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LivingSocial Starts to Target By the Hour

LivingSocial is exploring the possibilities of aiming its mobile daily deals offers within a certain time frame. It is running a pilot project in the Washington, DC area that gives marketers leeway to decide what time of day they should run their promotions, according to Mobile Commerce.

The Lunch Time Crowds

Both Groupon and Foursquare have been eyeing the lunchtime crowd as well - or at least consumers who are mobile and open to receiving a daily deal at a certain hour that is set to expire shortly. Groupon is about to roll out an offering called Groupon Now, a service that offers coupons good only during certain hours for nearby consumers. Foursquare, for its part, recently included a recommendation engine in its upgrade to 3.0 that can be tailored to small distances.

Groupon Now is based on two simple buttons - "I'm Hungry" and "I'm Bored" - both which will pull up deals from nearby restaurants, often with a expiration time hours away. Such an offering will be a welcome marketing tool for local restaurants, Groupon Now's president Rob Solomon, Groupon's president, told Business Week, as it will help eliminate perishable inventory such as food ingredients or otherwise idle labor hours.

"If we get this right," Solomon says, "we are going to influence what tens of millions of people are buying at a frequency that we have never seen before."

It is a concept on which LivingSocial has also seized. "This new mobile initiative will help drive customers through the doors exactly when needed," said John Bax, chief financial officer of LivingSocial, Chicago. "Businesses can create a big campaign and pick the time they want to offer the deals. (via Mobile Commerce).

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