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LivingSocial logo.
Type of site
Electronic commerce
Available in English and others (for 27 countries)
Owner LivingSocial Inc.
Created by Tim O'Shaughnessy, Aaron Batalion, Eddie Frederick, Val Aleksenko
Revenue $536,000,000 (2012) [1] $57,000,000 (2015) [2]
Alexa rank Negative increase 2,465 (July 2016)[3]
Commercial Yes
Launched June 29, 2007; 9 years ago (2007-06-29)[4] (as Hungry Machine)
Current status Active

LivingSocial is an online marketplace that allows its registered users to buy and share things to do in their city.[5] Headquartered in Washington, D.C., in 2013 LivingSocial had roughly 70 million members around the world.[1] The company shrank from a peak of 4,500 employees in 2011 to about 200 in 2016.[6][7]


LivingSocial was founded as Hungry Machine in 2007 by four employees from Revolution Health Group.[8] The company's first major application was their Visual Bookshelf application on Facebook which allowed users to catalog and share their favorite books with friends.[9] Later, the company released PickYourFive and other Polls applications, making LivingSocial the number one application developer on Facebook as measured by page views.[10] After acquiring in 2009, LivingSocial launched a daily deals website, which since has become its highest grossing venture to date.[11][12]

It was reported that the company had raised $800 million and was valued at $4.5 billion. In 2011, it generated $238 million in revenue but lost $499 million.[7] In 2012 a class action lawsuit was filed against LivingSocial with respect to the expiry of deals, following a similar action against Groupon.[13] A provisional settlement was reached in November 2012.[14]

In 2012, the Government of the District of Columbia offered the company a number of tax breaks and incentives to open offices and hire workers in Washington, DC. However, a year later the company did not reach the size it needed to be for the tax breaks to kick in, as it had begun laying off workers and subleased offices it purchased earlier.[15] It also announced it was changing its focus from daily deals to a web site and mobile app.

On April 26, 2013 it was announced that LivingSocial's database had been hacked, affecting 50 million registered users. The announcement stated that credit card information was stored in a separate database and was not compromised, but that user information including passwords, previously encrypted by LivingSocial as a precaution, had been exposed.[16][17] On May 1, 2013, the Attorneys Generals of Connecticut and Maryland Attorney sent a joint letter to LivingSocial requesting additional information about the incident, as well as more details about the company's data management policies and procedures.[18]

In November 2013, LivingSocial's website went down for nearly 48 hours after a database error.[19]

In 2014 it laid off 400 employees,[20] and in 2015 laid off 200[21] putting it at about 800 employees, down from a peak of 4,500 in 2011.[7] In 2016, it laid off half of its remaining workforce.[6]

The Washington Post reported that its growth and subsequent decline was similar to AOL's, and that many laid off or departed workers formed new tech companies in LivingSocial's home city of Washington, DC.[22] After the layoffs, the Washington Business Journal reported that the company was "betting its survival" on a new restaurant program.[23]

Leadership Changes[edit]

Since its founding, LivingSocial has undergone many leadership changes. In March 2012, co-founder Eddie Frederick stepped down as President and from the Board of Directors.[24] A year later in March 2013, co-founder and CTO Aaron Batalion stepped down from his post.[25] Most recently, in January 2014, LivingSocial's CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy announced his resignation, remaining CEO until a replacement was named.[26] In July 2014, it was announced that Gautam Thakar, the then-CEO of at eBay, would succeed the position of CEO.[27]


  • In October 2010, LivingSocial announced acquisition of social adventure company Urban Escapes, which led to the launch of LivingSocial Escapes and LivingSocial Adventures.[28]
  • In November 2010, LivingSocial bought $5 million controlling stake in Australian social shopping site Jump On It. In March 2012, LivingSocial purchased Jump On it for $40 million.[29]
  • In January 2011, LivingSocial acquired a majority stake in LetsBonus, which now operates in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Launched in September 2009 in Barcelona, LetsBonus was an early operator of a collective buying service in Europe, particularly in the Spanish market.[30] It sold LetsBonus in 2015.[31]
  • In March 2011, LivingSocial acquired InfoEther, a Ruby/Rails consultancy.[32] Ruby on Rails is the framework upon which LivingSocial runs.[33]
  • In June 2011, Dubai Based GoNabit, an Arabic website for daily deals, was acquired by LivingSocial. GoNabit operates in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, and claims to have saved consumers more than $5m in 2010-2011.[citation needed] Group buying websites typically sign up a range of businesses to offer discounts, and take a percentage of the revenue.
  • In June 2011, LivingSocial acquired DealKeren, which offers daily deals in Indonesia, and its parent company Ensogo, which offer daily deals in Thailand and the Philippines. Officially launched in June 2010, Ensogo currently has more than 800,000 members.[citation needed] Ensogo claims that its members have saved more than $25 million USD in 2010-2011.[citation needed] Ensogo is backed by Rebate Networks, an international venture capital group specializing in social commerce.[34]
  • In August 2011, LivingSocial acquired TicketMonster for $350 million.[35] TicketMonster is one of the largest daily deal sites in South Korea and has an annualized run rate of $800 million in billings. In November 2013, LivingSocial sold TicketMonster to Groupon for $260 million.
  • In April 2012, ONOSYS, a mobile and online ordering provider, was acquired by LivingSocial. ONOSYS operates in Cleveland, Ohio, and services over 75 restaurant chains including Papa John's Pizza International Inc., Panera Bread, and Applebee's International Inc.[36]

Many of these acquisitions have since been sold.[7]


  1. ^ a b "LivingSocial Company Profile". Inc. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "LivingSocial cuts its Q4 loss but revenue down, expenses up". Washington Business Journal. Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  3. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  4. ^ " WHOIS, DNS, & Domain Info - DomainTools". WHOIS. Retrieved 2016-07-10. 
  5. ^ "Company Overview of LivingSocial, Inc.". Bloomberg. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Peterson, Andrea. "LivingSocial is laying off more than half of its workers". Washington Post. Washington Post. Retrieved 1 Sep 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d Issac, Mike and Benner, Katie. New York Times, Nov. 20, 2015. "LivingSocial Offers a Cautionary Tale to Today’s Unicorns". Accessed Sept. 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Empson, RIp. "Confirmed: LivingSocial Co-founder Eddie Frederick Steps Down From Leadership, Board". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Hart, Kim. "LivingSocial Takes Top Spot Among Facebook Apps - Post I.T. - A Technology Blog From The Washington Post - (". Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  10. ^ "LivingSocial Becomes the Largest Facebook Application Ever". Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  11. ^ McCarthy, Caroline. "BuyYourFriendaDrink gets bought". CNet. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Yarow, Jay. "Exclusive Q&A with LivingSocial CEO". Business Insider. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  13. ^ Washington Business Journal
  14. ^ Kamenetz, Anya. "LivingSocial Ordered to Pay $4.1 Million to Settle Class Action Suit". Fast Company. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  15. ^ O'Connell, Jonathan. The Washington Post, Oct. 6, 2013. "LivingSocial has yet to reach hiring and other goals to claim D.C. tax breaks. Accessed Sept. 1, 2015.
  16. ^ "Living Social Database Hacked; 50 Million customers impacted". Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  17. ^ Dan Goodin (April 27, 2013). "Why LivingSocial's 50-million password breach is graver than you may think". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  18. ^ Radke, Bruce A.; Michael J. Waters (May 16, 2013). "Letter from Attorneys General to LivingSocial Can Serve as Guide for Companies Seeking to Protect Personal Information". The National Law Review. Vedder Price. ISSN 2161-3362. 
  19. ^ Overly, Steven. The Washington Post, November 17, 2013, "The Download: LivingSocial goes down for nearly 48 hours after critical database error". Accessed March 3, 2014.
  20. ^ Recode
  21. ^ TechCrunch
  22. ^ Overly, Steven. "How LivingSocial is giving rise to the next wave of Washington start-ups". Washington Post. Washington Post. Retrieved 1 Sep 2016. 
  23. ^
  24. ^ Empson, Rip. "Confirmed: LivingSocial Co-founder Eddie Frederick Steps Down From Leadership, Board". TechCrunch. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "LivingSocial CTO Aaron Batalion to step down". Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  26. ^ Flook, Bill. January 10, 2014, Washington Business Journal, "Exclusive: LivingSocial CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy to step down". Accessed March 3, 2014.
  27. ^ Stynes, Tess. "LivingSocial Names Gautam Thakar CEO". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  28. ^ "LivingSocial Continues to Differentiate with Purchase of Urban Escapes". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  29. ^ "LivingSocial jumps on Australian group-buying outfit". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-07-11. 
  30. ^ "LivingSocial acquires a majority stake in Let's Bonus". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  31. ^ TechCrunch.
  32. ^ "LivingSocial gains wealth of ruby on rails expertise with Infoether acquisition". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  33. ^ "LivingSocial acquires rubyrails consultancy infoether". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  34. ^ "LivingSocial Expands Daily Deals Empire; Buys Ensogo, GoNabit And DealKeren". TechCrunch. 
  35. ^ "In Asia Push, LivingSocial Buys South Korea's TicketMonster". 
  36. ^ "LivingSocial Buys Online Ordering System Provider ONOSYS". Retrieved 2012-04-26. 

External links[edit]