Amazon’s Daily Deals Is Yet Another Flirtation With Local

by Chris Silver Smith

It’s almost, but not quite, shocking to me that Amazon has launched another experiment into local business marketing with the Amazon Local daily deals service. I just got an email promotion for Dallas-Fort Worth area from them this morning:

AmazonLocal Deals

Amazon apparently uses LivingSocial, with which they are an investment partner, to power this service, and it launched a short while ago in June.

There are lots of companies hopping on the daily deals bandwagon, and this has been described as one of many “Groupon killer” competing services out there.

What’s almost shocking to me about it is that Amazon launched an online yellow pages directory some years ago with A9, back in 2005. The product was innovative (the first business directory to provide “Street View” pictures of businesses, perhaps), and those of us at Superpages watched the development with some apprehension. But, they did a very crappy job at SEO (their innovative geotargeting of the directory links for users’ locations really screwed up crawling and indexing by Google), and the whole thing fizzled out very quickly in a year or two. So, Amazon wants back into local, now?

To me, each of these local daily deals efforts make a bit more sense when they’re paired up with online directories. So, it makes a ton of sense for IYPs to deploy daily deals, such as what Yellowbook did with Weforia, and AT&T’s did with its Deal of the Day service. The daily deals pages could really bolster rankings of online directory pages, and a yellow pages sales force can effectively sell such a product, which is so very similar to other products offered by YP companies. Daily deals are a no-brainer product for yellow pages, particularly online yellow pages (making it really very strange that has been apparently leaving money on the table by NOT offering a similar product).

Since Amazon dabbled in local in the past, it’s hard to take the AmazonLocal deals service seriously — they have a tendency to dabble and drop experimental enterprises without iteratively refining them into working products.

Andrew Shotland reported on this earlier, based off a similar promotion sent to his sister-in-law in New York. She felt it may have been targeted moderately effectively to her interests. However, I’m thinking there’s little-to-no demographic targeting whatsoever, based anecdotally on the email I received. Not only is it for wings, which I don’t necessarily loathe, but they are NOT anything I ever eat — and my restaurant frequenting habits would have demographically targeted me to a number of other types of restaurants altogether. Worst of all, the business promoted to me is in Arlington, which is likely about a 30 to 40 minute drive from where I live in the Dallas Metroplex — not a persuasive location at all, considering Amazon has my actual street addresses and could compute the distance.

But, what really sabotages Amazon Local is the fact that I don’t recall opting-into this email promotion service. They stand to irritate their consumers by aggressively pushing it into email boxes. With it not being all that apropos targeting in some cases, this could really result in iteration rather than sales.


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