Daily Deal Association Debuts Code of Conduct — With Notable Abstentions

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The Global Daily Deal Association, the three-month-old trade organization for the international daily deals sector, unveiled the industry’s first Code of Conduct yesterday in response to what a GDDA press release calls a “lack of merchant and consumer confidence.”

The GDDA, which was formed in March at DD Summit Europe 2012, hopes the voluntary code of conduct will standardize practices across the industry and ensure accountability, according to the release, from the more than 8,000 daily deal providers that have entered the space since 2009.

“The GDDA has spent a great deal of time producing a Code of Conduct that is suitable and relevant to the industry,” said Stavros Prodromou, CEO of the GDDA, in a release. “The sector has previously been affected by a lack of merchant and consumer confidence. The code is the first step toward improving the sector’s reputation.”

More specifically, the Code of Conduct encourages DDPs to clearly and accurately communicate deals, be compliant with legislation that restricts offers to those who have given proper consent and post easy to access privacy policies and contact information, where subscribers could register a complaint.

If a subscriber to the Code of Conduct is found to violate its provisions, the code says its authority might issue sanctions, with no more specific details, outside of potential removal of a signatory’s status, mentioned.

Businesses that sign up to the Code of Conduct are offered the opportunity to be involved in its development and to work with the GDDA to shape the future practices of the industry, according to the release.

But Groupon and LivingSocial are notably absent from a Code of Conduct subscriber list that mostly includes UK-based DDPs, such as DiscountVouchers.co.uk, Time Out Offers, MumsandMe and DealCollecter, in addition to other European services such as Dailydeal.de, Sweetdeal and Bownty.

With some questioning the viability of the daily deals sector moving forward, particularly given Groupon’s public struggles, the GDDA appears to acknowledge that lacking confidence in its providers, not the nature of the discounts concept, may be to blame for the industry’s present state.

Patrick Duprey is an intern at Street Fight.