out there for what I am trying to do - and GBS seems to be the most extensive and developed of all the options. It's a good program, just not happy that I have to break off my multi-site install for this one component...

  • Ovidiu
    • Code Wrangler

    @JamesDunn: I am long done with the test access you gave me, I think I said so a while ago :slight_smile:
    Thanks again for providing it.

    I am currently busy 24/24 with another project so this groupon question has been put on hold for the time being.

    I must say though that this thread is the most informative thread I have seen so far on this subject. I guess if it continues to grow, the best solution would be to create a nice comparison matrix for further references :slight_smile:

    Please do continue to keep it updated as I will revert back to it as soon as I have some free time.

  • James Dunn
    • The Crimson Coder

    Goodday Ovidiu.

    You had posted:

    Thanks for the access, I think I am mostly done.

    I wasn't 100% clear that you were 100% done, so I wanted to make sure before I cleared it out. Thanks for clarifying.

    Hope it was helpful to you to be able to play around with it.

    JDD

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