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If anyone can spot a deal, it is Groupon’s founders. They’ve invested in a startup that finds the best deals on products groups of people actually want.Obaz (short for online bazaar) is backed by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell’s venture firm, Lightbank. It goes back and forth with merchants to negotiate the best deal on anything you post.
Here’s how it works:
Post a product you’d like to buy, wait for 25 people to join the group, and let the haggling begin. Obaz contacts merchants and works with them to find a group discount. The bigger the group, the bigger the discount. Group members don’t have to be in the same location either.
According to TechCrunch, the price negotiating site seems to work. So far it has gotten users $300 off a Nikon camera kit and 50% off a GMAT course.
Until the site has scale though, most deals probably won’t reach the 25-person tipping point. Even then, there are no guarantees that you’ll get an awesome discount.
If you want something quickly, Obaz may not be the best solution. If you’re willing to wait for a steal, then it could be worthwhile.