Chicago's newest entrant to the daily deals game comes with a twist: no commitment. ScoutMob, which debuted in Atlanta, New York, and San Francisco last year, launched here and in nine other U.S. cities yesterday. Rather than making users buy a coupon up front, as Groupon and its many competitors do, ScoutMob allows you to "claim" deals for free online or via smartphone app; it'll then send the deal to your phone, which you can flash at the store or restaurant. (There's also an option to have it e-mailed to you so you can print it out.)
ScoutMob also claims to use a model that's friendlier to small businesses than other sites. Groupon has been getting some bad press for the as much as 50 percent-or-so cut it takes from the stores it works with, which often come away with just 25 percent of the full price of what they sold. ScoutMob, on the other hand, charges $2 for each customer it brings in. Reuters reports that at least one business owner has been happy with it:
Mark Kelly, co-owner of New York restaurant Tree, has tried more than a dozen daily deal sites and has been impressed by both the kind of clientele Scoutmob brings in and its low cost.
“In my experience the people on Scoutmob spent more than the people who came to us through Groupon,” said Kelly, 32, who launched the East Village bistro with his cousin at the start of the recession four years ago. He added they’ve used Scoutmob twice in the last six months and both deals combined will potentially bring in more than 2,000 customers.