Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Move over Groupon, two local daily deal sites launched

Two group-buying deal sites, similar to Groupon and LivingSocial, have launched this week, looking for Baltimoreans who are hungry for deals, or helping social causes.

Citycents is a daily deal site that touts itself as beneficial for both businesses and consumers by not charging merchants a percentage of their already discounted offering. Instead, merchants are charged a fee of $2.50 for each voucher claimed. There is no cost to the consumer for claiming the deal.

Citycents works by offering deals that are 50 percent off each day from some of Baltimore’s hotspots. As more people claim a deal, the deal “activates” and bonus auctions for items — like gift cards — become unlocked for bidding. Bids are earned with each claim, but can also be purchased.

To separate itself from other daily deal sites, Citycents went through a few reincarnations, said co-founder Brenden Salta. Salta and his brother, Brian Salta, had been working on the site since October, when it operated much like Groupon and LivingSocial.

“We realized we didn’t want to be anything like Groupon,” Brenden Salta said. “We quickly revamped, and we’re happy where we are now with the free model.”

Salta said the site will get 25 cents from every deal that is redeemed. That could add up to $2 million per month, as more website traffic will create more revenue, he said. The eight-person operation launched its Annapolis and Baltimore portions of its site Tuesday, and Salta said he is exploring options to expand in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Citycents is working to close deals with Bo Brooks Restaurant & Catering, Federal Hill restaurant The Hill, Spa On The Square and pet grooming salon Doggie Style. Blue Hill Tavern will launch its deal June 1.

Meanwhile, Deals for Deeds launched the Baltimore portion of the site Wednesday. The website celebrated its 1-year anniversary last month after raising more than $30,000 for 30 Washington, D.C., nonprofits and organizations, said co-founder Harrison Miller.

While offering exclusive discounts, Deals for Deeds donates a portion of each purchase to a nonprofit. For its launch, Deals for Deeds has teamed up with 12 Baltimore-area nonprofits. For the first few weeks of the site’s launch, consumers can vote for their favorite nonprofit. With each vote, Deals for Deeds will donate 50 cents, and a minimum of 5 percent of every deal purchased through the site will be contributed to the Baltimore Community Fund.

That kind of added benefit to a deal is why Caroline Jones decided to work with Deals for Deeds. Jones, who owns Caroline’s Cupcakery, has worked with Groupon twice and LivingSocial before. Caroline’s Cupcakery is the website’s inaugural deal, which is available for the next two weeks.

“It shows that we’re not just a business, that we like to get involved,” Jones said. “I do take pride in my city. It gives people the opportunity to give to charities that normally wouldn’t get a lot of air time or focus.”

The charities Deals for Deeds is working with include Back on My Feet Baltimore, Baltimore BORN, Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Baltimore Humane Society, Community Law in Action, Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, Hand in Hand Baltimore, Parks & People Foundation, Park Heights Community Health Alliance, Project PLASE, The Literacy Lab and Wide Angle Youth Media.

Other deals coming to the website will include discounts from Cazbar and Trattoria Annamaria Italian Deli, Miller said.