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Quick Pitch: oBaz lets users band together in groups to get discounts on the products and services they want.
Genius Idea: Social haggling.
Testing the notion that there’s power in numbers is the just-launched Chicago-based startup oBaz. Its promise: To go to bat for consumers who band together in big groups; it haggles with merchants to bring back big discounts.
oBaz, short for online bazaar, is kind of like an inside-out version of the daily deals model popularized by Groupon. Instead of businesses offering up pre-set deep discounts to groups of online denizens, people self-organize on oBaz around the products and service they want, and the startup then tracks down the merchant to negotiate a better price.
oBaz members can express their intent to buy anything they want by starting or joining a product group. “We don’t control what our users put on the site,” says CEO and co-founder Brian Ficho. “We’re just here to haggle.”
Each group has seven days to recruit more folks via Facebook, Twitter or email and reach critical mass. oBaz will then negotiate on their behalf and attempt to secure a discount. Once the deal is shared with the group, members have 24 hours to buy it — though oBaz charges a small fee for the convenience.
Ficho first pitched the idea to Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell — Groupon co-founders and Lightbank partners — 18 months ago. The oBaz concept took shape under their guidance and officially launched to the public Tuesday, after a six-week alpha period.
The site does have its limitations, especially since oBaz’s team of hagglers can’t guarantee a discount on everything its users want. Apple, for instance, is unlikely to award an oBaz group with deals on iPads or MacBook Airs. Still, Ficho believes that most merchants will happily offer up discounts in exchange for acquiring new customers.
“We’re free customer acquisition for business,” he says. “We’ll find all the customers for you, and let you make them offers for free.”
oBaz has raised seed funding from Lightbank. The startup eventually plans to release mobile applications, but is currently focused on improving its website.
Source :- http://mashable.com
- Want a Deal? This Site Will Do the Haggling For You (mashable.com)
- Lightbank-Backed oBaz Launches Crowdsourced Haggling Service (techcrunch.com)
- Don’t Have Time To Haggle Your Daily Deals? oBaz Can Help (fastcompany.com)
- Obaz Does The Haggling For You (forbes.com)
- Shoppers to Name Their Own Deals on oBaz (dailyfinance.com)
- Groupon Founders Get Behind A Startup That Negotiates Group Prices (businessinsider.com)