Guest Post How much is a Facebook user worth? Well, that depends on where the user is from.
stories by Rakesh Agrawal
Guest Post Groupon, the troubled daily deals company, has found a new way to mislead its investors. By my estimates, Groupon inflated its first quarter North American revenue by 5% to 8%. (Disclosure: I have various puts and wagers against Groupon.)
Guest Post Turning Yahoo around is going to be really tough. And this really has nothing to do with new CEO Marissa Mayer and everything to do with the current state of Yahoo and how long its products have been neglected.
Guest Post Daily deals site LivingSocial is taking on online shopping. Although many will compare it to Groupon Goods, it’s a very different product targeted at a different audience. (Disclosure: I have puts and several wagers against Groupon.)
Guest Post With its stock continually reaching new lows, Groupon is going to greater heights to find customers. The daily-deals site is now advertising deals to customers via Gogo’s in-flight wireless service. (Disclosure: I have puts and several wagers relating to Groupon.)
Guest Post Since the mid-1990s, entrepreneurs have been trying to tackle the local market. Many have failed. Others, like Yelp and Groupon, have been successful selling services to small businesses, but those services are of dubious value. (Disclosure: I have puts against Yelp and Groupon.)
Guest Post Groupon stock hit another all-time low today. That in itself is not news — the company has had a habit of setting all time lows.
Guest Post Yesterday, I wrote about some of the challenges that face companies that use social media for customer service. Today, I want to share a fantastic experience I had with Starwood’s customer service.
Guest Post With one-search access to a lot of our lives on the Internet, we’re at the beginnings of a lot of discussions on what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to social media and database usage.
Guest Post In day one of its Google I/O developer conference yesterday, Google upped the ante with many long-term foes and entered some new spaces.
Guest Post Digital punch cards for small businesses are a stupid form of loyalty marketing.
Guest Post Mobile payments company Square just got another new competitor: RevCoin’s Coin service.
Guest Post It’s been a little bit more than three years since in-flight WiFi started to really take to the skies, but it’s already becoming an indispensable tool for many travelers.
Guest Post Discount hotel app HotelTonight announced $23 million in funding yesterday. It’s the kind of deal company I can get behind. (Disclosure: HotelTonight provided me a $100 credit to try the service.)
Guest Post Groupon today launched a unique deal: You can have a Groupon employee come and tuck you into bed. As far as strange deals go, this one even beats out the deal offered by Groupon Philippines for 76% off circumcisions. (Disclosure: I have options against Groupon.)
Guest Post Groupon shares dropped to a new all-time low today as its lockup ended, releasing a torrent of new shares onto the market. Thirty minutes into the trading session, Groupon had already traded 75% of its average daily trading volume. This was Groupon’s third highest volume trading day. (Disclosure: I have various puts against Groupon.)
Guest Post San Francisco is going from zero non-stop flights to Washington National Airport to two non-stops this summer. Virgin America announced today that it will start its service to the airport just a few miles from Capitol Hill on August 14. United started service on the route two weeks ago. Flights from San Francisco to Washington National had been illegal for more than 40 years. Virgin America got a much coveted exemption to the airport’s perimeter rule.
Groupon’s POS order entry screen
Guest Post Groupon is testing out an offering of its own in the increasingly crowded payments space, according to an email I was forwarded by a business that was solicited for the service. (Disclosure: I have various puts against Groupon.)
Guest Post In its latest experiment in local commerce, LivingSocial is getting hands on with a new events space in downtown DC. Called 918 F, the space hosts a variety of events including cooking classes, zumba sessions, pop-up restaurants, and painting classes with wine.
Guest Post With Facebook’s IPO less than 24 hours away, I remain very bullish about the company. (Disclosure: I have entered my indication of interest with my broker for an IPO allocation. I expect that, like most people who ask for shares, I will get none.)
Guest Post American Express is releasing a new version of its iPhone app today that lets users find offers at nearby businesses. The new feature, dubbed “My Offers,” represents a threat to Groupon, which has tried to entice merchants to market through its mobile product, Groupon Now. (Full disclosure: I have a very small stake in AmEx and a variety of short positions in Groupon.)
Guest Post Have you had the feeling the quality of Groupon deals is going down? If so, you’re right. A report released this morning by Giorgos Zervas, a postdoctoral fellow of computer science at Yale University, shows that the average rating of a Groupon merchant before a deal runs is declining as Groupon matures. Zervas and other researchers had shown earlier that a business’s individual Yelp ratings dropped after running a Groupon. Yelp ratings by Groupon customers were, on average, 10% lower than those of their peers. (Disclosure: I met Zervas after the initial study and offered my theory that the average Yelp rating of merchants featured would be declining.)
Guest Post Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s latest explanations don’t cut it. He needs to go.
Guest Post I’ve voiced quite a bit of opposition to the daily deals industry, but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to discounting in general. Discounting can be an important part of the marketing mix, especially for encouraging trials.
Guest Post Recently, people have questioned my motivations around writing about Groupon. They have tried to insinuate that I’m writing about Groupon for personal financial gain.
In Andrew Mason’s recent letter to shareholders and in a press release touting 1.5 million Groupon Now deals sold, Groupon has been highlighting the product as an example of innovation and a potential positive for the beleaguered company.
After an accounting restatement, a shuffling of its board of directors and Groupon’s stock falling to below 50 percent of its initial public offering price (and 66 percent off the high it reached on its first day of trading), Groupon CEO Andrew Mason wrote a letter to shareholders yesterday to try to swing the momentum back in the company’s favor.
Some people interpreted my piece calling out Silicon Valley’s snobbishness about computer science degrees as a defense of embattled Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson. It’s not.
Groupon is changing its payment terms with merchants, according to several sources familiar with Groupon’s business and contracts. The company has traditionally used two different payment models. In the United States and Canada, merchants have been paid in three installments.
I don’t have a computer science degree. There, I said it.
According to a former salesperson at Groupon, top sales talent is leaving the company as its troubles mount. As of this morning, Groupon reached another all time low, trading on the NASDAQ at $10, half off its $20 IPO price. In just the month of April, the stock lost 42% of its value.
The other day, I tweeted “I should be able to ban anyone who rates Applebee’s 4* from ever influencing a Yelp result for me.” That sentiment touched a nerve among my followers. Shervin Pishevar of Menlo Ventures coined it “ The Agrawal-Applebee Law”.
Delivery and takeout order service GrubHub is testing its OrderHub service in more than 400 restaurants in Chicago. I’ve complimented GrubHub before for adapting to how restaurants do business — by sending orders to them by fax. Now it’s helping some of its higher volume restaurants in Chicago automate the process with OrderHub, a tablet that alerts restaurants to new orders and allows them to confirm the order.
In the midst of all the turmoil of Groupon, which is now trading at a market cap below $8 billion and broke below the $12 mark in trading today, the company’s hometown newspaper had a sitdown with Groupon chairman Eric Lefkofsky. As a former journalist who once aspired to work at the Tribune, I’m embarrassed for them.