The “Can’t do anything wrong these days” company is Groupon. With the talk of a $15 billion IPO in the offing and the fact that they have been handed the crown of the “Next Big Thing” (or “Greatest Indicator of a new Bubble” depending on who you listen to) the video below from CEO and co-founder Andrew Mason can give some insight into what many feel is happening with Groupon deals more often than we know.
The background is that a ‘Groupon’ went pretty poorly in Japan and Groupon is trying to silence the storm in Japan and get everyone back to ‘Groupon normal’. Right now it’s not. Here’s Mason’s apology.
To his credit this is the right thing to do. The trouble is that most of the world will now be looking for similar apologies for “Groupons Gone Bad” (it’s like Girls Gone Wild but even lamer if you can believe that). The reports about Groupon’s success are all over the place while reports of bad Groupons (don’t you just want to roll up a newspaper and whack it on the nose and yell “Bad Groupon!”) get swept away as anomalies. Groupon knows that its fate rests in the hands of SMB’s and more delivering on promises that maybe they can’t keep.
To fight that TechCrunch reports
Groupon has started educating its customers on ‘capacity planning’ to avoid problems like these to occur in all new countries it operates in, he adds.
Missteps like this of course highlight the difficulties Groupon faces, and will face in the future, as it tries to manage its rapid global expansion.
So I don’t feel anything toward Groupon good or bad. I have taken advantage of some deals that fit me and it has worked out fine. Other deals though seem suspect because there seems few better ways for poor businesses to drive cash flow that they wouldn’t have otherwise (even though it is at great cost to them) than to gather up a gaggle of bargain hunters who wouldn’t have come by anyway. As a result, I stay away, especially on the restaurant side because I am not interested in helping a sinking food ship move their inventory into my belly.
So what is your take on this video as well as the real prospects for Groupon? Is this more hype than reality? Is this such a young vertical that Groupon’s IPO and valuation are a chance to simply ‘make hay while the sun is shining’?
Let’s hear it.