The future of local is real time and mobile

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.)

Groupon tries out creepy new deal: tuck ins

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.)

Groupon investors race for the exits as lockup ends

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.)

Study: Groupon’s merchant quality is on the downslide

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.)

Doing deals the right way

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.

5 tech deals that need to happen

Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of Instagram was the topic on everyone’s lips at Mega Startup Weekend last Saturday and Sunday. The world’s most expensive “Like” has clearly gotten tech entrepreneurs buzzing about who will be next. While there’s no way to know which big deal will be next, here are five tech deals that make sense and need to happen:

Clone king Marc Samwer out as Groupon’s international head following record high ad violations

Groupon’s business stateside has been embroiled in an accounting scandal that cut the stock price in half. But its international operations are responsible for two-thirds of the company’s revenue. Yesterday the company announced that Marc Samwer, who along with his brothers notoriously creates clones of successful American startups, was stepping down as head of their international operations, to be replaced by the Austrian Veit Dengler.

6 tips for buying a daily deal

With all of the doom and gloom surrounding Groupon, which reached yet another all-time low in trading today, I thought it would be useful to write up my best practices for buying Groupons and other daily deals.