Head to a major local newspaper site and chances are you’ll see an ad for a group-buying site like Groupon or LivingSocial. But, while some newspapers — including, notably those owned by McClatchy, as well as the Washington Post — are partnering with existing group-buying startups in order to feature daily deals, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, along with a few others, are launching their own daily deals services, using their existing sales teams.
The Star Tribune‘s service, which launched last week, is called STeals and offers one exclusive offer every day, which goes into effect if enough people sign up. The technology is powered by a startup called Shoutback, which has also been providing the white-label platform that the San Diego Union-Tribune has been using to run its own daily deals service which debuted in April.
The Star Tribune‘s Jason Erdahl tells MinnPost that in launching STeals, the paper is betting that it can leverage its existing relationships with local advertisers to “better build deals and integrated sales programs” than the daily deal startups can. Erdahl tells us that the company hopes to launch targeted deals soon “based on the knowledge we have about our users.” He says the newspaper believes it can generate about $500,000 a year from STeals.
The Star Tribune is joining a growing list of publishers that have decided to cut out the daily deal middle man. Wedding company TheKnot, for instance, launched its own Groupon-like program earlier this month, as did WhitePages.com. And, just today, yellow pages publisher Yellowbook said it would launch a group-dealing service called Weforia in three of its markets.