Google, Valpak Form Partnership to Offer Local Coupons Online

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Consumers will be able to receive local Valpak printable coupons online through a partnership that began Aug. 15 between Valpak and Google Inc.

Under the partnership, the search giant will pair its Google Maps service with Valpak.com's local merchants, allowing people surfing the Web for a local merchant to also get a discount coupon displayed on Google Maps search results and business listing pages.

These coupons can be printed directly from a computer and redeemed at a store location or local business.

"We're very pleased to be the launch partner with Google to offer Valpak's print-at-home online coupons to more consumers and to give Valpak merchants valuable enhanced distribution tied to their existing listing on Google Maps." said Todd Leiser, vice president and general manager for Valpak.com, Valpak's online coupon portal. "Valpak's blue envelope has been a North American institution for nearly 40 years and has the type of real consumer value that is perfect to support Google's mission statement of organizing the world's information."

Here's an example of how the service works: consumers can go to Google's home page, type into the search box "pizza restaurants near Manhattan," and it will take the searcher to a page listing all of the pizza restaurants near Manhattan. Those that have a Valpak coupon associated with its listing on Google will have a link that says "coupon." Consumers can print out the coupons and redeem them at the local business.

Valpak.com's database of more than 20,000 coupons from any of the Valpak merchants that participate in Valpak.com will be able to be printed directly from Google, according to Mr. Leiser. New coupons from Valpak merchants are added on a nightly basis to ensure the most recent offers are available. Neighborhood merchants include pizzerias, auto shops, dry cleaners, handymen and other small businesses and companies. There are roughly between 12,000 and 13,000 merchants on Valpak.com.

The deal does not alter Valpak's online offerings. Consumers can still sign on to Valpak.com directly and print out coupons, Mr. Leiser said.

The partnership is a way to enhance the coupon's digital distribution, he said.

"The benefit for the merchant is increased distribution," he said adding, "We are enabling our Valpak.com merchants to get exposure for their coupons on a major search engine."

Google's benefit is that they have immediate enhanced content for their searchers. "So, instead of just a map and an address and phone number, there is a call-to-action,"Mr. Leiser said.

The coupon service is the latest in a string of deals that Google has struck with media giants like the Associated Press, Viacom and News Corp., owner of Mysapce.com.

The deal with Valpak will not involve any revenue sharing, unlike Google's agreement to distribute ad-supported content from Viacom's MTV Networks or to provide targeted text-based ads to Web sites such as MySpace.com.

It also will allow both retailers and Google to increase their knowledge about how the Internet drives traffic to stores, Mr. Leiser said. Currently, Google's advertising business is measured by the number of times a person clicks on an ad, which is an opaque way of measuring consumer interest. By tracking the clicks, the number of printed coupons and the number of people who bring those coupons into the store, companies will be able to better understand how the Internet influences consumer behavior.

In addition, Google AdWords advertisers can use coupons through the Local Business Center. In the coming months, AdWords advertisers will be able to drive traffic to their coupons on Google Maps. By driving additional traffic to their coupons the advertiser can reach more customers.

Coupons are available in Google Maps at no cost to businesses and consumers. Businesses simply log into the Local Business Center at Google Maps to enter in coupon information www.google.com/local/add .

In addition, businesses can easily add or update their local business listings on Google Maps from the Local Business Center. Once coupon information is entered, the coupon is displayed on Google Maps within hours. Businesses do not need a Web site to participate.

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