Groupon, the incredibly successful deal-of-the-day website that unites people under the banner of collective coupon purchasing, has a new mission: uniting people to make babies.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week, CEO Andrew Mason announced the launch of Grouspawn, a dating site for Groupon users. But wait, there's more. Any couple that can prove they were first brought together by a shared Groupon deal -- photographs with a newspaper showing the date will suffice -- is eligible for a $60,000 college scholarship for their Groupon baby. The site plans to give out two scholarships every year. And it's retroactive! (Nobody has applied yet.)
My first thought when I heard about the launch was the same as most everybody else: This has to be a joke. A nice public relations move, but a joke. Now, I'm not so sure. I mean, it's definitely a publicity stunt -- Groupon is really good at that. But it has the potential to be so much more.
When he read about Grouspawn on TechCrunch, Vince PeGan, 24, also thought it was a joke. "When I browsed around the site and found out it was real, it made the concept even more hilarious," he told me.
I took a bit more convincing than that. The site looks like an advertisement from the 60s, all primary colors and floral print fabrics. And it's full of jokes. On the FAQ page: "Q: What does this cost? A: Nothing. Grouspawn's dating service, like love, is literally worthless." These style and design choices led the Wall Street Journal and other outlets to dismiss the service. But they're just an extension of the fun-loving spirit that has made Groupon a success.