Cliqueshop: Design Mom’s New Project

by anna on August 25, 2010

If you watch Gabrielle Blair’s every move as intently as I do, then you’ll have noticed that she recently launched a new project, CliqueShop that launched earlier this week. Cliqueshop is a kind of group buying, coupon clearinghouse that is the kind of thing you might get if you merged a sample sale membership discount site like Gilt Group or Daily Candy’s Swirl and confined it to coupon-specific deals from vendors that appeal to the Design Mom audience.

Does it sound complicated?

Here’s how it works for the consumers: a deal is posted each week — this past week it was a deal where you could pay $10 to get a $25 gift certificate toward some organic cleaning products. Now, assuming the deal goes through, you are guaranteed a $15 profit on this purchase. But, the deal only goes through if there are 75 buyers. So the buyer has to go get some friends to join them in the purchase if they really want to get the deal. If it’s something you really want, it makes sense why you’d want to do it — you’re guaranteed a return.

For the vendors, it’s appealing because there’s a guaranteed number of people who are going to have an investment in seeing the deal going through. And if the deal doesn’t go through to a certain number of people, they don’t have to give any discounts. So there’s a good chance that they’ll get a bunch of click-throughs to their e-commerce site without actually having to extend any kind of discount to anybody. They are also likely to be on the end of a social media grassroots word-of-mouth effort if a product is particularly popular. Their return is pretty easy to see, in terms of advertising, though it does depend on how much they are paying to get this kind of placement (I tried to get Gabrielle to tell me this, to no avail — I’m guessing that, in addition to the cut she’s taking of each sale (e.g. on the coupon example above, she’s getting $10 and the coupon is costing the vendor $25), I think there’s probably a decent amount being paid to her just to get featured, but I didn’t get a chance to confirm with her so I cannot say for sure.)

For Gabrielle, the benefits are clear: she gets the price of each coupon, assuming the sale goes through. If the sale doesn’t go through because there aren’t enough buyers, then all the money is refunded to the buyers and she is out merchant fees, etc., but otherwise she gets those commissions, plus whatever she is getting from the advertiser for the placement. Smart cookie! No wonder Time just named Design Mom one of the Top 50 websites of 2010!

Update: It looks like Cliqueshop is actually some kind of affiliate program version of Groupon (though it’s unclear if it’s affiliated with Groupon or not at this point). If I were actually thorough in my reporting, I would have realized this, but luckily, my readership is smarter than I am, and they figured it out for me. So, anyway, carry on.

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Kakaty August 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Anna, you are aware of Groupon, right? Because that’s what this is, right down to the design & layout of the page. Makes me wonder if Groupon is testing some kind of new program for big bloggers to take advantage of?

anna August 25, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I have heard of groupon, though I’ve never used it. But I didn’t realize you had to pay for it, or that it was contingent upon other people buying. Interesting. But no, this isn’t connected to Groupon in any way, she might have borrowed the model from them, but this is hers, and she’s using small businesses that have a deal with her I’m fairly certain.

Carrie August 25, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I thought the exact same thing, Kakaty! The site looks *exactly* like Groupon, though no mention of it anywhere at all.

anna August 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm

See, I don’t know anything about Groupon so I assumed she came up with it all on her own. Still, you cannot copyright an idea, only the expression of it. So more power to her, I say!

jonniker August 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

I had the same thought. It’s Groupon, straight up down to the tiniest details. And oddly, kind of competitive with Groupon, because they, too, tend to focus on smaller vendors, albeit locally in metro areas.

I love Groupon.

anna August 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Well, she’s got so many solicitations though directly to her, so it makes sense that she’d do this kind of thing. It’s smart IMO.

anna August 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Of course, I’m just reacting to the fact that I’m like the last person on earth to know how groupon works, apparently.

kitchenMage August 25, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Yeah, it’s totally a Groupon, LivingSocial, etc thing. It’s apparently a service she has signed up for, not her thing. Or else she’s marketing it to other bloggers, but the WHOIS isn’t pointing to the same state even… #15
How can I get a Cliqueshop for my blog?

We are always looking for new blogging partners. Typically looking for niche sites with consistent and loyal readerships. If you think you fit the bill contact us here

anna August 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm

Well, that’s what I get for doing totally shoddy reporting, eh?

kakaty August 25, 2010 at 6:40 pm

If it is an affiliate of Groupon she seems to be the first one. And no the idea isn’t copywrited but the site is almost identical so I’m thinking there has to be a connection. If that is the case, it’s a brilliant move on both Groupon’s part and Design Mom’s part.

(and Anna – Sign up for Groupon! Great deals to be had. I just bought housecleaning services for 7 weeks for what I would normally pay for 3 weeks.)

eliza August 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

If you read the comments on her post, it says that they are not affiliated with Groupon. Though she was smart to borrow the model, IMHO.

Damaris August 26, 2010 at 9:39 am

So how many readers do you think you need to have in order to pull this off?

Damaris August 26, 2010 at 9:41 am

yes, and read the comments on her post some random person names Salem is managing the comments and saying that it’s NOT Groupon.

Salem August 26, 2010 at 9:55 am

Hi All,

Great conversation going on here. I am Design Mom’s brother and and behind her store. Let me shed some light here.

1. We are not affiliated with Groupon in any way.
2. We are planning to expand this platform to all bloggers, where they can collectively share the deal be compensated based on those that buy through their “storefront”. This way, size of blog won’t matter, and we will centralize setting up the deals.
3. If you know of any bloggers interested in participating with our pilot program over the next month please contact me.

The idea is we wont be creating a community like Groupon or Living Social, but will help bloggers leverage their readership community that already exists. Bloggers will love it and Marketers will love it.

Feel free to contact me for more info.


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