Daily deals websites get the Apprentice treatment

Teams try to negotiate with brands for deep discounts
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This week's challenge on TV show The Apprentice ordered the remaining candidates to go out and negotiate for deals for a 'luxury' daily deals website.

On the surface this could've been an interesting insight into how these deals work behind the scenes. Of course coming from a glossy reality show, it didn't go into quite that much detail, though we were treated to some classic lines such as 'I think that was a whorehouse' and 'I can work it out if it's round numbers'. Yes, these are the best business entrepreneurs the country has to parade in front of Lord Sugar.

There was much mention of some of the advantages of daily deal sites, such as getting a big burst of brand awareness, being marketed to thousands of consumers, and so on, but the darker side of the deals business raised barely a whisper.

For there are several pitfalls - firms that sell too many deals may damage their name if they can't keep up with demand, others might find they only attract existing customers drawn in by a bargain rather than new clients. There's little to no money in it, given the deep discounting that is required. The firms on tonight's Apprentice didn't seem to keen to discount - and who can blame them? - yet for many a 50 per cent discount and higher is the only way to get on the sites in the first place. Sometimes a daily deal product will see sales go into the stratosphere, but it's not nearly as easy to achieve as it might look.

While this task focused on luxury deals at spas, restaurant and so on, sites such as Groupon regularly include deals from the technology world, such as laptops, computer health checks and PC software from photo-editing to AV.

Have you ever had an offer on one of these sites? What were the sales like - and did it help you gain more custom in the long run?

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