I am struggling to believe in Groupon, which Google is reported to be considering buying for $5.3bn, making it the company’s largest acquisition. Despite Groupon having some social media trappings, and being profitable, it feels oddly old-fashioned.
Groupon amasses groups of users to take part in mass one-off discounting programmes by retailers – hence the name. In the US, where coupon-clipping is still popular, despite the power of Wal-Mart’s “every day low prices”, it grown very rapidly.
Google seems to be interested in Groupon to boost its local advertising and e-commerce business, the reason it almost bought Yelp a year ago.
But while Yelp clearly fitted with Google’s mission to organise the world’s information, Groupon feels more like a way for bricks-and-mortar retailers to compete with the Amazons of the world. Read more