“Arms Dealer” Martin Tobias Talks Tippr Strategy Vs. Groupon

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a month selling local deals in underserved markets—is closing fast.

“We’re moving into the consolidation phase of group buying. More importantly, we’re moving into the next phase of how consumers will find group buying and daily deal opportunities,” Tobias says. He is betting that consumers will find these opportunities largely through media outlets and websites that they already like to visit, rather than brand sites like Groupon.

So where is the sector headed overall? “There will be one or two branded players,” Tobias says. “And there will be one arms dealer. I’m going to be the arms dealer… Groupon is building Yahoo—there’s no technology, but a brand. I’m building Google [think the AdSense network].”

And why should this strategy be successful? He continues, “People want to buy deals in context. They see ads in the context of editorial. So there’s more value to the guy who runs the ad network on a bunch of publishers…I could be wrong, but that’s my bet.”

The challenge for Tippr, at least in the short term, will be to gain traffic and to work with the right publishing partners. With a “channel” strategy like this, the startup is dependent on its partners’ ability to execute their strategy using Tippr’s technology. Traditional media companies have not usually led the way in implementing cutting-edge technologies, so it seems like getting enough smaller niche sites on board will be the key to Tippr’s success.

“It would not be inconceivable that the majority of our new customers will come from Tippr-powered publisher websites in the next six months,” Tobias says.

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Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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