Groupon Goes Down in Flames has Investors Bail

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Investors are quickly bailing as Groupon experienced a new closing low on Friday, with shares down 5% at $4.75. Their stock-price declined even more last week after their second quarter results reflected a decline in customer growth and revenue.

Some of Groupons earliest investors have begun selling off their shares, with Fidelity selling 1/3 of its stake, Maverick Capital selling over 4 million shares, and Andreessen Horowitz selling all 5.1 million shares originally purchased.

Groupon’s IPO was in November of 2011, and since then its shares have dropped over 80%, making it now worth only half of the purchase amount it was offered by Google in 2010. In fact, many of Groupon’s advisers strongly recommended that Groupon delay its IPO, stating that they felt it was just too soon. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, a former Groupon director, was among those who felt that it was being offered prematurely. He resigned from Groupon in April of this year.

Many were concerned about possible scrutiny after Groupon shared its IPO plan which, among other things, included the staggering amount of money spent on marketing to obtain new customers. The amount of money, in fact, surprised many investors and several urged Groupon to scrap IPO plans until a later date.

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And with customer satisfaction appearing to be at an all-time low, chances are good that they would need to spend a fortune on wooing customers back.

Many customers are tired of the frequency of Groupon emails, as well as frustrated with poor quality of the offers. UnsubscribeDeals.com, a service that unsubscribes users from all of the daily deal sites, allows users to vent their frustrations with the sites. Among them, users said:

“I get about 10-15 group buying deals a day and they are a pain to sift through. I buy from these deals maybe once every 3 months, but have to put up with junk most of the time”

“I bought a daily deal for a spa. The spa turned out to be someone’s apartment. The 15 minute sauna session at the beginning was me, sitting in a fold out chair in the middle of her living room wrapped in tin foil with a space heater underneath.”

“I went all the way to the Upper East Side for a spray tan coupon once. I came out orange and they said not to shower for 24 hours. I woke up and my blankets were all orange.”

While Groupon’s future seems uncertain, one thing is clear: if they want to stay in it for the long-haul, they have to do some serious work in regaining the confidence of both investors and customers.

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