Groupon's Formula for Success Finally Revealed

The headline says it all. A glance through Wednesday's headlines shows that, welp, the media has finally cracked Groupon's code: Nobody has any clue what's really going on over at Castle Groupon.

What we do have, though, is a somewhat clearer look back at what all went down over the holidays there. And though we caught whiffs of it with the rise and fall of its stock, Reuters and Yipit have broken down November and December, respectively.

Reuters chatted with Yipit, a daily-deal industry blog, and data analyst Unaiz Kabani explained that Groupon's gross billings swelled six percent in November while competitor LivingSocial's sank five percent.

The holidays and people's inability to shop as aggressively at their computers while eating turkey with relatives was pinpointed as one explanation for why Groupon had a strong early November but finished somewhat weaker.

Yipit goes on to paint a far less rosy picture of Groupon's Christmas season, too, estimating that billings were down 46 percent the final week of November. Information for December isn't out yet, but it's tough to say how it did. Judging by its stock -- which is at $18.75 -- it doesn't seem like it had a very Merry Christmas. But who knows what the numbers will say?

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 columnist for EGM. 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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