Groupon announces 'live off our deals' stunt

The daily deal Web site has launched a contest where the winner will be challenged to live off Groupon promotions for a full year--with a cash prize if he or she succeeds.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read

Discount coupon site Groupon has been in the press enough recently for its rapid growth, choice position in the venture capital spotlight, and the presence of a hundred thousand imitators, but it might be pushing its way into the media even more now. The Chicago-based company has launched what might be one of the most ridiculous social-media promotions that any brand has attempted to pull off: it's challenging a member to live off its deals for an entire year, and is offering a $100,000 prize if the guinea pig proves successful.

The contest winner, according to a promotion page, will have to quit his (or her) job, close his bank account, put all his stuff into storage, and ditch his housing arrangement. Then, for a year he'll have an all-access pass to Groupon's deals in several dozen cities, including some special "cheating" ones for hotels and transportation, and will be encouraged to blog about the "Amazing Race"-like experience and meet up with other members around the country. If he or she is successful, there is a prize of $100,000 in cash.

Considering Groupon's deals run the gamut from restaurants to grocery delivery to dentists to yoga classes, it's not completely unfeasible, but it certainly would require making some compromises.

And here's a caveat for Groupon's image-grooming department: Last year, the tourism bureau for the Australian province of Queensland launched a "Best Job In The World" stunt in which it paid a contest winner over $100,000 to live in the Great Barrier Reef islands for six months and blog about it. Unfortunately, what everybody's going to remember about that promotion is that the dude got stung by a deadly jellyfish.

I don't think any of Groupon's promotions involve lethal cnidarians, but...just sayin'.