CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 10: The Groupon logo is displayed in the lobby of the company's international headquarters on June 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Groupon, a local e-commerce marketplace that connects merchants and consumers by offering goods and services at a discount, announced June 2 that it had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed initial public offering of its Class A common stock. The company, launched in Chicago in November 2008 now markets products and services in 43 countries around the world. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
There's not much to report on the Groupon front this week, as the nation collectively shakes off the tryptophan-flecked rust, but elsewhere in the world (i.e., not in America) it's a different story. Another one of Groupon's Asian outposts is once again getting its wrists slapped. This time, it's Groupon Korea who is being fined by South Korea's antitrust watchdog for "posting fake reviews and for fabricating the number of products sold" according to the Korea Herald.
The story also elaborates that:
An employee at Groupon Korea wrote 147 reviews of products on the Groupon Web site pretending to be a customer who purchased and used the item, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said in a statement.
In all, the FTC fined the equivalent of $14,773 in real American dollars (17 million won in Korea moolah), and Groupon has already taken corrective measures. But still, the frequency with these flare-ups seems more reminiscent of a problem child skipping school and smoking cigarettes than an international company that's being publicly traded.
And for what it's worth, our recent interview with Luther Lowe, Yelp's director of business outreach, is worth revisiting since it's on this very topic: handling online reviews. This really shouldn't need to be said aloud, but writing your own reviews and posing as customers is a big no-no. But apparently it bears saying aloud, so you might as well read an expert on the subject speaking about it. And remember, on sites like Yelp, the business owner can respond directly and publicly to user comments, something to weigh when considering whether to list a Groupon. Yelp's FAQ has a lot of great additional information, too.
Meanwhile, hopping back to Groupon's IPO, its stock as of press time is at $17.41. That's up from last week's low point of $17.01, but hardly grounds for celebration. But that might be the tryptophan coursing through our veins talking.