Yesterday, Groupon hit us with a massively disappointing first-quarter earnings report, which saw its stock tumble by over 25% after hours, and now CEO Andrew Mason is out. Someone had to take the fall, and the burden came on the shoulders of Mason, who'll be replaced in the interim by Ted Leonsis and Eric Lefkofsky while the board finds a new CEO. Mason released a letter to employees, and also made it public, admitting that he knew it would leak anyway--give it a read after the break.
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Groupon has launched an instant, location-based mobile deal offering service called Groupon Now. The service offers various deals throughout the day via a mobile application or on the Web, rather than a single deal delivered to your inbox.
It's similar to the way services like Foursquare or Facebook Places offer discounts and deals, tapping into your device's GPS to peddle coupons in real-time. When you enter your location, Groupon Now lets you choose the type of deal you'd like, whether it's a half-price salsa lesson or a discount on a cheeseburger. Using your existing Groupon account, you can purchase the deal with one click, present a barcode for the vendor to scan, and claim your discount.
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Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Groupon, has issued an apology to customers in Japan by way of a YouTube video today. The apology is in relation to a New Years deal that ended up being a catastrophe. Food delivery business Bird Cafe has been featured on Groupon in the past, but the restaurant was overwhelmed by the volume of orders that came with the New Years osechi meal. Many meals were delivered late, while others were on time, but in "terrible condition." Groupon reimbursed all customers for the purchased and apologized in an email, but it's great to see Mason step up and personally apologize on video. Leaders of other companies might take notice--this is how you step up and own a mistake your company made.
Groupon is in the process of educating its merchants on "capacity planning" to avoid similar problems in the future.
Following a week of rumors about a Groupon buyout, it seems now that Google could be buying the small company for $2.5 billion, according to internal sources. While neither company will comment on rumors, VatorNews quotes an internal source that confirmed the news to them. This would be a big deal for the small company since it could then use Google's intensive data on maps, locations and userbase, which could allow them to expand past the current select list of cities that they cover. Also, the acquisition makes sense for Google as they've been trying to grow Google Places, and compete with the likes of Facebook.
Read More | VatorNews
This morning Facebook announced improvements to their iPhone and Android apps, as well as changes to how they handle their sign-on platform. First, the new Groups and Places features are now fully integrated into both apps, which also brings up the Android app to be on par with the iPhone one. This will allow you to take part of all those groups while on the go. Their mobile apps hadn't been updated in a while, so it's good to see the company commit themselves to the mobile space. As a side note, they did comment that Facebook had no plan to make a phone of their own, preferring to instead bring their platform to the devices that people use.
The second part of the announcement dealt with single sign-on. Mark Zuckerberg described the troubles and frustrations that entering usernames and passwords could be on a phone, and their approach to solving it. They are now providing developers with a way to integrate a single button that will log users to their services. Now, to log into any mobile site or service that supports this feature, all you'll have to do is click on the button "sign in with Facebook". No more username or password to remember. They showed the Groupon and Zynga apps which will support this feature soon, with many more on board.
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