Launching a branded deals program gives publishers an additional stream of revenue in a notoriously difficult advertising market, potentially increasing a media company’s annual advertising revenue anywhere from 15% to 30%. These programs also give community newspapers, hyperlocal blogs, television stations, and radio stations a way to capitalize on the trust and authority they’ve developed with their audiences over the years. Small businesses hesitant to jump into daily deals may feel more comfortable working with sales reps at a local publisher than those from a national company like Groupon.
White-label platforms aren’t without their downsides. Publishers who choose to go this route need to find out how much support and guidance the white-label platforms they’re working with will provide when it comes to sales, technology, and customer service. They should also find out who owns the rights to the customer lists they’ve built, since a media company that gives up control of its customer list has little room for negotiation if it switches platforms in the future.
Here are six popular white-label platforms that publishers are using right now.
1. Group Commerce
Group Commerce is a feisty upstart in the white-label platform arena. Its software platform allows publishers to manage all aspects of their daily deal programs, including merchant sourcing, payment processing, and customer service. Media partners can decide whether they prefer to negotiate their own merchant deals or delegate that task to Group Commerce’s sales force. CEO Jonty Kelt says 60% of the revenue from each deal goes to the merchant, with the publisher and Group Commerce splitting the remainder. (Group Commerce doesn’t disclose the specifics of its revenue split with publishers.) A few of the company’s clients include the New York Times, Hearst Publications, and Boston.com.
2. Analog Analytics
Analog Analytics is one of the big guns in the world of white-label solutions. The company’s hosted daily deal software — which smaller publishers can use without having to set up infrastructure in-house — comes with DIY design tools that let publishers customize the look and feel of their deal sites. Analog Analytics provides training to publisher sales reps, and gives publishers the option of syndicating their deals to other media partners in the Analog Analytics network. For its work, the company takes a 7% share of revenue from deals run through its platform. Some of Analog Analytics’ big name clients include NBC, Time Warner Cable, and the Village Voice.
NimbleCommerce is a turn-key deal service with all the bells-and-whistles. In addition to offering branded deal programs, the company also provides a virtual sourcing network that negotiates the merchant deals that publishers promote on their sites. Media companies without robust email lists can use NimbleCommerce’s syndication program to increase exposure for the deals they offer. NimbleCommerce has no fees or sales requirements for publishers, however it does charge a commission rate based on the revenue from each deal. Notable NimbleCommerce clients include AOL Patch, Dow Jones, and Philly.com.
4. Powered By Tippr
Introduced by the deal company Tippr in 2010, Powered By Tippr is a white-label solution that provides sales training and creative services to publishers that need guidance getting their deals programs off the ground. COO Samy Aboel-Nil says his company lets publishers maintain control of customer data, which differentiates Powered By Tippr from some of its competitors. Publishers that promote deals sourced by Tippr’s sales team can expect to keep half the proceeds from those deals, after taking into account the merchant’s cut. Powered By Tippr is used to by companies including Belo Corp., Louisiana Business Inc., and Buzzfeed.
5. Deal Co-op
Deal Co-op is equally suited to media companies, community groups, and trade organizations. The platform manages most aspects of the daily deal program for publishers, but it doesn’t source deals or buyers. That responsibility falls to publishers themselves, making Deal Co-op best suited for companies that already have robust email marketing lists at their disposal. In a typical partnership with Deal Co-op, the merchant takes 50% of the proceeds, the publisher takes 34%, and Deal Co-op takes 16%. Community newspapers like the Hays Daily News and the Hutchinson News use to Deal Co-op to power their daily deal programs.
ChompOn is a platform that publishers can use to integrate daily deal programs into their existing websites and online properties. The company encourages its clients to promote their programs using embeddable widgets, which make it easy for customers to share deals on social networking sites. In addition to running their own group deals, publishers who use ChompOn can make money by promoting affiliate deals, as well. Merchants maintain control over their own e-mail marketing lists. In exchange for all these tools and features, ChompOn charges publishers a 6% to 12% cut of the revenue from their deals. The company has worked with publishers like Blackbook, North Jersey Media Group, and CampusFood.com.
Know of other white-label platforms that publishers are using to create their own deal programs? Leave a description in the comments.