Groupon picked up two Crunchies awards at the 4th annual tech oscars at the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts on Friday, and was runner up for a third.  The social commerce platform won best social commerce app in 2010, best start-up CEO (Andrew Mason), and was runner-up for overall best overall startup or product (won by Twitter, (Quora won StartUp or Product of 2010)).  Check-in rewards app, ShopKick, was the runner up for the social commerce app category (see full video below).

Check out the irreverent TechCrunch TV interview with Groupon’s Andrew Mason, in which the iconoclastic CEO, who was recently featured on the front cover of Forbes, compares himself with ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger – taking the first part of his career and doing everything stupid he can think of, so people have no expectations for him down the line.

Groupon is certainly the it digital phenomenon of the moment – but with Facebook (Deals), Google (Offers) and Amazon (Woot, LivingSocial) muscling in on the group-buy/daily-deal/local advertising party – the question is whether Groupon’s success will be sustainable.  Is Groupon more Amazon or MySpace?  And the Crunchies are not necessarily an indicator of future success – Google Wave won a runner-up prize last year.

Whether Groupon remains as big as the hype surrounding it, or not; former professor at Harvard Business School, John J Sviokla, suggests there are five basic 101 lessons that social commerce companies can take away from the Groupon:

  • Make the interaction super simple – one deal, one day, one city.  What could be clearer?
  • Create a sense of urgency in your customers.  If there are not enough people by midnight, the offer disappears.
  • Energize your customers to get other customers.  Good word of mouth is useless unless it turns into sales.
  • Make it fun!  Groupon’s tone is upbeat, enjoyable, and does not have that yet-another-boring-coupon feel.
  • Make it fresh.  Every day has a new deal for each city!

Groupon By The Numbers

  • 2008 (Nov) launched (Chicago)
  • $1.12B (Total funding received to date)
  • $950M (latest round of funding (Series D) (1/11/11)
  • 3100 (employees)
  • 24,972,841 (total Groupons sold)
  • $1,072,003,714 (money saved)
  • 50 million (subscribers)
  • 40 countries (present)
  • 500+ (cities present)
  • 650+ (daily deals)