Local.com, which recently introduced an integrated coupon and sales platform as part of its relaunch, has announced that it will enter the group buying/deal-a-day space via the acquisition of iTwango, a Los Angeles-based start-up that launched in October. The company, founded by former Citysearch CTO Hal Oreif, will be rebranded under Local.com.
The company’s first group buying products for Local.com will be rolled out in mid-2011. They will be supported by Local.com, its various hosted sites, and its network of 1,000-plus local and regional media sites. These sites can add the deals site on a white-label basis, pitting Local.com directly against such companies as Tippr.com, Nimble Commerce, Deal Current and others. At the same time, the deal network will be built up with telesales and e-mail marketing.
Local.com CEO Heath Clarke says that the Local.com diligence team was impressed that iTwango was built “almost as an exchange” that can easily funnel coupons through the platform and publish to the Local.com search engine.
The whole point is to provide a broader range of services, adds Clarke, noting that group buying is a perfect fit with Local.com’s directory, its coupon and deals platform, and and its Octane 360 optimization service. “We can sell through some of those on a wholesale basis.”