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What’s this “fu” Is it obscene, or ingenious?

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What’s this “fu” Is it obscene, or ingenious?

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Okay, I know a lot of articles have been published about deal sites such as Groupon, Living Social and the many clones, including Google’s jump on the bandwagon and Facebook’s on then off the wagon daily deal program. But….

What’s this “fu” Is it obscene, or ingenious?

Okay, I know a lot of articles have been published about deal sites such as Groupon, Living Social and the many clones, including Google’s jump on the bandwagon and Facebook’s on then off the wagon daily deal program. But… there is one deal site that has fascinated me since I discovered them back in December 2010, and from the beginning I’ve wondered how long it would take for them to become a household name.

Now, I’m a sucker for a good deal, that’s why I love deal sites, however I also understand that the good deal that I just received may not have been such a great deal for the merchant that is offering the deal. When merchants offer a $30.00 deal for $15.00, they usually also split that $15.00 with the daily deal site, so in reality they are giving away $30.00 in product or service for only $7.50 and this is not something that any merchant can do on a regular basis and continue to stay in business.

“So what”, you say! It’s the merchant’s decision and why should a consumer care? I do agree that merchants can advertise however they choose, local paper, radio, broadcast or daily deal site and in reality if you calculate the cost of newspaper, radio or TV advertising and then offer a discount on your product or service the actual cost is probably not much different than that $7.50 you just made on that daily deal offer….however, what if merchants were offered a better option, and what if it was free? Would merchants embrace this concept, or have they been trained to believe that you must pay for advertising or at least split revenue with a daily deal website?

Well the creators of http://www.freefu.com think that businesses will embrace the free concept and they have built their entire site around that concept. As Chris Llorca, Co-founder and Vice President puts it, “why spend money on advertising, or split revenue with a daily deal site when you can do it for free” and I agree with this concept, however there is another piece of the puzzle that really has me intrigued and it involves the hands on approach and tools given to businesses that use freefu.com. As Mr. Llorca explained to me, “Every business gets full control of their advertising on freefu.com, a business can put up, take down or edit an offer in real time whenever they choose and they never have to contact us, unless they want to chat. Our stance is this, if you run an ad in your local newspaper, you must contact a sales rep to place that ad, and you certainly can’t get that ad in the paper today, most likely it won’t make it tomorrow so the earliest is at minimum three days after you decided to run a special.” I’ve also done a little research and I agree with Mr. Llorca’s assessment, there are few options for a business that wants to advertise right now, today! Even with a daily deal site, there may be a wait of up to 60 days before your deal can be featured.

What makes freefu.com unique and why would consumers even care to visit the site? For one, offers (deals) on freefu.com are just as the name states, [ free-for-you ] and the staff at freefu.com does a good job at vetting offers that are posted to ensure that the deals are easy-to-use, and do not contain multiple steps in order to obtain a free offer. For example, right now there is a free cheese quesadilla at Denny’s on the site, and to get the coupon all you need to do is click one button and a printable coupon will appear. It couldn’t be any easier and as the site grows in popularity more and more local businesses will be posting their free offers, so you will want to bookmark this site and check back often.

Grab the bull and ride it to your own destiny. This is an open invitation to all business owners and managers. Why wait for someone else to place your ad, do it yourself and do it now! You may be able to drive in new customer traffic today, while your competition waits for their advertising sales rep to call them back. I’ve also noted that the staff at freefu.com is very good at promoting deals on social media such at Twitter and Facebook and they even manage multiple Twitter accounts around the country to help drive local consumers to local deals.

Let’s do some math – freefu.com vs. daily deal sites vs. local newspaper.

On freefu.com, you can place your ad for free, freefu.com will promote your ad for free via social media and you have full control to add, edit or remove offers in real-time at anytime. Consumers get great free offers for free and there are no fees or memberships required to access and use these great deals.

Daily deal sites require that you offer a product or service at a steeply discounted price and then you also must agree to share the revenue with the deal site, usually about half. In most cases you will not get your deal featured for at least 30 to 60 days and you don’t have control as to when it will run. Consumers must spend money upfront to get the deal, and on some sites they are required to wait until enough people purchase the deal to make it a valid deal. In some circumstances, not enough people are interested in the deal and it doesn’t activate, so that awesome fishing trip that you wanted to take for 70% off is now not going to happen. Call your best friend and tell him sorry. Maybe you can go bowling instead.

Local newspapers are great because they feature local, relevant content that people want to read so advertisers that run in their local newspapers usually get a decent response to their ads. With that said, there are a few issues that need to be mentioned. First of all is the general health of the newspaper industry. How many of your friends and neighbors actually still get a newspaper? I’m sure there are less today than just five years ago. Many have migrated to the online world for their news, so that ad you just placed in the paper has fewer eyes on it today. Second, newspapers are not real-time, with breaking news stories being at least a few hours old and in most cases the stories are a least a few days old because of the printing deadlines that are in place, and this certainly pertains to advertising as well. If you call a newspaper on Monday morning to run a great special offer, you probably can’t get it in the paper until at least Thursday of that week. Then there is the cost, newspaper advertising is expensive, so I certainly hope that your friends and neighbors pick up the paper and not the online edition (because unless you bought online advertising, your ad won’t be seen there). Oh, and did I mention the sales rep? Yes, they are working for commissions and should be motivated, however they also have multiple clients and sometimes it may be a day or two before they respond, so guess what - Thursday, just became Saturday. You better hope your competition didn’t place their ad on freefu.com, to them, “fu” is ingenious! And, did I mention free? So free that it’s obscene!

Earl George is an independent advertising analyst based in Florida.
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What’s this “fu”  Is it obscene, or ingenious?
 Okay, I know a lot of articles have been published about deal sites such as Groupon, Living Social and the many clones, including Google’s jump on the bandwagon and Facebook’s on then off the wagon daily deal program.  But….

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