Don’t forget the “other” daily deal providers; the little guys

Don't forget the "other" daily deal providers; the little guys

All too often we write about the top daily deal companies in Canada as representative of the whole industry. In doing so we often ignore the great strides and accomplishments that some of the smaller players in the industry have produced. These smaller players should be paid attention to more often by the industry and certainly by consumers.

Many offer great deals and services to consumers. They simply have not been able to scale to the size of the top 5 daily deal sites in the country due to numerous reasons, most of which is funding or timing. The top daily deal companies in Canada are of course Groupon, Teambuy/Dealfind, Wagjag, Tuango and Living Social. So here is our tip of the hat to the following smaller deal companies. In their own way, impacting the overall deals industry in Canada.




Buytopia: The largest of the “other” deal providers. Buytopia leads the back behind the top 5 in the industry. They have fought, battled, worked with great merchants, even some great national retailers and are in a good position to break into the top 5 (passing Living Social) if they are able to keep growing over the next year or so. What I like about Buytopia is their ability to craft an all inclusive marketing campaign specific for their retail partners.



Goyub: They are the 3rd largest provider in Quebec after Tuango and Groupon. Never heard of them? I am not surprised. They rarely get media attention and have slowly built a strong business. They are very strong in the french communities and are continuing their quest to expand.



Citylinked: Another top deal provider in Quebec. They are probably #4 or #5 in Quebec battling it out with Teambuy for that position. What I like about Citylinked is their focus on style, on chic, on trendy. Very rarely will you find something promoted that is not of high quality. They are very good at offering deals on merchants that you will not find on other deal sites.




Dealathons: Dealathons has impressed me because of their complete determination. They refuse to give up, refuse to not be successful. You have to admire that from their team. David Magizzinich has done a great job growing the business from start to expansion, to managing a growth crisis last year into a flourishing outfit this year.  They are tenacious and are actually looking forward to growing even larger over the upcoming year. Very good to see.


astralAstral Radio Deals: Astral Radio Deals is the most successful deals program coming out of a radio based service. Every Wednesday, across the country, Astral’s team publishes numerous deals in a local city. Their program works a little different than most Daily Deal providers in that they pay the merchants working with them with advertising credits above and beyond the value of the revenue they would otherwise earn. This works well for merchants who are already advertising with Astral properties or who are planning to, plus consumers get better quality merchants. Astral has done a masterful job growing the service with minimal staff, leveraging their existing team. What I would like to see from them, however, are online deals so they can provide national merchant deals and also introduce a revenue stream that they are presently missing.



Social Shopper: Social Shopper has established itself as a stylish, chic shopping experience. They have grown to focus on 3 cities on the west coast and have truly established themselves as a key player in Vancouver. Their service has always been associated with design, style, quality merchants and we would expect further growth from them using that formula.



Ethical Deal: Where others focus on general services and merchandise, Ethical Deal decided to focus on the healthy life, the healthy lifestyle. Their deals focus on celebrating merchants and consumers who choose a “green”, organic, eco friendly or health focused path. A difficult niche? Yes. But if done well, building the right network and with quality merchants, then it can be done successfully. Oh, and being eco friendly, and certainly eating super foods and organic foods can put a nice dent in the bank account. So thank goodness for Ethical Deal on helping Canadians save money on products and services that feel good and are good for you.  We would love to see them take their service to more cities.


maddealMad Deal: Now, Mad Deal is a name that most people probably saw but never really paid attention to. They should. They are listed with most deal aggregators and produce a fair amount of deals. They have consistently offered the market deals and support over the past couple of years. They have a good mix of product sales and local deals however they are more focused on their service and making sure their consumers are looked after. This has enabled them to grow consistently over the past couple of years and they continue to do so.


couvonCouvon: The folks at Couvon have made it a point to offer their fellow Victoria consumers a chance at shopping locally for far less. Couvon, like many, could have tried to expand quickly to other cities. However the decided to focus on Victoria. Although Couvon is run by a lean team, they have been able to focus on giving Victoria consumers support and service that has thus far brought success. Couvon would like to expand to Vancouver and other cities and I am sure would be open to conversations with the right partners.


mtlarabaisMtlarabais: This Montreal based deal provider has been there from the start a few years back and has consistently fought the larger providers like Groupon, Tuango, Citylinked, Teambuy and Goyub for repsect, merchants and consumer attention. They’re determination and online/social marketing efforts have paid off and have thus far grown to be a viable choice for merchants when selecting a deal marketing partner.



redpocketThe Red Pocket: An interesting service, simply by the fact that it caters to the Asian community in Vancouver only. It does not simply promote general merchants to the Asian community, it promotes Asian based merchants that would be of interest to the community. Of course, scale and national growth is not the primary focus of this service. Nevertheless, it is nice to see a community based focus doing well.


These are but some examples of smaller providers in the deals industry in Canada. There are many, many others. The goal was not to highlight all of them. Rather, to highlight those that are having strong success or focusing on a specific feature. If you know of any others that you feel should be included, please include them in the comment section.





  1. Hi gang! Smart Betty is another ‘little guy’ daily deal provider that you should check out. We support our local communities with every purchase by donating 10% of our revenues to a charity of the buyers choice. I’m the franchise owner for Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. In Q4 2012 we raised ~$5,000 for our 30 local charity partners. We’ve spent the week delivering cheques to our partners with the largest being $1,000 for the Kelowna Food Bank.

    We’re trying to make a difference at the local level through our platform and our brand is building.

    If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email or call me at: 250 801 1881.

    Thanks to the CDA for writing about us ‘little guys’!


  2. Like Bruce, I am also a Smart Betty franchisee and I’ve been operating in Burlington and Hamilton Ontario for more than 15 months now. I just wanted to add that not only do we give 10% of our revenue to charities, but schools are also illegible to use Smart Betty for fundraising and we’ve signed up a number of schools in this area since we recently gained approval from the school board.
    905 257 8789