Groupon vs Local Papers: Sometimes Control Is Good

I had another blog scheduled today (which has been pushed off tomorrow) detailing Wednesdays Virgin launch party and the hot * cold lead-up and meeting Richard Branson. If you want some re-caps in the mean time check out the fantastic post by April Dunford of Rocket Watcher . Erin Bury has also posted a great recap. In the mean time here is my picture with Richard Branson.

On my coffee Break I saw that Groupon are now about to give exclusive deals through local newspapers. This is fantastic news for Groupon. Even if there is a revenue share paper media have shot themselves in the foot once again.

For all of the engage, converse and form relationships talk we hear through social media there is still a fundamental need to control relationships. Facebook make it difficult to export your data, forcing developers to work with them. Twitter have moved from a mostly open ecosystem to something far more closed, plugging the holes as they go. These companies are not evil; they realize that a direct relationship with customers is not everything. A direct relationship with suppliers (in this case, developers) is just as important to continue creating and delivering a quality product.

There is no question that most newspapers are not as profitable as they once were and are losing circulation. Instead of leverage their relationships with suppliers (advertisers) newspapers continued to fight on a front they could not win (yet all along, quality, accessible content will still get readers).

When I read that Local Newspapers are now publishing Groupon deals all I can think is: “Newspapers need advertisers. They are struggling to find advertisers, typically small businesses. Now they are letting Groupon control and maintain those relationships too. Whoops”

This relationship may have started symbiotic but I wonder how it will end.