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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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Case Study: Product Sales Applications

For our second case study, we will look at an application type that is quite different from the social gaming examples we just discussed.

Arriving on the scene in the past few years, companies like Groupon and Living Social (as well as many others) have built large empires around the idea of offering goods and services to users at a heavily discounted price.

We’ll explore the experiences that these companies deliver in the following sections, looking at the components that make these “daily deal” applications so successful.

It’s not all about games

Many of us have probably seen an oversaturation of games on the social networking sites we frequent, but it needs to be said: it’s not all about the games. In fact, numerous productivity and product sales applications have raised millions in funding for their companies. These applications, which are inherently social and make users’ day-to-day lives easier, can be just as popular as those in the gaming space. They succeed by providing:

  • A solution to a problem in users’ lives

  • A way for users to get answers about something that they can’t get elsewhere (i.e., shared social experiences)

  • A product that improves the way that users normally do something

These are just a few of the reasons why people use productivity and sales applications.

Taking an old idea and making it new

What makes Groupon such a wonderful product is that it takes a very old, embedded societal invention—coupons—and updates it for today’s social ...

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