We’re awarding Candice T. of Boston, MA this Oscar Schmidt OS21C Autoharp. This versatile instrument features a maple body with sunburst finish and can play 21 chords. Despite its name, the autoharp is not a harp at all, but a chorded zither. Congratulations Candice.
If getting a deal on charitable giving seems oxymoronic to you, check out the [Groupon we're running all week for Donors Choose](http://www.groupon.com/deals/donorschoose-org-online-national/). Thanks to the matching grant provided by a generous philanthropist, you can get a Donors Choose gift certificate for 50% off.
If you’ve never heard of [Donors Choose](http://www.donorschoose.org), it’s one of the great success stories in online altruism. Teachers post projects for which they need funding (e.g. “$3,000 needed for microscopes in Mr. Mellon’s 9th grade science class at Sunnyside High School”), and donors fund the projects they want to support. When a project receives enough funds, Donors Choose purchases the materials and delivers them to the classroom.
Considering Groupon’s origin as a group action/fundraising platform called [The Point](http://www.thepoint.com), creative fundraising is in our DNA. So when Charles Best from Donors Choose proposed this idea, we couldn’t wait to give it a try. By combining the ideas of Donors Choose and Groupon, each donor is empowered to effectively win a miniature matching grant – and then choose exactly where she wants her money spent.
Our matching donor has agreed to give up to $500,000, making the fundraising potential of this week’s campaign one million dollars! Hitting that number will take all the help we can get, so please share this Groupon with your friends and family.
This is hardly the first fundraiser to run on Groupon, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting. We love finding creative ways to channel the collective buying power of our customers back into their communities, and are proud to be working with Donors Choose.
Today we’re announcing something really, really big – Groupon is now in Europe via the acquisition of Citydeal, the world’s largest Groupon clone. That means we’re operating in 18 countries, 140 cities, and we have over 900 employees in about a dozen offices across two continents. Not bad for 19 months’ work!
In addition to the US and Canada, you’ll now find Groupon in [Germany](http://www.citydeal.de), [the UK](http://www.mycitydeal.co.uk), [Ireland](http://www.citydeal.ie), [France](http://www.citydeal.fr), [the Netherlands](http://www.mycitydeal.nl), [Spain](http://www.citydeal.es), [Italy](http://www.citydeal.it), [Switzerland](http://www.citydeal.ch), [Austria](http://www.citydeal.at), [Poland](http://www.citydeal.pl), [Finland](http://www.citydeal.fi), [Denmark](http://www.mycitydeal.dk), [Turkey](http://www.sehirfirsati.com), [Sweden](http://www.mycitydeal.se), and soon, Norway and Belgium.
### What it means
To me, Groupon is one of those beautiful examples of what an early, uncharted, and exciting time this is in the age of the Internet – that such a simple concept could change the face of local commerce almost overnight. Since its launch in Berlin five months ago, Citydeal’s rapid growth across Europe has proven that the Groupon model is truly global – and by coming together, we are establishing Groupon as the company that not only invented, but now universally defines this new model of commerce.
### Why we did it this way
We knew that bringing Groupon to Europe wouldn’t be easy. Just adapting Groupon to suit the differences between Miami and Philadelphia is enough of a challenge that we knew we wouldn’t be able to succeed in Europe without amazing entrepreneurs with an intimate understanding of the local cultures.
With that in mind, we started meeting with the horde of European Groupon clones, looking for a team that would do Groupon justice in Europe. Unfortunately, we found them to be very much like the American knockoffs – without the strategic vision or operational chops to do much more than watch us and play Simon Says.
When we met Oliver Samwer – one of the founders of Citydeal – we were prepared for more of the same. Oliver and his two brothers are known for elevating the practice of cloning American business models in Europe into an art form, having successfully founded the German versions of eBay (eBay eventually bought them), Facebook, eHarmony, Zappos, and many more.
But after a few days with Oliver and the rest of the Citydeal management team, we realized that they were among the best operators we’d ever met. It was no wonder they’d become #1 in every one of their countries – in only five months, they’d even become larger than the largest Groupon knockoff in the U.S. It’s absolutely insane how quickly they’ve scaled, with 600 employees working from 80+ European cities, and already saving their customers over $5 million in April alone – their fourth month of operation.
Culturally, we saw the same qualities in the Citydeal team that we have at Groupon. Hardworking and scrappy, blindingly fast executors, refreshingly blunt, no appetite for petty politics, and passionate about pioneering a new model of commerce while wowing every last consumer and merchant they touched.
For those reasons, we think Groupon and Citydeal are a great match.
### What happens now
It’ll take months for us to fully integrate Citydeal onto the Groupon platform, but they will adopt our name and design very soon. Until we’re fully integrated, you’ll need a separate account to buy Groupons in, say, Paris and Wichita.
For those of you who are already Citydeal consumers and merchants, welcome to Groupon! We have some amazing things planned over the next several months, but we’d also love to hear what you’d like us to do to make Groupon better – [send us your thoughts](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)!
We often blog about features that make our customers’ lives better, but this week we wanted to introduce you to a few of Groupon’s efforts that have added ongoing value for our merchants and help improve their businesses’ day-to-day.
Groupon has proven to be an extremely effective form of marketing for local businesses – it’s the reason 97% of our merchants want to run on Groupon again and again. But it’s important we ask ourselves and our vendors how we can improve their Groupon experience beyond the online exposure and initial stream of customers. Surveys and focus groups have bred a few ideas we’ve implemented, including leveraging merchant testimonials like this recent clip filmed with Corey Kaplan of NYC Bagel Deli in Chicago.
Another such initiative is the Groupon Chamber of Commerce. Continue Reading
Mary J. from Naperville, IL is getting this iPod shuffle for purchasing yesterday’s Groupon. It has a built-in rechargeable battery and plays up to 10 hours continuously when fully charged. Pre-loaded with music from David Hasselhoff, Dogstar, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Billy Bob Thornton, Don Johnson and Robert Downey Jr.
Armed with nothing but a paper suit made of Groupons, some miscellaneous gadgets and a sleep apnea machine, Josh Stevens began his year of living off Groupons today.