I’ve been a member of LivingSocial for over a year, and have purchased 5 deals from them during that time.
I particularly liked them because they built their business on my preferred development platform – Ruby on Rails – just like innovators Twitter and Groupon. I’m a Ruby on Rails developer, so I had classified LivingSocial in the cool kids category.
Earlier this year, I listened to National Public Radio (NPR) with rapt attention as LivingSocial CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy told NPR’s Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep that now, the challenge is to manage LivingSocial’s growth without losing its focus.
On Thursday, October 27, 2011, I was stunned to open my email and discover LivingSocial’s daily deal:
“Of all of man’s vices, none is more relaxing then grabbing a gun, going out with an old friend, and firing off a few rounds. Get ready to lock and load with today’s deal from <redacted>. Shell out $359 to be the second in command as a guide leads you on a full-day deer-hunting expedition with gun rental and ammunition included (a $849 value). Situated on 4,500 rolling acres just an hour outside Atlanta in <redacted> will set sportsmen up with field transportation, lunch, and the chance to take down an eight-point buck. Steady your aim and pull the trigger on these 58%-off savings to spend a day at one of Georgia’s finest hunting outfitters.”
The principle of corporate social responsibility is important to me. I will not be a customer of – or do business with – a company that has no corporate conscience. LivingSocial promoting the slaughter of innocent animals is a bad thing.
32 people purchased that deal to kill deer – offered and promoted by LivingSocial. That’s 32 heartless assholes who were sufficiently turned on by LivingSocial‘s macho bullshit ad to “lock and load” and “steady your aim and pull the trigger” to purchase the deal. That’s 32 chances to slaughter a scared wild animal that just wants to be left alone to live its life. That’s 32 times that a poor deer will likely experience terror, excruciating pain and death.
LivingSocial, don’t tell me you didn’t write the ad. I don’t care. And don’t tell me that you don’t discriminate between types of deals. Just because deer-hunting is legal, doesn’t mean it’s acceptable – or is a practice you should want the LivingSocial brand associated with. You promoted and sold the deal with your brand’s massive reach, so your brand now owns it.
To me, the LivingSocial brand used to represent innovative marketing and cool technology.
When I think LivingSocial, I associate words like horrible, disgusting, shameful, and cruel.
If anyone else out there would like to tell what they think, here are the email addresses of LivingSocial’s senior management team:
Tim O'Shaughnessy CEO and Co-Founder email@example.com Val Aleksenko CIO and Co-founder firstname.lastname@example.org Aaron Batalion CTO and Co-Founder email@example.com Eddie Frederick President and Co-Founder firstname.lastname@example.org Eric Eichmann Chief Operating Officer email@example.com Steve Case investor (AOL co-founder) firstname.lastname@example.org