March 28, 2012, 4:07 PM

An online start-up combines daily deals with reviews

LocFree, aiming for a summer launch, requires deal users to review businesses.

Lead Photo

Timothy Peterson speaking at Internet Retailer's design conference earlier this year.

A daily deal start-up headed toward a summer launch aims to combine online discounts with consumer reviews of local merchants. LocFree Network LLC could start offering deals via LocFree.com in New York City in early summer, says Timothy Peterson, company co-founder and chief marketing officer.

What will make this local deal provider different from competitors, he says, is the review requirement: Consumers who receive deals must provide e-mail addresses, and those consumers must review their merchant experiences after using the deals. “Say you get first entrée for free,” he explains. “Then you must write a review, negative or positive, for the LocFree site.”

LocFree will not allow consumers to take advantage of future deals until those consumers review merchants who offered the previous deals, he adds. Merchants can contact consumers via e-mail to offer other deals, too.

LocFree hopes to launch in New York City with at least 90 days worth of deals ready to go, he says. The deals will involve not only restaurants, but also museums, retailers—including, perhaps, local outlets of national chains—and entertainment providers. Offers might come to consumers via text messages, too. “We are looking at social,” Peterson says.

He says LocFree will occupy a relatively lonely space. “A lot of companies are in the review space and deal space,” he says, “but none really do both.”

Peterson will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in a session entitled “Attracting and retaining talent in a competitive market.”

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