By now most people have heard of the Web site Groupon. If you haven't, it's a site where you can buy coupons that give you big discounts -- for example, you might pay $50 for a $100 massage. You pay the site, then you print out your coupon and present it to the business for your service. No more money exchanges hands.
Well, Groupon has set out to prove that people can live on its coupons alone. So the company found a man named Josh Stevens and it is supplying him with coupons. If he can go a year without using cash, credit or checks and survive just on the Groupon coupons, he'll get $100,000.
Stevens started doing this in May, and so far he is doing just fine with his coupons, thank you very much. He is traveling the country on his coupons, and loving it.
"I'm getting such great networking experience, getting to see the country," he said.
Before this Groupon thing came along, Stevens was planning on attending business school. But when this is over, with $100,000 in his pocket, he just might do something else.
"I may decide not to do business school. Some other job opportunity may come up, and maybe I'll run with that. If anything, this year has taught me to leave my options open and grab opportunities as they come."
Groupon certainly seized the opportunity. It has added 13 million subscribers since July 2009. This summer it became the second-fastest company ever to gain a $1 billion valuation. Only YouTube did it faster.
Competitors are starting to pop up, but Groupon was first, so it has a huge head start.
"In the long term the industry is going to be a lot smaller," Rice professor Utpal Dholakia said. "But I think Groupon is going to be fine."