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Groupon's stock is at $4.60. Even objectively speaking, this is not exactly good. But it's worth making the distinction that not everything Groupon does is bad, which many other bloggers and even media outlets are implying -- and as mentioned before, those "Groupon's stock now on deep discount" headlines were hardly clever the first time around a couple months ago.
I think, really, what's going on here is a lot of brand confusion, but not in the traditional sense. It's confusion within the brand itself about where to go, who to be and all the possibilities that those two big questions entail. Castle Groupon has gotten a lot, lot quieter in the last few months at a time when, in my opinion, it shouldn't be. Being quiet in trying times doesn't make you look like a hard worker -- it makes you look like you're hiding. Hiding something, maybe? I don't think that's the case with Groupon, but it sends mixed signals. Obviously this is a time for Groupon to make some waves and show it intends to take control of things. What we're seeing are a few scattershot noises from Groupon's general direction, and the stock continues to drop.
Obviously, this means what Groupon's doing isn't working.
There are dashes of the old Groupon that shine through, like Groupon offering the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game on Aug. 30. You get more than just throwing out the pitch, but, see, that's a pretty cool opportunity, even if it's pretty darn expensive and it goes to charity. Having a Groupon employee tuck you into bed -- a real offer the company dished out a few months back -- of course isn't as noble and just comes across as goofy and childish. I think most people wouldn't mind if Groupon retained its goofy charm and just remained dedicated to picking a path and sticking with it. Surely Groupon's planning something big, right? Why else would it have gobbled up all those startups this year?
Look, Groupon has been kicked around plenty this year, and with good cause. The latest analysis, from Forbes examines the three main reasons most folks got caught up with the hype and have wound up losing a lot money investing in the company, and it's fair and even-handed. We've heard plenty of folks taking potshots, the same ones, even, at the company. It'd be nice to hear Groupon take a scythe to the crops here and pipe up for a change. But who knows if that'll even happen, or if it does, if it'll be too little too late.
I mention this because what we are hearing isn't soothing. As Wall Street Cheat Sheet wrote on Thursday:
On a different note, CEO Andrew Mason stated recently that the company is adding additional front-line sales reps, which makes analysts that were already panicked regarding the stock even more anxious, but the reputation of the company as an unhappy place to work may show its effects.
Groupon, if you won't listen to the media, will you at least listen to the wisdom of the towheaded Eminem: "Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity / To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment / Would you capture it or just let it slip? /Yo."
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.