“Even though Crowdsavings is one of the leading group buying sites on the mainland, they are committed to our hyper-local focus to help support local businesses and introduce them to the great residents of Hawaii,” says PLAYHawaii.com co-founder Jon Sugihara. “While we are sad to not be involved in the day-to-day business of the site, we are still committed to making sure it always brings the best deals and service.”
The PLAYHawaii site now sends people to a PLAYHawaii page on CrowdSavings.com. And the Twitter account has been renamed to @CS_Honolulu. When I posted to Twitter about the acquisition, the account replied: “Like all things, the only constant is change. The people of PLAYHawaii will stay as long as it’s still island style.”
It was just over a year ago that I blogged that “Hawaii group buying is hitting its stride.” And that was before Groupon jumped into the fray. In February, three separate services jumped into the local fray.
But as with all “next big things,” reality eventually settles in. Once unstoppable Groupon has been struggling to complete its IPO, with competitor LivingSocial closing in fast. Locally, VoteOnDeals ended its “beta phase,” the startup by Andrew Sato and Jason Ching sending people to Vegas-based PickOnDeals instead.
While Kanu Values, Qmania, and the Star-Advertiser’s Hot Deals Hawaii still offer deals, it’s safe to say the buzz surrounding these offerings has faded considerably. The market will probably continue to consolidate as only the strongest players persevere and continue to draw deal-seekers.
What’s next for the team behind PLAYHawaii?
“Andrew and I will be focusing on our company in Asia and hope to launch it in Hawaii soon as well,” Sugihara says.
What company is that? His email signature helpfully describes him as president and co-founder of Perx. Though there’s just a signup page right now, the footer notes a connection to a service called MAIPLAY Indonesia, which apparently is (or was) also a daily deal site.