Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea
When The Spa Upstairs started up, they ran a Living Social coupon for 50% off a facial and pedicure combo -- the coupon did great getting something like 500 new customers in a couple days. They've slowly paid for that outreach campaign with sweat by working off those 500 coupon deals, but they've gotten enough return business to make it worthwhile. And the coupon was structured to make just enough money that they didn't go broke servicing it.
The other day, however, the phone started ringing and people were asking to book an hour and a half massage for 30 bucks through something called "Sharingspree.com." Mind you, the spa wasn't running a coupon, and even if they were, they would never run something that would pay 15 bucks to a marketer and 15 bucks to the masseuse for an hour and a half of work.
The owner was pissed -- she had been cold called by Sharingspree.com a couple weeks earlier and turned down the offer to run the massage special. When she called them she got a long run around but eventually got them to retract the offer.
But then Sharingspree.com asked if she would honor the 30-40 coupons they had sold... Um. No.
This put the spa in an awkward position. There were now 30-40 people out there who felt ripped off and, even if the wrong place to direct that frustration, their frustration was wrapped up with the Spa Upstairs.
And, I kind of have to think that was the idea behind whoever pushed that coupon through. Cue the Mafioso voice... "Now, we wouldn't want youse guys to be annoying none of dem fine customers of yours, would we?" In other words, pay them and avoid a customer service nightmare that Sharingspree.com caused.
Whether it was an overzealous sales person, an accidental miscommunication or full on fraud by the company doesn't really matter. At the very least, Sharingspree.com should have not have tried to keep their standard commission on the coupon. To be a good company, they should have also honored their coupon to their customers and then paid the spa full rate for the massages they sold.
Instead, from what the spa owner told me, they seemed honestly surprised that the masseuses were unhappy that some stranger tried take 75% of a service fee out of their pocket.
I'm sure they didn't think of it as stealing at all...