Groupon Gets Fussy, Unapologetic, and Slightly Richer

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Groupon's IPO is now nearly a week old.

The stock has been mostly up, but the company has been quiet, which is strange behavior for the ironic, hipster company.

That changed slightly, Wednesday, when Suneel Gupta, Groupon's VP of Product, posted on the site's official blog about its latest service: Deal Types and Places.

Essentially, it's a streamlined way of personalizing deals. It asksl you input data about the sorts of deals you like and that data will subsequently affect what you're pitched going forward. That information goes to a tag cloud you can tweak later, but it's decidedly unimpressive thus far.

It also feels like it's been done before -- and that Groupon's now the equivalent of your recently retired dad who does nothing but stroll around in his unfastened bathrobe and fix the toaster that wasn't broken.

Also somewhat of a letdown is the accompanying video Groupon explaining this new service. For a company that's performed so well and raised $700 million in the IPO, the video is awful spartan and lacking in any sense of the company's brashness. After all, the place is run by Andrew Mason -- a guy who was photographed in Vanity Fair wearing a cat as a hat. The video shows two guys in front of a dry-erase board in a conference room. What, they couldn't jokingly spring for golden tuxedos and charring tiparillos lounging in an ashtray?

Meanwhile, smaller merchants are beginning to lose patience with Groupon. The Wall Street Journal has interviewed several of them nationwide who are reporting that Groupon holds onto payments far too long before giving the merchant its cut of the deal.

"The payment timing is so erratic you can't count on any of that money helping to pay your bills," Mark Grohman, owner of Meridian Restaurant in Winston-Salem, N.C., told the WSJ.
Others say they're already abandoning Groupon after giving them a few more tries simply because they need the capital as soon as possible to keep it in the bank and reinvest in their company.

Groupon's stock, as of press time, is at $24.02.

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