Groupon's Ups and Downs Persist Into 2013

It’s been a while since we’ve checked back in with Groupon and for good reason: Seemingly, the deals site has been on a roller coaster of the same things happening over and over again: Some individual somewhere was upset about a deal and it somehow became national news. Its stock continued to tank. It acquired some new startup we’d never heard of before. Etc., etc.

Let’s get some of the bummer news out of the way first. CNBC named CEO Andrew Mason “the worst CEO of 2012” and called him “an expensive joke for those who bought in early on the stock.” Yes, Groupon’s stock, at press time, is at $5.22. This is up from $3, where it was in December, but well, that ain’t exactly something to write home about.

Also in the bad news column is that USA Today, on Dec. 31, declared “Facebook’s Nearby app beats Groupon’s in usefulness.” Yes, both services launched an app with the same name, which works like this: When you arrive at a destination, you can use it to find out what’s going on nearby. Obviously, with Groupon’s app, you use it to find deals nearby. USA Today reportedly found that sometimes Groupon’s deals were no deals at all but rather just the regular prices you can get by popping in. Also, I’m not particularly surprised that Groupon’s app isn’t as useful: Do you ever find yourself feeling like having an impulse spa day?

In other Castle Groupon news, Breadcrumb, the POS iPad-based restaurant service, announced that it will be staying iPad-based for the time being. Seth Harris, Breadcrumb’s founder, made the announcement , saying that, “No customer has come to me and said,’ Seth you know what, Breadcrumb’s really cool, but your problem is you’re not built on an Android tablet.’”

Fair enough. Also in Groupon news: The company will be buying online retail manager CommerceInterface for an undisclosed amount.

So, well, maybe not that much has changed after all. 

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.

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