When it comes to group buying daily deal sites, two key things that influence your decision to buy now is how many other people have bought the deal and how much time you have left. Obviously if you wanted a deal and thought it was going to run out soon, you would of course make the decision to buy it now.

In China it is widely known that many of these group-buying sites manipulate some of these numbers to persuade potential customers to buy as soon as possible. Although many people have come to accept this practice as normal, some group buying sites diligently try to defend their reputation and gain respect from the public.  So much so that  some group-buying sites explicitly say their numbers are genuine and not misleading.

The example below is from Noumi.com, one of the largest group buying daily deal sites in China. If you look at the yellow box, it translates to “True sales number. We never fake sales numbers.”

Under Noumi.com’s commitment section, they try to assure people their deals are totally legitimate with nice badges of authenticity. How can you not trust the badge?

*Note – Google translated

I’m not sure if fair trading law exists in China, that says ‘you must not mislead’ customers, but until there is one that is successfully implemented and enforced, I guess all we can believe is the shiny badge of approval.

We commented before that Groupon China should understand how to run the business and be localized in China. The Fake-Number culture is obviously something they need think over.

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area. More by Jason Lim

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9 Comments

  1. 99% of the group buying sites in China fake the sales numbers. Its a known fact by all. Even the software most use have this feature inbuilt. Som say say its an industry norm to create Hype  and so that visitors make impulse buy. The truth is that some sites don’t even have 500 unique visitors and they list 10~20 deals on average. But the sales figures of each deal go from few hundrend to thousands. If we go by displayed BUY numbers of each deals site, by now biggies should be grossing revenues in several hundred millions.

    Groupon.cn has done a innovation with this of recent. Now they don’t say how many people actualy buy.  Before the figures used to be  No. of deals bought, now modified as  No. of times deal was viewed including buying. A very smart move.

    1. Chinese sites have taken the sham to the next level. In the West almost all deals are set so that they are easily “tipped”–if I were a customer, I’d be highly annoyed if I bought a deal and then it didn’t go through.

      But in China many of the numbers are just completely made up. It’s just a fraudulent game mechanic that creates urgency to share for some unaware users.

      I think the answer to the title question is, “not really.”

    2. Ridiculous. I hope there will be more transparency and accuracy in the near future. 

  2. Thanks for the post.This is very informative information for me.It is widely known that many of these group-buying sites manipulate some of these numbers to persuade potential customers to buy as soon as possible.Keep sharing in future.

  3. This article is very important for  guiding the peoples.In china some group buying sites diligently try to defend their reputation and gain respect from the public.  Keep it up with the new information.

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