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Tobias: Daily Deal Forecast—Curtains Close on Act I
CNBC.com | November 11, 2011 | 10:07 AM EST

The negative lip service around Groupon’s growing instability and the continual shake-out of sites like Facebook and Yelp has led many to ask: Are we approaching the end of the daily deal era?

Don’t let the media noise drown out the core appeal of local deals: that, for the first time, the Internet, social media, email and mobile now have a successful, measurable method by which to drive millions of people online to do something offline. Deal programs are the first product to truly make that magical marriage of advertising and consumption work — and aren’t going anywhere. We’re approaching the end of Act 1, but the story will continue to develop.

The conflict in Act 1 is that the primary pioneers of the product created an unsustainably expensive infrastructure to deliver it. They tried to build new, enormous consumer brands just around deals; they spent too much on Super Bowl ads and sales forces to sell only one kind of marketing program. The "Groupon tax" is too high.

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