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Originally published October 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM | Page modified October 20, 2010 at 7:25 PM

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WhitePages' DealPop to try national approach as it takes on Groupon, other coupon websites

Until now, coupon websites such as Groupon have focused on enticing online shoppers back into bricks-and-mortar stores by selling daily deals to be redeemed in person.

Seattle Times business reporter

Until now, coupon websites such as Groupon have focused on enticing online shoppers back into bricks-and-mortar stores by selling daily deals to be redeemed in person.

DealPop, a venture by Seattle-based WhitePages, seeks to shake things up by selling limited-time deals on products with a local flair nationally — no in-person visit required.

The national rollout happens this week with two- or three-day discounts from Maple Sugar & Spice, offering $20 worth of Vermont maple syrup, candy and sugar for $10; Boston Tea, $20 of tea for $10; and Hawaii Coffee, $20 of coffee for $10.

Coupon websites that use their collective buying power to get low prices at local businesses comprise a fast-growing segment of the online retail market. Though only a couple of years old, it's also a crowded segment, with about 80 websites as of last week, according to Experian Hitwise.

Chicago-based Groupon is the largest player, capturing 52 percent of all segment visits in September, followed by Eversave, at 22 percent, and LivingSocial, at 14 percent, data from Experian Hitwise show.

"These sites in general are growing rapidly," said Experian Hitwise spokesman Matt Tatham. "It's one of the hot retail trends and could be a big thing heading into the holiday season if some of the bigger brands take advantage of it."

Online phone directory WhitePages launched DealPop.com three months ago in the Seattle area, selling coupons for local establishments, such as restaurants, cupcake stores and gift boutiques.

DealPop, which has since expanded to Los Angeles and San Francisco, tries to take advantage of online social networking by awarding points to shoppers who persuade friends and family to sign up for deals. The points can then be used to knock down the price of another purchase.

But WhitePages Chief Operating Officer Kevin Nakao says the website's users have been reluctant to share local deals on Facebook because their friends and family tend to be spread out across the U.S. Instead, users have been more likely to spread the word to a select group through e-mail.

By offering deals relevant to a nationwide audience, DealPop aims to get more buzz on Facebook.

"Hopefully, people will be more likely to share these deals because they work for all their Facebook friends," Nakao said.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

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