Seeking Alpha

Groupon roundup: sales rep fired, partner network launched, Piper upbeat

  • Groupon (GRPN -1.1%) has fired a sales rep who ignited a firestorm by sending an e-mail that passive-aggressively threatened a restaurant owner who hung up on him with negative Yelp (YELP -1.8%) reviews from friends.
  • Yelp has long contended with complaints its reviews are prone to manipulation, both via positive reviews from business owners (or those paid by them) and negative reviews from rival businesses.
  • The company has tried to address the issue by investigating complaints, tagging local businesses found guilty of deceitful practices, and using an algorithm to filter questionable/low-quality reviews.
  • The firing comes as Groupon launches a partner network to handle its ongoing affiliate marketing deals with 3rd-party sites/apps. 10K content publishers spread across 34 countries are supported.
  • VP Sean Smyth asserts Groupon offers promoted via affiliate marketing have higher conversion rates than other approaches (e-mail, mobile notifications, etc.), and thinks a formal network will help with international distribution. The company eventually wants hundreds of thousands of sites to be covered.
  • More bullish comments from Piper's Gene Munster: a July Piper survey found 65% of those who had bought a Groupon planned on making another purchase.
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