Little take-up for dwarf strippers

Discounts on meals, massages and a multitude of mundanities are the standard fare on the rash of group-buying websites touting for our custom, but now you can get dwarf strippers in gimp masks.

On Friday, group-buying website GrabOne was offering suits, swimming lessons, and a $38 steakhouse dinner for two - but the GrabOne Intimate section was also trying to tempt customers with a 50 per cent discount on Go Wild Strippers. The offer came with photos, including one of a dwarf wearing a gimp mask and carrying a whip, with an advertising blurb declaring that stag and hen nights should be "monumental, legendary and scandalous in equal parts. The good news is that Grab One loves to facilitate a good party, and today we've got a rocking deal on offer."

Sex toys, strip club tickets and bondage gear were also on offer.

GrabOne said it planned to launch a PR campaign for the new site this week, after a trial run last month and testing demand for adult products on the main site.

Marketing director Campbell Brown said: "We appreciate that the Intimate [site] may not appeal to everyone, however we have done our best to ensure the site and the subsequent communication remain tasteful."

It had sent the email after 8.30pm, and had segmented the message to weed out work addresses and under-18s.

Consumer NZ was concerned that the Intimate page was easily accessed from the main site without proof of age being required. Although purchasers needed a credit card, this was not a foolproof way to prevent under-18s buying goods.

"Given the nature of the site, with a series of quite ordinary deals like getting your hair done, maybe they shouldn't make it so obvious," said David Naulls of Consumer NZ.

"If they want to run separate deals then maybe you run a separate site with stricter criteria for getting access. On the internet, no one knows whether you are 10 or 110."

Jimmy McGee, head of commercial at TradeMe, which runs a GrabOne rival site, Treat Me, said: "We noticed it and we thought it was an interesting one: not one we are keen to follow, to be frank. It's beyond where we want to take the brand.

"It remains to be seen whether it will resonate with your average consumer. My guess is a few will be turned off.

"What one person considers good humour, another considers poor taste, and it's really hard with mass market and mailouts to make sure you meet all consumers' expectations."

GrabOne is not alone in venturing into the adult market - NZ Sale has also made adult offers, while Bartercard dollars can be redeemed for sexual services.

GrabOne said sex toys and condoms had been big sellers during the first trial, but despite a flurry of interest on Twitter, the gimp dwarfs were not doing so well - by 5pm Friday, with just five hours left on the strippers offer, just three vouchers had been sold.

Sunday Star Times