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Monday, 09 July 2012 15:06

The Use of Groupon in Dentistry

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Not all ground-breaking ideas use cutting-edge technology.  Groupon is a website that was launched in 2008 and allowed merchants to cheaply advertise cut-rate deals to interested shoppers.  The technology used had been around for more than 20 years – email.  Andrew Mason saw the marriage of limited quantity deals with simple to maintain mailing lists and created a billion-dollar company.  

You can measure the success of an enterprise by the number of imitators it spawns and Groupon has spawned many. launched in 2009, while Google, Facebook and Foursquare now have Groupon-like offerings.

Another measure of success – people became addicted to Groupon and its brethren and were enamored with the deals, purchase them but failing to redeem the offer.  According to a recent article, about 20 percent of purchased coupons go unused. 

One man’s addiction is another man’s business opportunity.  Websites such as Lifesta and DealsGoRound connects people who have purchased coupons they won’t use with someone willing to buy the coupon.  Lifesta charges 99 cents per transaction plus an 8 percent commission for this service.

So, what connection does this have with dentistry?  Occasionally I would receive a dental Groupon offering a half-off deal for teeth cleaning, exams, whitening and various other services.  I thought this was an interesting use of the Groupon phenomena and was likely to bring in new patients. 

Could we create a mechanism that would allow a dentist to easily identify open appointment slots as “Groupon Deal Worth” and have these automatically issued through one of these discounting services?

I floated this idea in an article in our weekly newsletter.  An informed client said that I might want to run this by the Oregon Board of Dentistry.  According to the board, they had determined that “these (Groupon deals) would violate the unprofessional conduct rule – offering rebates, split fees or commissions for services”. 

One person’s right click is another person’s unprofessional conduct.


Read 2755 times Last modified on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 14:37


  • Comment Link Bill Wednesday, 15 August 2012 08:43 posted by Bill

    Haven't seen this at any of the fairs I've attended. I'll have to pay closer attention. Did they offer any "fair" specials?

  • Comment Link Karyn Monday, 13 August 2012 10:32 posted by Karyn

    I find it very interesting the new methods offices are using to market their practices. Regardless of the OBD standards set forth, I still see dental Groupon advertisements come through on my email for Oregon. Another new marketing strategy I noticed was booths set up at a Washington fair in the vendor area. I think this is the first year I have seen dental offices market in this way and I couldn't resist asking how their response was. There were 3 offices with booths and they all said they get a great response at fair events. Different target clientele, but still marketing their practices. Being from the dental field myself, I prefer the referral method from existing patients; nothing says more than that!

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