Deals giant Groupon has acquired Mertado, a social shopping company that helps customers discover new products. 

This is the second talent-based acquisition the company has made in the past month, as it announced the purchase of ‘stealth’ start-up Campfire Labs just a few weeks ago – which was yet to launch.

According to reports, Groupon was primarily interested in Mertado’s expertise in the social commerce space, including the launch of Mertado TV, which combined video content with products.

The concept is similar to French Connection’s YouTique ‘store’, which uses YouTube’s annotation feature alongside clips of a stylist showing viewers how to wear the brand’s latest collection.

Mertado wrote on its site that the company was no longer accepting new registrations and will officially shut down on Feb 28, while customers are currently being redirected to Groupon Goods. This is the company’s answer to Amazon, acting as an online retail site for physical products. 

Today, we’re pleased to announce that we are continuing this journey by becoming a part of the Groupon family. Groupon has been a pioneer in social commerce in many ways, and when we started talking with them, it became extremely clear that they shared the same set of values as us.”

Groupon’s shaky financial footing continues to fluctuate. Its shares fell below the company’s initial public offering price at the beginning of this month, and public confidence in the deals industry is dropping as people turn to trusted brands for ‘daily deals’ direct from the horse’s mouth. O2’s Priority Moments is a great example of this.

This talent land grab feels like the slow and steady rise of panic; an attempt to bring smart people in that might be able to change the path of a sinking ship before its too late. We’ve said before that 2012 will be the year the deals industry either matures or dies, and for now, the jury is still out on which side Groupon will fall.