The head of an Australian SEO firm accredited by Google as only one of only a hand full of authorised AdWords resellers worldwide predicts the newest group buying offers from both Google and Facebook may be here within the next three months.

Ben Bradshaw, who is chief executive of the SEO firm SponsoredLinX and appeared on the SmartCompany Hot 30 Under 30, also says the new Google Wallet technology will be available sooner than people realise.

“I can’t go into detail on many things but from the information I’ve received from being in the game, I think it is within months that we are going to see these,” he says.

“They are certainly coming, the technology is internationalised and not designed for one particular country. There is no reason why it can’t expand into Australia.”

Google launches its new Offers program this week on a trial basis in Portland, Oregon. The program works similarly to Groupon and other group buying sites, with consumers able to download deals from merchants and redeem them at physical stores.

Facebook Deals has already launched in several countries, but is not yet available in Australia. But Bradshaw thinks it will be here earlier than expected.

“Based on the information I’ve received, being freely available and from being in the industry, I think we’ll start seeing systems rolled out.”

Such expansion could prove harmful to group buying giant Groupon, which today filed for an IPO rumoured to value the company at over $US20 billion.

In its filing Groupon remarks that it suffered heavy losses due to international expansion and subscriber growth – it has moved into dozens of countries fairly rapidly. It also lists Google and Facebook by name, saying it will increasingly compete against the pair as they offer coupon deals.

But as Bradshaw points out, Google and Facebook have infrastructure that is already internationalised; opening deals and offers into new territories will cost them much less than if Groupon decides to do the same.

“They’re only testing right now,” he says, “and it’s a small rollout process, but they’ve done it in a particular way that it can expand internationally without many problems.”

Bradshaw says companies need to be prepared. There is massive potential in running deals with these two companies, with millions of users already familiar with Google and Facebook infrastructure.

But he points out the Google Wallet technology, which will allow users to make payments via near field communication technology on smartphones, will fit in well with existing contactless payments already available in Australia.

“I think it will change business as we know it. You’re going to have prepaid funds in a Google account, and linked up to a credit card, and merchants are going to be able to accept funds wherever you go. If it did come to Australia – which I believe will be within the next three months – this will revolutionise the economy.”

“Not only will it change the way businesses work but it will change the way they market and dramatically change the way they buy products as well.”

While Bradshaw says there isn’t much Australian businesses can do to prepare before official announcements are made, he believes they need to be aware of how the market will change when these platforms arrive.

“I just think businesses need to be aware of it. You’ve got to play your cards right, and certainly I believe they will both be in Australia a lot sooner than the current media releases are saying.”

“Combined with the growth of mobile and smartphones and so on, it’s pretty huge stuff.”

Read the full article at: http://www.smartcompany.com.au/information-technology/20110603-new-social-media-group-buying-platforms-coming-to-australia-within-months-accredited-google-adwords-seller-claims.html

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