Groupon Korea – putting foreign residents in the digital Korean ghetto?

Maybe I should cut them some slack since they just opened shop today, but I expect more from an international company like Groupon, particularly when other companies (Starbucks) addressed these problems already.

Groupon, at this time, won’t let non-Koreans register for their service in Korea. They require a national ID number (주민등록번호) as part of a name validation procedure (possibly for “real-name” requirements, but more likely to help the company get more info on their users). Foreigners do have registration numbers, but most companies haven’t figured out how to verify our names/numbers in these sign-up forms (Starbuck’s seems to have done so in their wifi access forms).

I’m not asking for an English interface. After all, we are in Korea, we should expect to operate in Korean. I am, however, asking that I not be treated as a non-entity when I am a long-term legal resident of Korea. I am absolutely sick of this treatment.

So, please, Groupon, fix this. Thank you.

7 thoughts on “Groupon Korea – putting foreign residents in the digital Korean ghetto?”

  1. I’ve just never thought about trying TMon and Coupang. I’ll sign up today if they’ll take me.I think that it’s important to raise a stink whenever companies take the easy route and alienate a minority in the process (in this case, not a racial minority, but a numbers minority 🙂 With a little bad press, other companies might put more consideration into this issue up front.I have no doubt that Groupon will add support for foreigner IDs eventually, but they should have done so right out of the gate.

  2. I’ve purchased from Coupang before. I know TMon accepts foreigner registration. I’m quite disappointed in Groupon considering one of the three co-CEO’s is a foreigner.

  3. I just signed up for TMon, but I couldn’t get through the Coupang registration (just wouldn’t confirm. no clue why). Neither cover my preferred area (Eunpyeong-gu), but I spend a lot of time in Ilsan (both cover), which is good enough. Maybe I’ll try Coupang again later if I think of it. Realistically, not many of the deals are going to apply to me. I have a very limited purchasing scope (primarily lunch/dinner). However, I’d like to get my wife on these. She’s the buyer in the family and is always on the lookout for deals.

  4. Chris, Starbucks requires all caps, no spaces, last, first, middle. At least they figured out a way. Not sure how TMon does it, but it was certainly the easiest. I’m guessing they don’t bother matching a name with ID for the foreigner registration. I stayed away from Korean services for so long after having such a tough time of it when first coming back in 2006. I just didn’t want the hassle. My wife signed up for services that we needed. I’d like to get more into them. Not only is my Korean better, but I feel a greater need to participate as other members of my community do. I’m a long-term resident with a growing family. If I’m locked out of sites that Koreans use, how can I integrate better into society?

  5. @iwshim Actually, I just joined AFEK a few day ago. I’ll be checking in more regularly in the future.By the way, looks like you’re new to Twitter. I suggest putting a picture and bio up. I thought you were spam when I first saw your post there. I’ve add you to get you out of the 0 followers basement 🙂

  6. Coupang obviously has problems with their database. I give them a little credit for trying….or at least putting the form there 😉

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