The clones are already on Groupon's real-time deals game. Cing.com, a new daily deals site that promises to offer both daily deals and real-time hourly deals, launched on Monday with big plans for the future.
While all of the other clones were just trying to keep pace with the daily deal/group buying platform, which requires a fairly broad national reach to even say you're on par with Groupon or LivingSocial, Cing.com is taking aim at the real-time deals. The company announced in its press release Monday morning that while users will have the option to select a daily deal, they'll also get limited-time offers from local merchants on an hourly basis. Additionally, the feature will give users the added benefit of being able to get deals on the hyper-local level. For example, if you live in San Francisco, a "local" deal that takes you to the other end of the city could be an hour-long drive, depending on traffic. Cing.com promises to give users options closer to home (Ex: within two miles of your house).
This was to be expected after Groupon and LivingSocial both announced their mobile apps, which give users real-time deals based on their location and what they're in the mood for. But while Cing.com is ambitiously aiming to do something similar, it falls short of offering a mobile app, which is the crucial piece of the puzzle when you're talking about real-time hyper-local deals.
As hyper-local deals can only come after a daily deals company has grown a large enough sales team to have people on the ground, recruiting merchants in those locales, Cing.com still has a ways to go. Today's deals currently consist of three national deals for goods that can be ordered online and shipped anywhere in the U.S., so for now, the world will just have to wait and see if Cing.com will be able to fulfill its hyper-local promise.
The company does have a few other offerings that set it apart somewhat from the crowd. For starters, users have the option of tracking merchants to get deals specifically from them via the site's VIP deals. Additionally, for deals that require two or more people, like paintball shooting, the site allows users to create Facebook events to encourage their friends to sign up for the deal.
The company kicked off its public launch with a charity campaign: 50% of the company's entire first-day profits will go to the American Red Cross for relief in Japan.