I didn't get that big Internet payout from my year or so at Mercata, but those of us involved have this to fall back on:
Founder and CEO Steve El-Hage acknowledged that “super-smart people had tried to get the ball rolling in the past” on group buying — one of them was Mercata, which shut down back in 2001. (More recently, I’ve written about a group-buying startup called Higgle.)
It's amazing how group buying is an idea that keeps coming back. Even pre-social media, we found it to be a better tool for driving viral marketing than for achieving any economies of scale.