Oh, Groupon. I bet your founders (Andrew Mason, Eric Lefkofsky, and Brad Keywell) are now wishing they took Google’s $6 billion paycheck in 2010 and rode off into the sunset. Those were the Golden Days – Groupon was a media darling for its innovative business model, LivingSocial was still in its infancy, and Google Offers didn’t even exist yet (well, not at least until you basically created it with your aforementioned “thanks, but no thanks” to Google’s buyout offer).
However, perhaps the biggest setback for Groupon has been the utter destruction of its reputation during the past year, the result of all the negatives listed above. Well, all except one.
Groupon sells the most worthless pieces of crap ever known to man.
Seriously, have you looked at all the garbage Groupon has been peddling on members of late? Go back and look in your Trash folder (because if you’re like me, that’s where all of Groupon’s emails are moved to immediately upon receiving them) and you’ll see a plethora of the most inane and stupid products ever produced by man. I don’t know about you, but #1 on my Christmas list is definitely an MLB Toaster! I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat burned toast with the logo of your favorite team burnt to a crisp into your breakfast! Or if you’re more of a waffle person, Groupon has you covered, too.
Let’s see, what else can we buy from Groupon. Well, there is everyone’s favorite shitty product, a Ginsu knife set. And for the screaming 11 year old girls in your life, make sure you pick up a pair of Justin Bieber singing toothbrushes! Last, but certainly not least, be sure to pick up a giant remote controlled shark blimp… thing. Not to mention the seemingly never-ending advertisements for liposuction, cellulite removal, and yoga classes. Because Groupon says you’re fat.
I don’t know about you, but when I see all of these ridiculous and stupid items, all I can think of is Sky Mall magazine. You know, the 100 page catalogue that sells you marshmallow shooter guns, doggy viewing windows, zombie lawn ornaments, and all other sorts of crap right from the “comfort” of your airplane seat. I’m pretty sure all of you have thought “who the hell buys any of this shit from Sky Mall?” at least once in your lifetime. I’m also confident that none of you have ever thought of Sky Mall when someone asked you to list some innovators of business. If I made a game “Guess where piece of shit this is sold?!” and included the above items, could any of you really distinguish between Groupon and Sky Mall?
Ladies and gentlemen, Groupon is the 21st Century’s Sky Mall.
And yet, Groupon has somehow raised over $1 billion from venture capitalists and is the world’s fastest growing company in history. Except, just like many dotcom companies of the late 1990s, they don’t make any money. Groupon has focused exclusively on rapidly building their membership numbers, which not only costs the company millions but places profits secondary. Most of the dotcom companies followed a similar business plan, and most of them are out of business (and have been so for over a decade).
Those reasons are exactly why I predicted last summer that investing in Groupon would be a disaster, and so far I’ve been proven right. Groupon’s stock is down 54% from its IPO price, and with the company still losing tens of millions of dollars each quarter, don’t expect it to get better any time soon.
Seriously, would you want to invest your money in a company that sells the same crap that’s peddled in Sky Mall magazine?