Internet Retailers Set Sites On Local Services

Some of the Internet's biggest retail players are setting their sights on the flourishing business of local services. Google is reportedly interested in buying local coupon site Groupon for as much as $6 billion and is planning to invest $175 million in online coupon company LivingSocial, a Groupon competitor. eBay is buying, which lets users see if items they seek are available on local store shelves.

Needless to say, local-services sites and offerings are HOT. Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners said, "It's local mania." As Jeremy Liew, managing director at Lightspeed, a company that recently invested $8 million in LivingSocial put it, local deals are "the most exciting, fastest-growing category of e-commerce right now."

Meanwhile, eBay is looking to expand its offerings through the acquisition of Milo, which is designed to send shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores. EBay's chief technology officer, Mark Carges, has described Milo as a "complementary platform." He further explained how Milo could complement eBay: "If you're trying to woo Best Buy and get them to ramp up their presence on eBay, this is a nice extension you can be offering them."