Day Twenty: I would like $18 billion…

I’m feeling a little bit punchy. I’m going to go ahead and play devil’s advocate today.

Why is everyone picking on Groupon? Since the company went public last week, and was valued at a humble $18 billion, the mob mentality has been in attack mode. I do think that current events play into this. With the Occupy protests gaining steam and popularity, money (and who has it) is an even touchier subject than usual. How exactly did this one online service come to be worth that much, and WHY is it worth that much? Honestly, I have no clue. I’ve never been able to fully grasp the stock market, and how value is assigned to shares.

What does pique my curiosity are the attacks on the service itself. Blogs and tweets are taking a tone that the service, well, sucks. Take this article from Mashable, for example.  That’s where I stop and go, “Huh?” Are they mad at the actual service, or what they see as a drastically over inflated value?

I have Groupon. I like Groupon. To be fair, no, I have never actually purchased a Groupon deal. That’s because I’m flat-ass broke. I’ve seen some really great deals I would love to spring for, but I also like to keep my house heated in the winter. I look forward to the Groupon deals each day. Many times, I have forwarded the deals on to friends that I think would be interested. More than once, I have clicked from Groupon to the website of the local business to learn more. I’ve been introduced to at least 10 local businesses that I had no idea existed thanks to Groupon.

The idea that Groupon isn’t tailored enough to each individual user makes me smile a little. Do we really need each and every service we use to basically crawl into bed with us? How else do you become exposed to new activities? You like sushi. So you never want to try a Mexican restaurant? You don’t have Christmas listed as a favorite activity on Facebook. Does that mean you don’t want to know when a local business has a holiday sale? This is probably a bad analogy, but it makes me think of the weekly circular for the grocery store. I don’t look at that and say to myself, “I only care if english muffins are on sale.” I read it thinking, “What’s on sale this week that might add value to my tummy?”

Back in 2009, Groupon was featured on Mashable.Com as a, “Spark of Genius,” startup.  The main feature of the business has not changed. Offer a great deal each day for a business in the user’s local area. It seems silly to be frusterated with a service that does exactly what it set out to do. Also, I highly doubt Groupon is resting on its laurels. When you’re a public company, you suddenly have a lot more people you need to please. Expansion and development is mandatory. There is incredible partnership potential still out there. I’m not sure why Groupon turned down Google’s $6 billion offer. (Hmmm, maybe because they realized they were worth $18 billion?) However, I still imagine it’s just a matter of time before Groupon will be using our mobile devices to tell us about the deals that are right next to us.

So, are you just mad you didn’t think of it first?

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