Looking back years from now, Groupon might just be the Pets.com of the current tech bubble (though Pinterest will give it a run for its money). Sure, the daily-deal site made money for itself, but only in the most parasitic, unsustainable of ways. Customers enjoyed their daily deals (i.e. half-off massages), but factoring in Groupon’s cut and the demand for the deals, the businesses (i.e. spas, etc.) involved bled money even as foot traffic increased. So, eventually, Groupon started losing partners, then customers wanted refunds, and the company finds itself slowly bottoming out.
The refund demand was the last straw: it got so out-of-hand, the company was forced to restate its 2011 earnings in order to pay out the refunds, missing the mark by about $100 million. Thus, along with the fact that their stock has been in free fall since its IPO, the SEC has begun to investigate its business practices (accounting in particular), per an announcement yesterday. Funny, the SEC should’ve just investigated its business model, first.
[via Business Insider]