Regional Help Wanted Founder Creates ‘Digital Valpak’-like Service

Angie’s List, Kudzu and The Washington Post’s new ServiceAlley are providing group buying promotions for home and trade services. But is group buying the right paradigm for home and trade services?

Regional Help Wanted Cofounder Eric Straus says no. Instead, Straus has launched 10LocalCoupons.com, which offers home and trade services the ability to include their coupons in an e-mail flier featuring 10 coupons. The coupons are created on a self-serve basis and cost $49 per month.

Straus believes the deal-a-day space has gotten too bifurcated with too much competition. It also has a difficult model to understand, and doesn’t really hit the sweet spot for home and trade and other “Valpak” advertisers. “These are really DM dollars,” he says. Moreover, a straightforward coupon allows for more inventory than a main deal and two sides — the stock in trade for group buyers.

Indeed, Straus says his “Digital Valpak”-like service can reach more consumers, in part by building out a consortium among local media players, who each benefit from each other’s participation. As with Regional Help Wanted, consortium members split the proceeds equally, and promise to promote the service on air (or on cable) with a certain number of remnant ads. Greater responses lead to more revenue.

In Des Moines, for instance, Clear Channel, Citadel and Saga radio stations are participating, as is MediaCom, the local cable company. Although the site is still in beta, it is currently operating in more than 110 markets, says Straus.

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