Niche and regional players in the daily-deals space are increasingly combining or abandoning the online discount business, as competition for subscribers heats up among deep-pocketed firms such as Groupon and LivingSocial. Subscriber-acquisition costs are up, and overhead is rising as deals sites compete to hire talented local sales professionals. While LivingSocial and Groupon can afford to pay salaries to salespeople, smaller sites typically offer commission-based compensation.

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