The idea that would eventually become Groupon was born out of founder Andrew Mason’s frustration trying to cancel a cell phone contract in 2006. Mason thought that there must be some way to leverage large number of people’s collective bargaining power. In 2007 Mason launched The Point, a web platform based on the “tipping point” principle that would utilize social media to get people together to accomplish a goal. The Point was intended to organize people around some sort of cause or goal. It gained only modest traction in Chicago, until a group of users decided their cause would be saving money. They wanted to round up people to buy the same product in order to receive a group discount. Founder Eric Lefkofsky wanted the company to pivot in order to focus entirely on group buying. Born from The Point, Groupon was launched in November 2008.
Some of the campaigns on the site include trying to get Aquafina to switch to bio-degradable bottles (50,000 participants needed), Universal Music to sell DRM-free songs (1,000,000 participants needed), or CNN.com to separate trivial human interest stories from actual news (1,000,000 participants needed).