Groupon made a big splash a couple of days ago by announcing the launch of Merchant Pages. Merchant Pages is an attempt by Groupon to leverage their daily deal ecosystem and channel local businesses into a local directory type site similar to Yelp. As it relates to the local search space, a new business listing on a brand like Groupon does have the potential to provide value to a businesses online search presence. Also, the listings look pretty nice and have a followed link to the business website.
If you are lucky enough to find your page, navigation is a bit opaque as deals are prioritized over business pages, then there is a link on the right side of the page to claim it. However, you should save yourself the hassle and just click on this link to get started. The first thing you need to do is fill in your business info:
After you submit the form with your business information you are prompted to select between a few businesses their system thinks may be yours.
Since the location I was testing wasn’t on the list I’m not sure what happens if you find your business. However, if you don’t find your business you are given an option to click through to another page. After you click through a message is displayed telling you that a Groupon representative will be in touch to help you create and claim your page.
Things Go South
The next morning I received a call from a very nice, if highly disinterested, Groupon sales representative. After going through the pitch for various advertising campaigns for ~20 minutes I reiterated that I was just looking to claim my free listing. The representative then told me that he was unable to help with that and he would transfer me to the proper party.
What actually ended up happening was me getting transferred to a call tree with no option remotely related to Merchant Pages. I selected the option for new merchants and explained my situation to the nice representative who picked up my call. She informed me she would transfer me to the proper party and sent me straight back to the call tree I came from.
Again, there were no options that were remotely related to Merchant Pages so I pressed the option for new merchants where I explained my situation to the rep who answered. He placed me on hold for a couple of minutes to investigate. When he returned he informed me that it’s a known issue that there is no proper selection on their call tree and that I wasn’t the only one effected by this. He took down my information and told me I would receive a call back from someone who could help me.
To recap, ~45 minutes later I was only slightly closer to creating or claiming my merchant page then I was the day before.
Three hours later I received a call from yet another Groupon agent who apologized for all the confusion and hassle around the Merchant Pages product. He let me know that a page didn’t exist for my business, but that he would have one created for me. He took down some information, including the business website, and told me he would email me when it was complete and then follow up with a call to go over some features of the product. I have not yet received either the email or call so I will update this post once that happens.
I would consider this a very rough launch for Groupon and wouldn’t invest anymore time in it right now. The process is not where it needs to be and there is no way that the return will make up for all the time you spend on it. Also, calling on behalf of a client would seem to further complicate this process as I was told they would only call you back on the number they use for the business. A complicated phone verification with significant time spent on up-sells is probably not something that your clients would appreciate. But hey, there is a follow link on the profile so if you’re into directory link building and other forms of masochism maybe this is for you.