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Posted at 10:03 AM ET, 03/23/2011

Groupon preps Groupon Now as president steps down

Groupon Inc. headquarters in Chicago. (Tim Boyle - BLOOMBERG)
Groupon is set to launch a new service, Groupon Now, which will let users find deals based on time and location from their mobile devices. But as the company prepares for the rollout, Groupon announced that president and chief operating officer Rob Solomon will step down from his position at the company.

Part of the reason for his departure? The company has gotten so big in the past year. When Solomon joined Groupon a year ago, the company had 200 employees. Now it has 6,000.

“I agree with Andrew that we really need a much different type of operator to take it to the next level,” he told the Wall Street Journal, referring to chief executive Andrew Mason .

From the reports out there, Groupon Now certainly could take its current coupon service up a notch or two. The service is said to be launching next month.

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Mason said the new service will give a user two options to choose from: “I’m hungry” and “I’m bored.” Picking one of the options pulls up a list of nearby ongoing deals.

That means Groupon users won’t have to check its site or rely on the company’s daily e-mails to find deals that fit their needs.

Reuters said on Tuesday that the service could be a key marketing tool for small businesses if customers drop in for deals simply because they were nearby. Right now, the businesses get slammed when customers redeem their deals all at once, but are ghost towns when a deal is off. Groupon Now could help businesses even out that feast or famine model by putting out mid-week deals for the lunch crowd.

Mason said in the interview that he thinks of the new service as a cross between a coupon book and the Yellow Pages. It could drive consumer choice more than it does now, since the deals will be so easy to find and compare.

Will you use Groupon’s new service?

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By  |  10:03 AM ET, 03/23/2011

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