Why Groupon Isn't in Australia

Since Groupon started in 2008, we’ve grown from one to thirty-seven countries. Australia, however, remains conspicuously absent from our lineup. Australian customers and press have been asking why we still haven’t formally launched – we’re very sorry for the delay and would like nothing more than to grow Groupon to Australia. I put this post together to shed some light on why it’s been such a challenge.

The worldwide proliferation of Groupon clones has been [well documented](http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/04/cut-paste-innovation-groupon-gets-cloned-in-russia/) (of course, none being more sinister than [Nopuorg](http://www.nopuorg.com/)). One particular clone in Australia called Scoopon, created by the brothers Gabby and Hezi Leibovitch, has been making life difficult for us. Scoopon went a little further than just starting their Groupon clone – they actually purchased the Groupon.com.au domain name, took the company name Groupon Pty Limited, and tried to register the Groupon trademark (filing for the trademark just seven days before us) in Australia.

The way we see things, this is a classic case of domain squatting – an unfortunate reality of the Internet business. As Groupon became internationally known, opportunistic domain squatters around the world started to buy local Groupon domain names, thinking that we’d eventually be forced to buy them at an insane price. In fact, we tried to do just that, reluctantly offering Gabby and Hezi Leibovich about $286,000 for the Groupon.com.au domain and trademark—an offer they accepted. But now they’ve changed their minds, and we believe that they’ll only sell us the domain and trademark if we’re willing to buy the entire Scoopon business from them. Left with no other options, we’ve filed a lawsuit against Scoopon, claiming that their Groupon trademark was filed in bad faith (amongst other things).

Unfortunately, it could take a over a year to resolve our lawsuit. In the meantime, rather than continue to wait, we plan to grow in Australia under a tentative name, currently [Stardeals](http://www.stardeals.com.au/).

If you’d like to see Groupon grow in Australia, show your support by [joining the "Groupon in Australia" Facebook Group](http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bring-Groupon-to-Australia/124455354287884), and post a note for Hezi Leibovich, politely asking them to accept the $286,000 (which we are still willing to pay) so we can get on with business. Not a bad paycheck for simply registering a domain name and company name and applying to register another company’s trademark!

Apologies – we don’t like to bother our customers with these things, but felt you deserved to understand why it’s taking us so long in Australia.

Coming Soon: Groupon Stores and the Deal Feed

This summer, [we launched personalization](https://blog.groupon.com/cities/personalized-deals/) to bring you deals that better suit your interests. We weren’t about to stop there – today, we’re giving you a sneak peak of some new stuff that will bring you even more deals you love: Groupon Stores and the Deal Feed.

### Groupon Stores

Groupon Store and Groupon Store Deal Page

With [Groupon Stores](http://www.groupon.com/merchants/welcome), businesses can now create and launch their own deals whenever they want. Think of it as the online equivalent of a merchant’s physical storefront. Merchants can now:

* Setup a permanent (and free!) e-commerce presence on Groupon for promoting their business.
* Create their own offers to run deals whenever they want.
* Submit deals to be promoted to Groupon subscribers through email and the Deal Feed (explained below).
* Get customers to follow their Groupon Store, and stay in touch by sending messages through the daily email and deal feed.

Each day we’ll select the best deals from Groupon Stores and match them to customers using our personalization technology. Follow any Store so you’ll never miss a deal from your favorite merchant.

### The Deal Feed

Groupon Deal Feed and Groupon Deal Feed w/ flyout

To keep track of these extra deals, we created the Deal Feed. This is a new section of Groupon where a stream of deals – personalized for you – is updated throughout the day. Your deal feed includes your featured daily deal, deals posted by merchants you follow, and deals posted by merchants that we recommend based on what we know about you.

We’ll be adding tons to the Deal Feed over time, beginning with making it more social: you will be able to connect your feed to Facebook and receive updates on what your friends are doing, such as when your friends buy deals, follow a new merchant or comment on an offer. This will be another fun way to find great offers – or just keep on top of what your friends are up to.

### Why we built it

We originally designed Groupon to account for the constraints of being a small company. Since we didn’t have any merchant relationships, we limited ourselves to one deal per day. Today things are different – our biggest problem is that demand is so high, merchants often wait months to be featured. And while we once only had a few thousand customers per city, now we have hundreds of thousands (Chicago just added its millionth subscriber!) – making it increasingly difficult to find one deal that satisfies everyone.

Personalization, Stores, and the Deal Feed are our attempt to re-imagine things. How would we have built Groupon if we started with hundreds of thousands of relationships with the best merchants in the world, millions of customers, and a world-wide operation with thousands of people helping merchants create deals? With these new features, we can feature more merchants and deliver a more relevant experience for customers, while maintaining the curated, serendipitous and simple experience that’s at the core of Groupon.

### Coming soon to your city

We’ll start testing these features today in Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle, with plans to add more cities and functionality soon. If you’re in one of those markets, check out the link to the deal feed in your header and [let us know what you think](mailto:stores@groupon.com).

To learn more, please visit the FAQ pages for [merchants](http://www.groupon.com/pages/stores-faq) and [customers](http://www.groupon.com/pages/store-customer-faq).

Too much of a good thing?

Traditionally, the biggest problem for most small businesses is getting customers in the door. Now, Groupon has presented some businesses with an entirely new problem: what happens when you have _too many_ customers?

There have been a [handful of stories](http://detnews.com/article/20100805/BIZ/8050370/For-shops–group-coupons-can-overwhelm) lately documenting the struggles of cupcake shops running out of batter or sushi restaurants who don’t have enough rice to meet the demand brought on by their Groupon feature. We haven’t written about those stories here because it’s not a common experience – the vast majority of businesses we feature, while certainly busy, do just fine. 97% of the businesses we feature ask to be featured again, including many of the businesses mentioned in the stories.

But earlier this week, one of our [merchants](http://www.groupon.com/deals/posies-cafe), after a bad experience, called Groupon “the single worst decision I have ever made as a business owner” on [her blog](http://posiescafe.com/wp/?p=316). Understandably, the article [caught the media's attention](http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/16/groupon-photography/), as well as ours. I thought it was worth responding.

Now that we know Posie’s had a problem, we have reached out to them so we can help. We’ve featured hundreds of businesses similar to Posie’s with great success, so we’re eager to learn what went wrong. Here are a few in Portland:

* [$4 for $8 Worth of Breakfast and Lunch Fare at FlavourSpot](http://www.groupon.com/deals/flavour-spot) (2,348 sold)
* [$7 for $15 Worth of Fresh Deli Fare from Elephants Delicatessen](http://www.groupon.com/deals/elephants-delicatessen) (7,206 sold)
* [$7 for $15 Worth of Fresh, Wholesome Smoothies and Café Fare at Tropical Smoothie Café](http://www.groupon.com/deals/tropical-smoothie-cafe-portland) (1,015 sold)
* [$10 for $22 Worth of Hawaiian Fare at Aiea Grill](http://www.groupon.com/portland/deals/aiea-grill) (505 sold)

Here’s an email the owner of the last business, Aiea Grill, sent their Groupon representative shortly after being featured:

> Hi John,

> Thank you for setting us up on Groupon. The concept is sheer genius. The web-savvy, interactive format is so well thought out forwards and backwards. Who ever heard of aquiring 516 new, quality customers in one day with no money up front? You were also right about the Groupon member being a high grade customer, operating at a sophistication level far above that of the typical bargain hunter/coupon cutter. Viral, positive word of mouth would be a fantastically welcome result of this strategically targeted blast onto the Portland radar screen.

> We experienced 2500 hits on our website on the day of our feature. The daily average has been 35. Even on the following day residual interest it seems led to 250 hits. And then today is still high at 85. There is much more to what Groupon generates for participating businesses than what occurs only on the day of the feature, isn’t there?

> Thank you again for bringing this amazing opportunity to us and for your into the after-hours support on the discussion board during our feature run.

> Mahalo,
Gerrick Adachi
Aiea Grill

For some reason, those four merchants – all offering similar services at similar price points – had positive Groupon experiences, but Posie’s did not.

Of course, we have heard from merchants who felt Groupon sent them **too many** customers. We responded to those concerns by creating [merchant preparation materials](http://www.groupon.com/pages/merchant-welcome), including this video featuring a Groupon merchant who sold 10,000 bagel Groupons in a day:

Also, to clarify one important point: it has always been Groupon policy to allow merchants to cap deals. If a merchant sells too many Groupons, they’ll have a bad experience, the customer will have a bad experience, and therefore, Groupon loses. We’re longer-term thinkers than that. In fact, we have the opposite problem more often – where merchants protest a cap we recommend, convinced they can handle more customers than we think they can.

Ultimately, most businesses look at Groupon as a form of advertising – they’re deciding between us and running a radio commercial or newspaper ad. In all cases, the business pays in hopes of getting new customers in the door that will hopefully love their service and come back again. When merchants choose Groupon, it’s because we’re the best in the world at getting a large number of [desirable customers](http://grouponworks.com/why-groupon/demographics) in the door, there’s no upfront cost, and the total cost per customer is lower than other forms of local advertising. We tell merchants that we get the customers in the door, and from there, it’s up to them – and that’s exactly what most great merchants need. If they have a great business, we’re the best amplifier out there.

Finally, for what it’s worth, it’s painful for us at Groupon to read stories like this. When we started this company three years ago, we were actually [a platform for groups to organize action and fundraise](http://www.thepoint.com) for causes and shared interests (one of which ended up being group purchasing). When we started Groupon, what got us excited about it is the win-win we’re creating – every day we’re breathing life into great local businesses, while at the same time making it easier for people to get out of the house and experience life. It sounds like corporate BS, but the only thing that makes this worth doing is that we’re helping people. We’re extremely proud that most businesses consider Groupon the best form of advertising out there, but won’t rest until we’ve made Groupon work for everyone. We welcome your ideas!

Personalized Deals FAQ

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on our launch of Personalized Deals – we’re so excited it’s finally in the wild!

We’re receiving enough repeat questions to dictate the creation of an FAQ. We’ll add to this post as more shared questions surface.

### What do I see if Groupon doesn’t have any personalization information about me?

There will continue to be a city-wide “spotlight” deal for when we know nothing about a subscriber. If we know a little personalization information, subscribers will see their personalized deal instead (we’ll also show them the city-wide spotlight deal if it’s different).

### Will I be able to see all the deals running in my city?

Yes and no. There won’t always be a full catalog of deals, but if someone receives a different deal than you, they can share it and you can still buy. Plus, everybody will still always be able to see the deal designated as the “feature” for that city and we’ll highlight a number of additional interesting regional deals on the Groupon homepage. This is our way of trying to maintain the simple “yes/no” decision of one deal a day that’s made Groupon so popular while running deals that fit the interests of more customers. If we do a good job with our personalization targeting, we don’t anticipate customers “missing out” on deals they would have wanted but weren’t sent to them; we’re excited to hear what people think once they start receiving personalized deals, and as always, the site will evolve in the direction dictated by our customers.

### I love Groupon because it helps me discover new businesses that I didn’t know I’d like. Will that go away with personalization?

Not at all – we realize that discovery is a core part of Groupon. Personalization on Groupon is mostly about removing the most egregiously offensive deals while continuing to provide your daily dose of serendipity. This also allows us to feature more businesses than before. You will start to see more deals in your email and on the homepage over time, which gives you exposure to even more new businesses.

### I often buy Groupons as gifts – how will I do that now that I’ll only see deals that are personalized for me?

If we get personalization right, you’ll still see plenty of deals that will make great gifts, both as the one that we feature for you and also in the area where we show more great deals nearby on the side.

### I’m a merchant – does this mean that less subscribers will see my deal?

No – in fact if we do our job right, more subscribers will see your deal. As we get better at sending people deals they care about every day, we think overall engagement will increase, growing the Groupon pie and benefiting all businesses.

### How can you know what deals I want based on just my ZIP code, gender and age?

That’s not all we care about, we’re just asking for these first because they are really important.  For example, people generally spend most of their free time close to home.  All else equal, a deal near where you live will be preferable to one way across town.  The other things are also fairly predictive in a lot of cases.  At the same time, we will get better as we learn more about you whether by seeing the things you buy on Groupon or as you fill out your “My Profile” page (located under “My Stuff” if you’re signed in) with more information.

### What do you do with information about me?

We take your personal privacy very seriously.  This information is being used expressly to help us give you deals that suit you better.  Related to this, we recently became certified by TRUSTe.  Earning certification involved a review of what information we gather, how we keep it secure and how we make use of it.  We think it confirms that we’re protecting you extremely well and following best practices here.

### What if I don’t want a personalized deal to replace the city feature I’m used to?

Even when we give you a personalized deal, you will always still get to see the city spotlight deal. This will give you a choice of the deal we think you’ll want most, plus the usual feature (if that’s different). We’ll also sometimes promote a few others that are available in different parts of your city. In other words, you still get to see the deals you would have seen before — and often will see more.

Why We Built Personalized Deals

Personalized Deals is the biggest thing we’ve done since we launched Groupon. While Groupon won’t look much different, sending different deals to different users transforms Groupon in four big ways.

### 1. Customers Get Relevance

Over the next several months as we bring more and more merchants into the Groupon family, you’ll start receiving deals tailored to your location, preferences and buying patterns. Unfortunately, “try it before you knock it” wasn’t a convincing response to our male customers complaining about mani-pedi deals.

### 2. Merchants Get Access

Groupon has become so popular with merchants that we can’t keep up with demand. Over 35,000 merchants are queued to be featured on Groupon, and with 97% of our merchants wanting to be featured again, that list is only going to get longer. As a response to unmet demand, Groupon has become one of the most prolifically copied websites in the history of the Internet, with over 500 worldwide Groupon knockoffs appearing in the last 12 months.

Now, by intelligently matching businesses to their most coveted users , we won’t have to turn merchants away – Personalized Deals lets us grant access to any business that meets our quality standards.

### 3. Merchants Can Throttle Volume

Groupon has forced some merchants to contend with an entirely new problem: what happens when you have _too many_ customers? We’ve created otherworldly events like sushi places running out of rice, or twenty-somethings lining up around the block to see the ballet. We’ve actually had to develop formulas that help merchants plan capacity and limit their Groupons.

With Personalized Deals a merchant can run a deal to different segments of customers over several months, giving them the Groupon goodness without the risk of being overwhelmed by a horde of new customers.

### 4. We Can Move Away From City Centers

In a city like Chicago, 90% of our deals are in the 10 miles or so surrounding downtown – but millions of people live in the surrounding cities. Now we’re targeting deals by location, creating better deals for customers outside the city center and delivering a more relevant audience to suburban businesses.

We couldn’t be more excited about Personalized Deals. We think you’ll look back six months from now and wonder how you ever got by without it.

G-oodies

I recently read in a business book that the secret of great companies is **not trying to please everyone** – you’ll more likely end up pleasing no one. You’re better off perfecting the experience for a more narrow audience. Since we want to be THE BEST company, we are now implementing the Platonic ideal of that advice by introducing a new program that is perfect for exactly one person.

_G-oodies_ (pronounced “Gah” – _pause_ – “oodies”) is a new part of [Groupon Rewards](http://groublogpon.com/cities/meet-g/) where every day, we mail a highly specific item to one lucky customer. It could be a [cat tree](http://groublogpon.com/g-oodies/classic-cat-tree/), a [tie and socks set](http://groublogpon.com/g-oodies/tie-and-socks-set/), or [all six seasons of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys](http://groublogpon.com/g-oodies/hercules-the-legendary-journeys/) – you never know.

Make no mistake – G-oodies aren’t just things our employees have laying around. Each G-oodie is hand-picked and ordered by our staff with the intent of addressing a very particular need and making someone really really happy.

Unfortunately, we haven’t received feedback from most G-oodie recipients, but we did receive this email from Candice T., the lucky winner of an [autoharp](http://groublogpon.com/g-oodies/autoharp/):

> * “Seriously?! What am I supposed to do with an autoharp? I mean if you had sent me something like flowers, tiramisu cheesecakes from The Chesecake Factory, or a boy named Ian, then perhaps, I could have figured out something to do with them. An autoharp? Seriously? Am I allowed to donate it?” – Groupon Rewards Member C.W. Tam

It’s true: the problem with mailing a random person something extremely specific is that not every match will be made in heaven.

But if only once in the next year we manage to give something to someone that is eerily tuned to their deepest desires, we’ll have done our job. For this very reason, I carried a 4 D Cell Maglite in my backpack for my entire junior year of high school. “Darn, I dropped my pencil under teacher’s desk! I’ll tell you Andrew, if only I had a flashlight.” “No problem!” “WOAH! HOW LUCKY I AM THAT YOU HAVE THAT!!!” (unfortunately this fantasy never came to fruition, but the dream helped me make it through that year.)

Go ahead and [browse the complete list of G-oodies](http://groublogpon.com/g-oodies/). And the next time you buy a Groupon, remember that it could mean a [dental mouth guard](http://groublogpon.com/g-oodies/dental-mouth-guard/) is in your future.

Introducing Ratings

Today we’re introducing a few simple tools for rating your Groupon experiences. After you’ve used a Groupon, you now have the option to award or flag a business. If your experience was exceptionally good, give the business an award and we’ll know to feature them again. If it was a disappointment, flag the business. For everything in between, you don’t have to do a thing – we just want to know when things were especially good or bad.

There’s one more cool thing about Groupon ratings – they’re bidirectional, meaning that merchants can rate you too! If you get an award from a business owner, we’ll reward you with [G's](http://groublogpon.com/cities/meet-g/) to spend on Groupon. Merchants can also flag the rare troublesome customer, so that we can keep an eye on the bad apples and keep the quality of our community high.

We think these ratings tools will help reinforce the foundation of Groupon’s community – great customers and the best local businesses. Watch the following video to learn more.

Support Donors Choose With Groupon

If getting a deal on charitable giving seems oxymoronic to you, check out the [Groupon we're running all week for Donors Choose](http://www.groupon.com/deals/donorschoose-org-online-national/). Thanks to the matching grant provided by a generous philanthropist, you can get a Donors Choose gift certificate for 50% off.

If you’ve never heard of [Donors Choose](http://www.donorschoose.org), it’s one of the great success stories in online altruism. Teachers post projects for which they need funding (e.g. “$3,000 needed for microscopes in Mr. Mellon’s 9th grade science class at Sunnyside High School”), and donors fund the projects they want to support. When a project receives enough funds, Donors Choose purchases the materials and delivers them to the classroom.

Considering Groupon’s origin as a group action/fundraising platform called [The Point](http://www.thepoint.com), creative fundraising is in our DNA. So when Charles Best from Donors Choose proposed this idea, we couldn’t wait to give it a try. By combining the ideas of Donors Choose and Groupon, each donor is empowered to effectively win a miniature matching grant – and then choose exactly where she wants her money spent.

Our matching donor has agreed to give up to $500,000, making the fundraising potential of this week’s campaign one million dollars! Hitting that number will take all the help we can get, so please share this Groupon with your friends and family.

This is hardly the first fundraiser to run on Groupon, but it’s definitely one of the most interesting. We love finding creative ways to channel the collective buying power of our customers back into their communities, and are proud to be working with Donors Choose.

Groupon Europe!

Today we’re announcing something really, really big – Groupon is now in Europe via the acquisition of Citydeal, the world’s largest Groupon clone. That means we’re operating in 18 countries, 140 cities, and we have over 900 employees in about a dozen offices across two continents. Not bad for 19 months’ work!

In addition to the US and Canada, you’ll now find Groupon in [Germany](http://www.citydeal.de), [the UK](http://www.mycitydeal.co.uk), [Ireland](http://www.citydeal.ie), [France](http://www.citydeal.fr), [the Netherlands](http://www.mycitydeal.nl), [Spain](http://www.citydeal.es), [Italy](http://www.citydeal.it), [Switzerland](http://www.citydeal.ch), [Austria](http://www.citydeal.at), [Poland](http://www.citydeal.pl), [Finland](http://www.citydeal.fi), [Denmark](http://www.mycitydeal.dk), [Turkey](http://www.sehirfirsati.com), [Sweden](http://www.mycitydeal.se), and soon, Norway and Belgium.

### What it means

To me, Groupon is one of those beautiful examples of what an early, uncharted, and exciting time this is in the age of the Internet – that such a simple concept could change the face of local commerce almost overnight. Since its launch in Berlin five months ago, Citydeal’s rapid growth across Europe has proven that the Groupon model is truly global – and by coming together, we are establishing Groupon as the company that not only invented, but now universally defines this new model of commerce.

### Why we did it this way

We knew that bringing Groupon to Europe wouldn’t be easy. Just adapting Groupon to suit the differences between Miami and Philadelphia is enough of a challenge that we knew we wouldn’t be able to succeed in Europe without amazing entrepreneurs with an intimate understanding of the local cultures.

With that in mind, we started meeting with the horde of European Groupon clones, looking for a team that would do Groupon justice in Europe. Unfortunately, we found them to be very much like the American knockoffs – without the strategic vision or operational chops to do much more than watch us and play Simon Says.

When we met Oliver Samwer – one of the founders of Citydeal – we were prepared for more of the same. Oliver and his two brothers are known for elevating the practice of cloning American business models in Europe into an art form, having successfully founded the German versions of eBay (eBay eventually bought them), Facebook, eHarmony, Zappos, and many more.

But after a few days with Oliver and the rest of the Citydeal management team, we realized that they were among the best operators we’d ever met. It was no wonder they’d become #1 in every one of their countries – in only five months, they’d even become larger than the largest Groupon knockoff in the U.S. It’s absolutely insane how quickly they’ve scaled, with 600 employees working from 80+ European cities, and already saving their customers over $5 million in April alone – their fourth month of operation.

Culturally, we saw the same qualities in the Citydeal team that we have at Groupon. Hardworking and scrappy, blindingly fast executors, refreshingly blunt, no appetite for petty politics, and passionate about pioneering a new model of commerce while wowing every last consumer and merchant they touched.

For those reasons, we think Groupon and Citydeal are a great match.

### What happens now

It’ll take months for us to fully integrate Citydeal onto the Groupon platform, but they will adopt our name and design very soon. Until we’re fully integrated, you’ll need a separate account to buy Groupons in, say, Paris and Wichita.

For those of you who are already Citydeal consumers and merchants, welcome to Groupon! We have some amazing things planned over the next several months, but we’d also love to hear what you’d like us to do to make Groupon better – [send us your thoughts](mailto:info@groupon.com)!

A Snapshot of Life at Groupon

So what are we working on these days at Groupon? Super important things – for example, check out this email I just got from our managing editor (and the guy that coined the name “Groupon”) concerning a conference room our writers are designing in our new office.

> Begin forwarded message:
>
> From: Aaron With
> Date: April 21, 2010 8:08:41 PM CDT
> To: Andrew Mason
> Cc: Mark Desky
> Subject: Fwd: ‘Weird Room’ Shopping List and Assessment
>
> OK…here is our vision for the weird room, including the items we intend to purchase. It’s meant to be like a really strange bedroom, where every item is pretty weird, but you could concoct some strange, frightening story in your head to rationalize why it might be there. I’m pretty excited about this as a theme. There’s a lot of variety, but it’s just restrained enough to not be “random for the sake of random.”
>
> While we didn’t go for anything crazy expensive, it is going to cost us, at least a few grand undoubtedly.
>
> We can run up the budget, but that’s gonna take a while. I just want the go-ahead first from Andrew that you’re behind this thing & we’ll be able to pay for it.
>
> Unfortunately, to make this happen I’d probably need to use a temp who can run around & get & assemble this kind of stuff. They’d report to me & Kibblesmith. It’s the kind of thing that’s just not gonna happen if we don’t get someone on it full time for a little while. Is there someone currently available for this kind of thing we could use? I could see this taking 30 hours, though maybe up to 70ish.
>
> So Andrew—what do you think?
>
> Aaron With
> Groupon Managing Editor
> www.groupon.com
>
> e: aaron@groupon.com
>
>
>
>
> Begin forwarded message:
>
> From: Daniel Kibblesmith
> Date: April 21, 2010 10:05:50 AM CDT
> To: Aaron With
> Subject: ‘Weird Room’ Shopping List and Assessment
> Here’s our list so far, with some a few additions toward building a very vague theme:

> 12 BOXES – Identical Obscure Cereal (Frute Brute, Urkel’O's, etc).

> 1 TERRARIUM (or shoebox diarama) Open or chewed through, creature has implicitly escaped, nearby jar of spider-food?

> 1 TOILET (not hooked up)

> SEVERAL BULK-SIZED BAGS OF INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED COLORFUL HARD CANDY (to fill toilet)

> 1 AIBO

> MAP OF BELGIUM OR OTHER FICTIONAL COUNTRY (with colorful pins)

> 1 BED (with itching powder, and fire-damaged sheets)

> BIKE-POWERED RECORD PLAYER (with ‘Smooth Operator’ Single)

> 1 JAR OF VASELINE (gently used from someone’s home)

> SOLAR SYSTEM MOBILE (some missing or replaced with alternatives)

> BERT AND ERNIE DOLLS WITH HEADS REMOVED AND SWAPPED (Handcuffed together)

> RUG WITH LUMP UNDER IT (lump held in place with staple gun, inaccessible)

> PAIR OF BOXERS PINNED TO WALL BY CEREMONIAL DAGGER

> ANNE GEDDES CALENDAR (Andrew Mason’s face taped over babies in advance, cryptic messages maintained on calendar)

> BIKE HELMET (with severe visible damage)

> ASSORTED WALL CLINGS AND STICKERS (many scratched off hastily)

> 3 – 12 DIGITAL PICTURE FRAMES (Rotating pictures of Andrew, Andrew holding up messages, and voyeuristic shots of staff working)

> MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY-STYLE STATIC ELECTRICITY BALL

> ANIMAL POSTERS WITH EYES BURNT OUT BY CIGARETTES

> DOOR HAS HOLE PUNCHED IN IT ::or:: AXE STUCK IN IT

> 6 CLOCKS LABELED AS DIFFERENT CITIES (all operating on CST)

> TABLE TOP MODEL OF CITY OF CHICAGO BENEATH A SHEET (doesn’t have to be nice, or to scale, SHOULD look like someone’s plan)

> 1 GUITAR BROKEN IN ANGER

> [THIS POSTER](http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Welcome-to-Mooseport-Posters_i420834_.htm) ON CEILING (or TBD equivalent)

> SOUND SYSTEM:
There are a couple ways to go with this, that I’d like your opinion on (we can also mix and match):
Big-Brother-style computerized text-to-speech translator reciting Groupon Says columns, or entire works from Google Books
Giant reel-to-reel tape recorder for aesthetic purposes
1980s-style answering machine with cryptic messages from Andrew and others, addressing an individual by name.
I think it’d be really funny to have messages directly from Andrew, addressing the owner of the room as “a disappointing boy.”

> THE NAME:
>
> I’ve been calling it ‘Michael’s Room,’ which I liked because it was really creepily generic, and conveyed some kind of monstrous manchild, but we can go with any name or designation (variant on the “Weird room,” etc.) At my house, the spare room is called ‘The Ghost Room,’ because presumably that’s who lives there.
>
> If we go with ‘Michael’s Room’ or similar I was thinking we could get some childlike askew adhesive letters to spell out ‘MICHAEL’S ROOM’ and then scratch a few of them off, maybe even with tools and a little fake blood so it looks like it was done desperately by hand.
>
> BUDGET:
>
> The more I got into this, the more it became clear I had no idea. Almost everything home-furnishings related could be gotten off Craigslist or from IKEA, but would require additional time commitment and transport. Something like the clocks, the cereal or the candy could all be gotten from Costco or ordered from office or restaurant suppliers, and things like the guitar and the vaseline, someone in our circle definitely owns already. I wanted to run this list by you and see whether we should add or cut anything, before getting into the budgeting, because finding this stuff is going to be a pretty intensive separate job.
>
> SMOOTH OPERATOR:
>
> Cullen had a really inspired idea on the record-bike (and the room in general), which is going to the Steppenwolf props department, or other theater departments, who might have experience putting together live practicals with mechanical components. I imagine we can get the record off eBay or from a local store.
>
> So that’s all the notes consolidated plus more, the next step would be hunting these things down, and figuring out a way to transport and pay for them. Working remotely on write-ups, but let me know if you want me to start sending out e-mails and pricing all of the above.
>
> – Daniel

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