Translating Groupon’s earnings call into plain English

In Groupon’s earnings call this week, the daily deals site tried to put a positive spin on a lot of negative developments. I couldn’t resist sharing some of CEO Andrew Mason and CFO Jason Child’s semantic maneuvers on Twitter, along with a translation into plain English. For those of you who missed them, here’s that string of tweets:

Translating $grpn earnings call: andrew mason: we’re facing “negative demand elasticity” = people don’t want to buy our shit.

Translating $GRPN earnings: better balance merchant/consumer value = make deals less attractive for consumers, reducing purchase volumes.

Translating $grpn earnings: Allocating more space in email to Goods = people are tired of laser hair removal so we’re trying liquidation.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “freeing us from email’s natural shelf-space limitations” = remember that idea you bought into? it was a fad.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “direct revenues were material” = we’re now competing head on with $AMZN.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “our revenue recognition is the same as other major ecommerce companies” = Rocky busted us, we fixed it.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “We don’t have anything to announce on share buyback” = the company is still way overvalued.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “we haven’t been shy about using people” = we throw bodies at problems because we aren’t a tech company.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “our average customer on mobile spends 50% more” = the real cheapskates download our mobile app.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “for $15, you can make you own artisan yogurt” = Groupon Goods sells a lot of crap, fortunately, people buy it.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “we don’t have a very shoppable marketplace” = we’re not $AMZN, but we want to be.

Translating $GRPN earnings: “we’re not breaking that out” = our margins on goods are terrible and would make us look bad.

If you’d like to listen to the call, you can find it on Groupon’s investor relations site. The tweets are in the order that the comments appear in the conference call.

If, after listening to this, you’re still thinking of investing, consider this: I spent the first part of this week at Pacific Crest Securities’ Global Technology Summit. Last year at this conference, all of the professional money managers wanted my opinion on Groupon. This year, no one asked about the company. Square and Starbucks is what the money managers wanted to talk about.

(Disclosure: I have various puts and wagers against Groupon. Historically, these positions have been immaterial to my personal finances. Due to yesterday’s sharp price movement in Groupon’s stock and its derivatives, I now consider these positions to be material.)