Groupon has been saving consumers tons of dollars on their favorite activities and bringing unknown businesses new clientele for a little over a year now with its daily web deals. The idea has spawned a number of spinoff websites, and one site in particular, blackmark-it.com, is dedicated specifically to black-owned businesses.
Christopher Nolen, an independent film director and producer calls the site the African American Community’s Groupon. “It’s a great way to give African-American business owners some notoriety and help them in this economy, says Nolen who immediately signed up for the site when he came across it.
“As a business owner and filmmaker, it’s incredible when I see other African-Americans helping each other in business. We need more of that.”
Officially launched today, the first deal featured on the site is a discount for 40 percent off tax-preparation services by Emerging Business Solutions Group, LLC in Chicago. This deal will run for one week, as will the next three, then after the first month, the website’s creators plan to offer two deals per week and gradually increase to daily deals.
“We’re setting maximums (of deals) as low as 25 to 50 to make sure the merchants can meet the demand, and then we can revisit growth strategies,” says Natasha Williams, a marketing consultant at The Nielsen Company. She started the site with her husband Jamel, a truck driver who also manages their catering business, Covenant Café. “For many minority-owned businesses, advertising feels like more risk than a gain,” she says.
To help black business owners balance that risk, blackmark-it will only take 20-40 percent of the revenue from each deal, depending on the deal’s amount, the quantity sold, and other factors. In comparison, most daily deal sites take half of the cut. More than offering discounts on beauty services at nail salons and spas, or savings on meals at restaurants, the site also offers deals on professional photography services as well as books by up-and-coming authors.
Right now, the deals are mostly available in Chicago due to its high number of black-owned businesses but the couple plans to extend to other cities. This could be a great tool for minority businesses trying to get off the ground.
Do you support black-owned businesses? Would you check out blackmark-it.com?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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