Google’s eminent Groupon purchase another step toward ‘online dominance’


University of Kentucky student Shannon Frazer, pictured in the Kernel office on 10/14/09. Photo by Ed Matthews

Column by Shannon Frazer. E-mail [email protected].

Cyber Monday 2010 has already passed, but a familiar search engine’s eminent acquisition deal soon may give shoppers more reason to visit its website for holiday deals.

Some might remember my Sept. 12 column about the growing preference for Internet coupons. Per the sources cited in that article, more people now prefer to get their discounts online.

Google has taken note of this trend and has plans to expand in the way of online discounts.

According to a Dec. 1 article in the Los Angeles Times, Google is in talks with Groupon, “the fast-growing company that is blitzing the Internet with daily coupon deals,” about purchasing it for $5 billion.

If all goes as planned, Google’s acquisition of the Groupon site would make it a legitimate candidate for the online dominance title.

By comparison, currently Facebook has the option to click on sidebar ads, which then directs users to the respective retailers’ and businesses’ websites to get online coupons and discounts. Numerous other aggregate sites provide users with online discounts, as well, but the potential $5 billion deal is huge.

A Nov. 30 New York Times article reported that Yahoo was also interested in buying Groupon, but Groupon’s founders said Yahoo’s $2 billion offer was “too low.” The article said, “Groupon’s management was also concerned that Yahoo’s business prospects might ultimately hurt the company, and that a stronger buyer like Google would give it a competitive edge against potential rivals like Facebook.”

Groupon is an “already profitable company,” according to the Los Angeles Times, and “has more than 33 million subscribers, making it one of the fastest-growing companies in history.”

Google’s other recent purchases include DoubleClick in 2007 for $3.1 billion and $1.65 billion for YouTube in 2006.

This move is smart on Google’s part. Considering the competitive trend across web giants to incorporate more interactive features and have a stake in social media, this business purchase would up Google’s ante.

The Los Angeles Times article said, “Despite Google’s success in selling text ads that accompany search results, it has missed out on online coupons that are influencing how people spend money offline.”

Well, Google, here’s your chance.

By next December, online shoppers could be Googling their holiday wish lists, discounts and all.