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.)

Foursquare 3.0 will recommend where to check in

Foursquare, the hot location-based check-in startup, today announced on its blog that it will be releasing Foursquare 3.0 later today for Android and iPhone. The new version comes with several feature updates, but probably the most notable is the much-rumored recommendation engine.

Google launches local business-recommendation engine Hotpot

Google today announced on its blog the release of Hotpot, a recommendation engine for local businesses based on you and your friends’ ratings. Hotpot is an addition to the company’s Google’s Places initiative, a campaign to get local business owners to claim their venues, verify information and engage with customers.