Newpaper-Owned Portal Seeks to Be One Stop for Local Shopping

Coupon and deal sites are everywhere and getting more numerous all the time — even as consolidation picks up and some prominent sites fail (i.e., BuyWithMe). Yet a new newspaper-backed consortium believes there’s room for another national player: Find n Save.

You may have read about its launch on Thursday. Find n Save is a pre-existing site developed by newspaper industry vendor Travidia, which has been acquired to form the core of a newspaper-led joint venture around Find n Save as a new national-local brand and shopping destination.

The consortium includes Advance Digital, A. H. Belo Corporation, Cox Media Group, Gannett Co., Inc., Hearst Corporation, MediaNews Group, The McClatchy Company, and The Washington Post Co. However, CEO Chris Tippie (from Maroon Ventures) told me last week that there may be others that join, either buying an equity stake or participating as affiliates without taking an ownership interest.

Find n Save seeks to be a comprehensive local shopping destination that includes:

  • Daily deals
  • Local coupons
  • Newspaper circulars and ROP ads
  • Local retailer inventory data

In other words it aspires to be more comprehensive than all other deals or coupon sites. The inclusion of local inventory data (from Milo) is another interesting element and potential differentiator for Find n Save. However Tippie told me that the Milo integration pre-dates the joint venture.

Tippie said the effort is not competitive with ShopLocal; Gannett, which owns ShopLocal, is part of the consortium. However it seems that the division of labor between Find n Save and the local affiliates has yet to be fully worked out. The concept is that local newspaper sites will promote and benefit from Find n Save, as with the Sacramento Bee above. It will be a “hub” that offers local and national advertisers broad exposure and “a consistent, easy-to-deploy advertising solution.”

It creates a new vehicle for newspapers to use with national retailer clients, which have moved to diversify their online ad spending beyond newspaper sites over the past several years. Those advertisers will now have a single point of access to a national shopping site as well as an extensive network of local properties. My initial take was that it sounded a lot like Classified Ventures. In addition the national-local buying angle was one of the original ideas behind Centro.

Tippie explained that Find n Save is different than Classified Ventures because of the number of backers; it’s a much broader effort. The content is also very different.

The current reach of Find n Save is 19 of the top 50 local markets, but 21 more top-50 markets are coming in the next month. The press release said that by the end of next year, “Find n Save will be in place at an estimated 250 newspapers. By the end of 2013, an estimated 400 newspapers are expected to be Find n Save affiliates.”

In addition there are other companies not in the newspaper industry that may join. It’s not clear how much revenue it will generate for newspapers. I also spoke to Tippie about mobile plans. He confirmed that smartphone and tablet apps are on the menu in the near term.

When I suggested that the Find n Save UI had a long way to go to be really competitive he agreed and said that the current site was merely a down payment on a much better experience coming in the not-too-distant future.

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No Responses to “Newpaper-Owned Portal Seeks to Be One Stop for Local Shopping”

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