Groupon blames ‘domain squatting’ for delayed Australian launch

The launch of online crowd retail site Groupon in Australia has been delayed by a legal dispute, the company has revealed.

Groupon – which offers a daily deal – has become a global phenomenon, and reportedly turned down an offer of $6bn to sell to Google. Sites such as Groupon work by sourcing a single deal at a large discount which is only available if a sufficiently large number of people in any given location sign up for it.

In a blog posting, Groupon said that the domain is suffering a “classic case of domain squatting”, with local site Scoopon owning the domain and having registered a trademark.

In the posting Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said: “The worldwide proliferation of Groupon clones has been well documented. One particular clone in Australia called Scoopon, created by the brothers Gabby and Hezi Leibovitch, has been making life difficult for us. Scoopon went a little further than just starting their Groupon clone – they actually purchased the domain name, took the company name Groupon Pty Limited, and tried to register the Groupon trademark (filing for the trademark just seven days before us) in Australia.”

Mason added: “As Groupon became internationally known, opportunistic domain squatters around the world started to buy local Groupon domain names, thinking that we’d eventually be forced to buy them at an insane price. In fact, we tried to do just that, reluctantly offering Gabby and Hezi Leibovich about $286,000 for the domain and trademark—an offer they accepted. But now they’ve changed their minds, and we believe that they’ll only sell us the domain and trademark if we’re willing to buy the entire Scoopon business from them.”

Scoopon also runs the deals website

For now Groupon has created an Australian site called Stardeals, and also an Australian Facebook page setting out its side of the disagreement.

At the time of posting, Scoopon has not responded to Mumbrella’s invitation to comment.


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