groupon

Groupon Soars Thanks To A Rumor Google Might Buy It (GRPN, GOOG)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-stock-2012-12

Groupon’s stock was up 23% today.

Bloomberg is reporting there’s speculation that Google might take over Groupon.

Two years ago, Google wanted to buy Groupon for $6 billion, but was rejected. Today, the company is worth $3 billion. While growth has slowed, its core business is bigger. Google might think that it could buy Groupon, shutter the underperforming businesses and fix the flaws. 

Or, this could just be chatter. Bloomberg doesn’t really source where the speculation is coming from.

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Friday, December 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Groupon’s Stock Is On Fire And No One Knows Why (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-stock-2012-12

Groupon is on tear today for some reason.

The stock was up as much as 24%, and we’re not sure why.

The only thing we can think of is that there’s new news about CEO Andrew Mason, but we haven’t heard anything.

grpn

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Friday, December 7th, 2012 news No Comments

1,000 Jobs Gone At Groupon And LivingSocial; Can The Daily Deal Sector Turn It Around? (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/layoffs-at-groupon-and-livingsocial-2012-11

Daily deals title image lifehackerThe daily deal world is in turmoil.

LivingSocial just announced the firing of 400 employees, which is about 8.9% of its total workforce.

What’s more unnerving is that over the past six months, Groupon reduced its workforce by 648 positions.

More than 1,000 reductions across both businesses is a huge deal. Those reductions aren’t all layoffs; some are through attrition.

To cap it all, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s job was in question all week, and he only received his board of directors’ seal of approval late Thursday.

If this was happening at Facebook or Twitter — or any other major tech brand — people would be freaking out.

So why isn’t anyone freaking out yet?

Arguably, this is a recession in the daily deal business.

It’s the industry’s first, given that it didn’t exist until about four years ago.

LivingSocial told Business Insider via email about the job cuts. “After two years of hyper-growth from 450 to more than 4500 employees, these moves will align our cost structure against our 2013 plans and will help us set the company on a path for long-term growth and profitability. Specifically, they will allow us to invest more in critical pr! iorities like marketing, mobile, and the hiring of additional technology staff.”

LivingSocial told CNNMoney that it is moving much of its customer service from its headquarters in D.C. to Tuscon, “so some job openings will be available in that area.” Sales and editorial, however, have simply been “streamlined.”

The job losses reflect the shaky economic underpinnings of the daily deal business, which Groupon and LivingSocial have yet to wrestle into control.

LivingSocial posted a net loss of $566 million in Q3 2012. $496 million of LivingSocial’s loss stems from a huge writedown of some of its acquisitions from 2011, the Washington Business Journal reports. LivingSocial’s revenue also fell to $124 million in the three-month period, down from $138 million in the second quarter.

As of market close today, Groupon’s stock price is currently sitting at $4.54, according to Yahoo Finance. The 52-week range is shocking: it reached a high of $25.84. That followed six months’ of shrinking total billings at the company. (Its American business is robust; the international arm less so.)

A Groupon spokesperson tells us that its layoffs were largely due to new technology the company invested in that made those jobs irrelevant. In fact, we’re told, Groupon has 200 job vacancies open across North America right now.

And, of course, the job cuts don’t mean that Groupon and LivingSocial are going to vanish tomorrow. They’re huge businesses after all. But they are cause for concern as they illuminate potential weaknesses in the daily deal ! business model.

The main problem is operational scale.

Both companies are dependent on large salesforces. It is very difficult for them to leverage operation scale: To sell more, they need to employ more people. Groupon historically has prided itself on the long-term relationships its salesforce builds with its merchants. They have struggled to leverage self-serve, turnkey sales the way Facebook has.

In fact, Groupon and LivingSocial aren’t even tech companies. Rather, they’re email companies. Although email is here to stay for a long time, the tidal shift among consumers is away from email to instant messaging, social media messaging, and mobile phone messaging. They need to pivot into alternate methods.

Groupon is trying just that, with Groupon Goods, which so far has been a success. And both companies need to do what Groupon says it is trying to do, which is replace human-to-human selling with tech that can increase each individual worker’s selling power.

Lastly, the downturn ask whether the daily deal business has hit one of its natural ceilings: new merchants. Both companies need a fresh supply of new merchants to offer more deals, or to re-up on repeated deals. It’s an open question that both Groupon and LivingSocial now have to prove: Is there enough new merchants or incremental repeat business from merchants for the sector to continue to grow?

A thousand-plus layoffs suggest that, for now, the question lacks a satisfying answer.

Don’t Miss: Groupon CEO Andrew Mason Keeps His Job!

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Friday, November 30th, 2012 news No Comments

Small Businesses Are Backing Away From Groupon This Holiday Season

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/small-shops-skip-groupon-for-holidays-2012-11

small business

This holiday season, small retailers are leaving Groupon off their lists as far as sales strategy goes.

This shopping season is the biggest one of the year, and small businesses often rely on sales made during this period to bring them into the black as the year comes to a close.

A sales strategy that didn’t work during the rest of the year is out of the question for the holidays, says Pamela Springer, CEO of online small business network Manta.

This doesn’t bode well for Groupon and other daily deals sites. Only 3percent of retailers got repeat customers out of daily deals promotions, according to a survey Manta released Oct. 30.

“They’re doubling down on things that work, and leaving things that are less proven or they’ve had experience with and didn’t work off to the side,” says Springer.

If businesses aren’t getting repeat customers out of Groupon deals, they’re losing money, says Anthony Bruce, CEO of retail data analyzer Applied Predictive Technology. Groupon often charges businesses as much as half the revenue of a deal sale, which is usually a drastic discount already.

“If there are future purchases that occur because of a Groupon, that’s great,” says Bruce. “If it’s an incremental visit I wouldn’t have gotten anyway, it’s bad. If it’s a visit I would have gotten anyway but did it with a Groupon, that’s terrible.”

Jennifer Untermeyer says she won’t use Groupon this holiday season, because she lost money on the five daily deals she ran last year for her business, TravelKiddy, an online store that sells toys and games to keep kids busy during road trips or plane rides. She ran her first $10 deal for $20 of merchandise on Eversave last November, trying to snag holiday travelers, and ran four more similar deals on niche mom-! themed d eals sites, hoping to score new customers.

It didn’t work.

“We can tell how many people we’ve had repeat, and it’s eight or nine out of 3,000 deals,” she says. “We ended up in an overall loss, even factoring in the marketing benefits.”

Sales chief Kal Raman says Groupon helps businesses retain customers through its reward program, which is sort of like a frequent-flier program for customers. The program helps businesses track purchases a Groupon customer has made, and after a certain level of spending is reached, Groupon automatically sends the customer a free deal.

“We effectively become their loyalty-management company,” says Raman, who sees Groupon as a great way for retailers to sell inventory they’d otherwise be sitting on. “As a small-business owner, you can aim high, and we can hedge that risk.”

Will Ander, senior partner of retail strategy firm McMillan Doolittle, says liquidation is the only good thing Groupon does for small retailers. “It’s more effective than giving it to the Salvation Army.”

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 news No Comments

Facebook Just Launched ANOTHER New Revenue Stream, Goes After Groupon (FB)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-offers-ads-are-no-longer-free-2012-9

mark zuckerberg, disrupt 2012,

Facebook Inc said it will start charging businesses to run Offers on its social network, turning a previously free service into a potential revenue generator at a time when Wall Street is demanding new sources of growth and profit from the company.

Facebook launched Facebook Offers earlier this year, letting retailers and other local merchants send deals to their Facebook fans.

Users claim the offers from their News Feeds and redeem the vouchers at stores to get discounts.

The service has been free, but in coming weeks Facebook will require merchants to pay at least $5 on related ads to promote each Facebook Offer to a targeted audience of fans and friends of fans. The cost will vary based on the size of a company’s Facebook pages.

Since Facebook went public in May, the company has been under pressure from Wall Street to show how it can turn its giant social network into a money machine. Facebook shares have lost about 40 percent of their value since the IPO.

The commerce potential of Facebook, known as f-commerce, has yet to materialize, partly because retailers have been able to feast on a host of free tools on the social network to attract customers.

Tying Facebook Offers to a paid ad service suggests the company is working to change this.

“We think this aligns incentives nicely,” said Gokul Rajaram, director of product management for Facebook’s advertising and Pages businesses. “The best results on Facebook Offers will come from organic distribution plus paid distribution.”

In the past, some Facebook Offers have not been relevant to all users, partly because some people saw deals in their News Feeds from merchants located far away from where they live, Rajaram ad! ded.

“The requirement to pay for related ads will focus merchants on who and where they want the offer to reach,” he said.

Facebook is also expanding Offers to online-only businesses, he added. Before, the service was available only to merchants with physical locations.

Facebook is also adding barcodes for offers, so customers can redeem offers more easily. The barcodes work globally, Rajaram noted.

The executive declined to disclose how many Facebook Offers have been run so far, how many merchants have taken part, or how many deals have been claimed and redeemed by consumers.

However, he said Facebook is “very happy” with the success of its Offers business.

“That’s why we’re expanding and investing more in it,” Rajaram said.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr and Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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Thursday, September 20th, 2012 news No Comments

Another Top Groupon Sales Executive Is Leaving

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/another-top-groupon-sales-executive-is-leaving-2012-8

Andrew Mason

The head of Groupon’s national sales, Lee Brown, is leaving the company.

Reuters first broke the news last night after obtaining an internal memo and Groupon has since confirmed Brown’s departure.

The memo was written by Groupon’s head of operations, Kal Raman.

Raj Ruparell, head of Groupon Goods, will be taking over Brown’s position.

Brown joined Groupon in 2010 from Yahoo and formed Groupon’s first national sales division. The memo did not say where Brown is headed next, but AllThingsD says his leaving may be Raman’s doing. Raman was recently appointed to his SVP role and is reportedly “cleaning house.”

Brown is the second top sales executive to depart Groupon this week. Jayna Cooke’s departure was made known three days ago; she was one of the company’s top salespeople who led the charge on major corporate accounts like Gap.

“Under Lee’s management, the team has secured a number of key customers, and I’d like to personally thank Lee for his contributions and wish him the best in his next opportunity,” Raman wrote.

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Friday, August 24th, 2012 news No Comments

These Are The Creepiest Groupon Deals Ever

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/worst-groupon-deals-ever-2012-6

Groupon, Groupon towel, beach

Earlier this week, Groupon made the decision to ban “adult merchants” from its quick-deals site. This was after “morality” groups went crazy over the site’s special deals for tours of the Playboy Mansion and of a studio that specializes in torture porn.

But that’s just the tip of the weird-finds-on-Groupon iceberg. 

From quick deals on circumcisions (yes, really) to paying $100 to have a Groupon employee tuck you into bed, here are the most winning losers of Groupon.

It appears as if the most bizarre merchant on Groupon is Groupon itself. For a mere $1,000, Groupon will name your baby.

Granted it was a Father’s Day PR stunt.

Earlier this week, Groupon Chicago put up a deal in which you can pay $100 to have a Groupon employee tuck you into bed. And people bought it!

We understand the price tag for a fancy 13-night cruise, but why on earth add a signed DVD from a Leonardo DiCaprio IMPERSONATOR?

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Monday, June 11th, 2012 news No Comments

LinkedIn Hits Its Stride As A Public Company (LNKD, GRPN, ZNGA)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-linkedin-groupon-zynga-2012-5

LinkedIn seems to have hit its stride as a public company, with the stock soaring 86% year to date.

LinkedIn reported earnings last night, and once again, it was a strong performance. In this era of hot tech companies IPOing and then getting crushed, it’s nice to see LinkedIn doing so well. The company has been pretty flawless in its execution as far as we can tell.

Below, you can see the stock growth comparisons for LinkedIn, Zynga, and Groupon from the first day of trading. It’s good news for Zynga. As you can see it took LinkedIn almost 7 months to get back to its opening trading price. Zynga has crashed, but if it can deliver a strong performance, it too could rebound.

As for Groupon, it has its work cut out for itself.

chart of the day, linkedin, groupon, zynga stock performance, may 2012

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Saturday, May 5th, 2012 news No Comments

Hard To See How Howard Schultz Quitting Groupon’s Board Is Anything But Lousy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/howard-schultz-quits-groupons-board-2012-5

Howard Schultz

Groupon’s stock continued its implosion yesterday, as two high-profile board members quit the board.

Howard Schultz of Starbucks and Kevin Efrusy of investor Accel Partners bolted. Groupon replaced them with financial types from American Express and Deloitte.

Although the moves were spun as “adding financial experts to the board,” the real story is the departure of Schultz, who, at best, feels he has better things to do. (At worst, he’s fleeing a sinking ship before it takes him down with it.)

Another potentially interesting data point: The first Groupon executive quoted in the press release was not CEO Andrew Mason but Chairman Eric Lefkofksy. Perhaps Lefkofsky is reasserting control over the company?

Groupon’s stock crashed through $11 on the news, hitting a post-IPO low of ~$10.70. That gives it a market cap of about $7 billion, or about 3X this year’s revenue. That’s a far more reasonable valuation than the ridiculous $28 the stock hit on the morning of the IPO, but it’s still not a bargain-basement price. Given the uncertainty about what Groupon’s profit margin will eventually be, the stock could presumably trade at an even lower multiple.

We continue to think Groupon is building a real, viable business, and we expect that at some point it will move past this constantly-shooting-itself-in-the-foot phase. But Schultz’s departure is not encouraging.

SEE ALSO: No, I Still Wouldn’t Buy Groupon Stock

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Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 news No Comments

Groupon Has Completely Collapsed (GRPN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-groupon-stock-2012-4

Groupon’s stock has been absolutely crushed since the middle of February. The stock dropped another 5% today.

The bad news for shareholders is that it’s still arguably overpriced. With a $7 billion market cap, it’s trading at 3X revenue. It still has some room to fall.

The good news for shareholders is that it’s not going to zero. There’s a business in there, it just needs to find a proper valuation.

chart of the day, groupon stock, april 2012

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Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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