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March 11, 2011

Living Social Launches LivingSocial Instant Deals,

It seems daily-deal sites are going upscale.After getting started on small-ticket items Living Social  yesterday had announced the launch of two new markets including the San Francisco Bay Peninsula and Sugar Land/Katy, TX.  LivingSocial is currently available in more than 200 markets in 11 countries with more than 20 million subscribers worldwide.LivingSocial,, has started a pilot program that lets customers use their smartphone’s location-sensing abilities to find deals around them.

T
he service, called LivingSocial Instant Deals, launched today and is initially available only in some neighborhoods of the company’s home base of Washington, D.C. Customers who update LivingSocial’s iPhone or Android app today will see a new category called Instant Deal
s. These highlight nearby deals that are usually for a much shorter term than the company’s regular offers, which are live for 24 hours and then can be redeemed for six to 12 months.

Meanwhile Recently LivingSociaoffered a $10,000 coupon for a penthouse-suite package at San Francisco's Fairmont hotel:

LivingSocial and its larger rival Groupon Inc. are pursuing buyers willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on travel and luxury goods. 

The move upmarket is putting Groupon and LivingSocial on the same turf as travel companies such as Travelocity.com Inc. and Expedia Inc., as well as luxury sites like Gilt City. Daily-deal sites also are trying to grab more of the money heading to Amazon.com Inc. and other e-commerce stores. A typical daily-deal user pays $20 to $50 on the specials—far less than the average of $100 per transaction spent at online retailers, according to Forrester Research Inc. We are finding that people move up and down between categories: Sometimes they want a sandwich, and sometimes, a $100 meal," Rob Solomon, president of Groupon, said in an interview. "There's a lot of interest in the luxury category." 

That means offering high-end hotel rooms, airfare discounts, cruise specials and wine tastings. In the future, Groupon and LivingSocial also may sell computers, air-conditioning tune-ups and golf lessons

Groupon,the biggest Competitor which spurned  Google's Offer of buying them out , has already sold $499 Dutch bicycles and $2,000 Lasik surgery. LivingSocial's Fairmont deal in February, which offered a 50 percent discount on a $20,000 suite and additional perks, was its most expensive deal ever. The promotion included a one-night stay at the hotel's 6,000- square-foot penthouse and a one-day rental of a Maserati Quattroporte. LivingSocial, based in Washington, D.C., sold 115 coupons for the offer.