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12 days of Groupon clones: BuyWithMe

BuyWithMe CEO Cheryl Rosner steps down

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
December 14, 2010
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/14d5

Updated 12/16/10: Cheryl Rosner will be replaced temporarily by BuyWithMe's CPO David Wolfe.  Rosner will remain on the company's advisory board.

I’m always a little startled and disturbed when I see Groupon clones that really seem to have committed themselves wholeheartedly to copying every Groupon feature, down to the voice and style of writing.  It’s creepy…like finding out you accidentally slept with your spouse’s twin.  Haven’t we all been there…

But there is something to be said for a company that musters up the nerve to shamelessly mimic another company down to the last detail.  That takes spunk.  So why not celebrate those companies with a 12 Days of Groupon Clones event?  Each day, VatorNews will feature one of the top Groupon clones.

Today’s Groupon clone: BuyWithMe, which happens to have news of its own today.  CEO Cheryl Rosner stepped down Tuesday after being with the company since April 2010.  While Groupon and LivingSocial skyrocketed this year, BuyWithMe has flatlined and Rosner, former president of Expedia, as well as the president and CEO of TicketsNow before it sold to TicketMaster in 2008, will be leaving the company.

BuyWithMe was founded in March 2009 and has raised a total of $21.5 million from Matrix Partners and Bain Capital Ventures.  In July, the New York-based company raised a whopping $16 million, which was used to expand BuyWithMe’s reach to more than two dozen cities throughout the United States.  Earlier this year, the company operated in only five markets, but today it has footholds in 11.

This is one of those companies that attempts to mirror Groupon’s subtle humor, but just can’t seem to capture the irreverence.  That’s the part I never get—I understand wanting to copy the business model and everything else, but when companies copy the Groupon voice, I just feel embarrassed for them.  It’s like coming out with a comedy about high school geeks trying to get laid.  You’re not going to make it big by rewriting Porky’s and slapping your name on it.

What BuyWithMe DOES offer that differs ever so slightly from Groupon is a map showing the precise location of the business being featured.  But other than that, it’s about what you would expect from a clone.  

Image source: sfgate.com


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