Google Offers Goes National, Still Makes Me Feel Excluded

Google Offers hasn’t rolled out yet to your city in the US? Google’s solution is its first “national” offer that came out today, $25 to spend at REI for $15. But as a person in a non-Google Offers city, I found the promotion just alienated me even more.

Offers & The OC

I live in Newport Beach, California. It’ll never have offers targeted to it. It’s just too small. It would be like offers targeted to Mountain View or some other small suburban city.

That’s fine. As anyone who lives in these types of cities knows, you get offers instead targeted to your county, or to a nearby major city.

With Groupon, the county I live in — Orange County — gets targeted:

Hey Groupon — how about making it “Confirm Your Area” rather than city?

Over at LivingSocial, I can choose either North Orange County (you know, where Ryan from The OC was from, except Chino’s not really OC, but don’t get me going on The OC’s geography) or South Orange County:

For Newport Beach, it’s a toss up. We’re literally on the dividing line. We’d be better off with offers for Central Orange County or Coastal Orange County — but hey, I appreciate that LivingSocial is trying.

Google Offers Loves NY, Hates LA

So what do you have, Google?

OK, the population of New York City is 8 million, so I suppose it’s awesome you manage to offer it three options, Downtown, Midtown and Uptown.

But Los Angeles County has a population of 9 million, is far more spread-out than New York City, and you’ve got offers (supposedly — I’ll get back to this) for only two areas there: Los Angeles and Long Beach. Orange County, with its 3 million population, doesn’t get included at all.

That’s OK. I’m used to OC being lost in LA’s blaze of glory. As an OC native living behind the Orange Curtain, I’m not bitter. That’s just how it is.

Just What Does “Available” Mean?

Anyhoo, back in early September, I signed up for the Long Beach offers, since that was listed as one of the “Coming Soon” cities back then:

It’s been silent ever since. Today, my first ever offer from doing that came through, telling me about the REI deal. And it turns out — despite Long Beach now being listed as “Available” on the Google Offers site — this was still a “sneak peak” along with a notice that “we haven’t launched Google Offers in your city quite yet.”

Fine, I can use this, either online or at one of the many REIs near me. But look, Google, if you’re going to list a city as “Available” — as you do for Long Beach now, then it really should be available, not listed a big blank nothing when you go to review Recent Offers:

I’m also pretty sure I also signed up to be notified when offers were available in my real area, the one not even listed, by entering my ZIP code. That resulted in nothing today. And yes, I checked with Google. Anyone who entered a ZIP code to be notified for offers for a non-available city got nothing. What a mistake. What a missed opportunity.

Overall, I’m feeling a little mislead, you listing Long Beach as available, when it’s not, as you also do for Los Angeles, Omaha, Charlotte, San Antonio and other “available” cities.

I’m also feeling a little forgotten. Because if you can list all these places as “available” even when they’re not, how about a nod to Orange County? Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties probably would like to have a word about your Southern California plans, as well.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Features: Analysis


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Kevin Pacheco

    “OK, the population of New York City is 8 million, so I suppose it’s awesome you manage to offer it three options [...]”

    Actually, we’ve got four options. Alas, there were “no recent offers in Brooklyn.”

  • Gretchen Nemechek

    Thanks for giving those of us in Santa Barbara a shout out, Danny. I feel your pain. And I love the idea of the national offers, especially since Santa Barbara is getting its first REI really soon.

  • emily j smith

    Interesting article! I think it’s good for Google to launch national offers – grow revenue without having to build out a massive salesforce. just posted an interesting blog comparing google national to groupon new york, putting things in perspective – i think google can be a major player they just have to commit.

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