Kevin Rose Calls LivingSocial a Sell-out, Affluent Customers Not Loving McDonald's Deal

Like Groupon, LivingSocial isn't afraid to go mass-market with its daily deals. It sold 1.4M $10 for $20 at Amazon deals, selling out in 29 hours in January. The Washington, DC-based company topped that performance by selling out its 1M $10-for-$20 Whole Foods deals in September in 14 hours (about 70K deals per hour).

You'd think $13 for $26 worth of McDonald's Big Macs and large fries that never expires might be similarly popular (LivingSocial is promoting the deal as a holiday gift), but its customers are lukewarm at best, buying just 268K out of 1M available deals as of 1pm PT today with 13 hours still remaining. We're not surprised that LivingSocial extended the deal, which started yesterday, to today.

LivingSocial customer and serial entrepreneur Kevin Rose tweeted yesterday that LivingSocial -- a company he "enjoyed" -- sold out with the McDonald's deal, later adding, "Last @LivingSocial tweet: we all make our own decisions, I get it.. I just expected more from them, it doesn't always have to be about the $."

Rose, whose latest effort is the Oink app that lets people rate things, pointed out in an earlier tweet that the McDonald's deal contradicts LivingSocial's mission of "pursuing both the things that define a place and the undiscovered jewels."

He told entrepreneur Brenden Mulligan, who'd tweeted that a deal for one McD's meal would have been okay, "it's just sad given that there are a ton of 'local' burger shops using quality meat they could have promoted."

Votizen co-founder Jason Putorti tweeted a question that's on our minds, too: "Was that #brandkill from @livingsocial this morning? Or was it just to get us talking? #discuss."

The reason for the deal's relatively slow sales appears to be LivingSocial's demographics, which are far better aligned with those of Whole Foods than McDonald's. According to Nielsen ratings in March, 46% of LivingSocial users hold a bachelor's or postgraduate degree -- compared to 25% of all internet users -- and nearly 50% make $150K per year. Groupon's customers are not substantially different but they are less affluent: 39% have at least a bachelor's degree while 30% make more than $150K per year. [ See screen shots of demographic statistics below. ]

LivingSocial reports having more than 34M members in the United States and 46M globally. The number of vouchers bought worldwide is 22M -- meaning over 10% have been for Amazon and Whole Foods depending on when LivingSocial last updated its stats.

Groupon has yet to offer a deal with a national fast food chain. The closest we found was a deal for Chick-fil-A in Orange County, CA, in September ($8 for up to $17 value), which sold over 5K. Groupon's best-selling fast food deal was in Hong Kong, where Triple O's sold 70K burgers in 72 hours in January.


LivingSocial users are in the Pacific and South Atlantic regions.