Where Buys LocalGinger, Moves Into Location-Based Daily Deals

9/27/10Follow @gthuang

Two Massachusetts startups have joined forces to try to crack the location-based daily deals market. Boston-based Where, a mobile search and advertising company, said today it has acquired Newburyport, MA-based LocalGinger, an upstart in the online group-buying sector. Financial details of the stock and cash deal weren’t disclosed, but Where is gaining 10 employees from LocalGinger, bringing the company’s size up to about 70 people, according to Dan Gilmartin, Where’s vice president of marketing.

It’s an interesting play for Where (formerly uLocate), which started in 2003 and, since a relaunch in 2007, has focused on local search and other location-based mobile services. Its most recent acquisition was Cambridge, MA-based Zync, a hyperlocal social networking and recommendation engine, back in early 2008. In March 2010, Where announced an ad network for location-aware mobile devices, called Where Ads, which the company says now reaches 50 million consumers around the U.S..

What LocalGinger adds to the mix is a daily-deals following among local businesses and consumers in secondary markets such as Napierville, IL (outside Chicago), Alexandria, VA (outside DC), and the North Shore (outside Boston). So you might think of the new merger as Groupon (the Chicago-based daily-deal giant) plus Google’s AdSense network—only smaller, more targeted, and location-based. The classic “flash sale” example would be a restaurant having a bunch of empty tables on a Friday at 6 pm, and using the Where Ads/LocalGinger platform to push out a deal in real-time for consumers with smartphones currently located within the restaurant’s zipcode.

“This is a really important deal in terms of the technology and the capabilities we bring in,” Gilmartin says. “We’ll really enable merchants to target a local audience.” He adds that the platform is “a new model for merchants,” and that “other solutions don’t provide the reach that we provide.”

Where certainly faces a lot of competition in the daily deals sector. And local businesses have lots of choices when it comes to promoting deals and rewards. But Where’s advantage, for now, is its location-based mobile technology, and its highly targeted ad network.

“We’re going to put a new twist on it,” Gilmartin says.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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