My friend Scott Rafer made a really interesting point about Gilt Groupe and Groupon and their lack of search engine optimization:
Most interestingly, neither of Gilt nor Groupon uses SEO to push their offers. In fact, traditional product offer SEO would kill their businesses. One of the reasons that the merchants can offer lower prices via these services is that the prices will not appear in Google searches and therefore difficult to include in comparison shopping systems.
His larger point, which he goes on to make, is that Google’s never-ending march towards efficiency has created market opportunities in the other, non-efficient, direction. They purposely obfuscate the price of their goods from the world at large and it seems to be working pretty damn well for them.