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10/6/2010
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AOL To Launch Groupon Competitor

Wow will join the growing list of daily deal, comparison shopping, and coupon sites trying to grab a piece of the discount e-commerce pie.

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Just in time for the holiday shopping season, AOL is expected to soon launch a new deal-of-the-day shopping site.

While pursuing the market share of competitor Groupon, the upcoming debut of daily deal shopping site Wow.com may have unleashed the wrath of millions of World of Warcraft gamers around the globe. Gamers who unwittingly visit www.wow.com are redirected to www.wow.joystiq.com.

AOL -- which bought the wow.com domain from World of Warcraft news site WoW Insider in 1998, according to published reports -- will offer savings on dining, shopping, and outings at both local and national locations, according to the website. No launch date, beyond "soon," was announced.

"If you want a deal, we listen and offer up your bargain-of-choice on a silver platter at an astronomically discounted price, helping you stretch your hard-earned dollar to infinity and beyond," AOL said.

In addition to marketing to consumers, AOL currently is seeking partnerships with sponsors. There are no up-front costs associated with Wow, according to the website. Instead, it is a revenue-sharing agreement, said AOL.

"We provide an easy, risk-free opportunity to reach AOL users. Putting your business on the map is easy with Wow: AOL has a significantly greater audience reach than other online coupon sites. Between email and AOL homepage exposure, you'll have tremendous publicity and the opportunity to showcase your business to a large audience that is ready to sample your offer and come back for more," AOL said.

AOL will go head-to-head against Groupon, which has said it expects to do more than $100 million in gross merchandise sales this year, and Woot, which was acquired by Amazon in June.

In the United States, year-over-year online retail spending grew for the first half of 2010, with Americans spending $111 billion online for retail products through June, up 7% from a year earlier, according to a July report by ComScore. Online-only retailers such as Amazon.com and Netflix, as well as comparison shopping sites like NexTag and coupon sites showed growth rates that exceeded those of traditional retailers' websites, ComScore found.

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