Oft-criticized coupon-sharing site Groupon has another reason to worry about its online deal dominance. Patch, AOL/Huffington Post’s hyper-local news outlet, will leverage its small-town reach in a partnership with American Express’ commerce platform Serve to provide Patch visitors with coupon deals and discounts.

Already featuring about 850,000 small businesses on its network across 800 city/town-specific sites, Patch will list the deals from merchants at no charge, which poses a drastic advantage for small businesses to work freely with Patch as opposed to paying Groupon.

As for Amex, they stand to benefit in offering Patch-branded cards that will come pre-loaded with the deals, in addition to being pre-funded via cash or debit as part of Serve’s principal service.

[via ReadWriteWeb]



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