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Groupon acts locally with $10 credit offer

by Barbara Ortutay, AP Technology Writer

azfamily.com

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 19 at 4:35 PM

NEW YORK (AP) -- Groupon is thinking locally. The online deals site is offering a $10 credit to the first 150,000 people who purchase a local Groupon by Dec. 24.

The offer looks like a response to a recent promotion by Amazon that critics said hurt brick-and-mortar businesses. Last Saturday, Amazon.com Inc. gave shoppers a $5 discount if they used its Price Check app inside retail stores to find lower prices on its website.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said the offer is not a jab at Amazon. Rather, he said it's a symbolic gesture to show people they can both save money and support local businesses.

"I think people have over the years come to believe that they have to make this difficult choice between supporting local businesses...or getting a great price," he said. "Groupon is here to remind people that they can do both."

EBay Inc. is also weighing in. It's giving people a $10 credit to shop in stores if they spend $100 online at three retailers, including Toys R Us.

Mason, who's now been at the helm of a public Groupon for more than a month, said his job feels "very much the same" post-IPO. Though now there's a "this kind of funny line," he said, that gets drawn about the company on finance websites. That, and "I've gotten really into Scientology," he joked.

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