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Groupon's eclectic CEO Andrew Mason is fighting for his job, and his company is fighting for its life.
One of the fastest growing companies ever, the daily deals behemoth's decline is happening faster than its rise, creating an interesting spectacle that will one day be ideal fodder for MBA students, if it isn't already.
Coupons have always been a key advertising tool used to drive consumers into stores, but the online deal space is still somewhat new in Australia.
To better understand the daily deal industry, online competitions aggregator competitions.com.au has put together an interesting infographic which attempts to show the current state of the industry and where it might be headed.
Since launching in the UK in 2010 Groupon has achieved an astonishing rate of growth that is almost unrivalled in any other industry.
But, as was inevitable for a business that grew so big so fast, Groupon has also seen its fair share of negative headlines.
In December last year the OFT revealed that the company had breached UK advertising regulations 48 times, leading to an investigation into its business practices.
Then there’s the ‘accounting issues’ which have seen the companies share price drop from a high of $29 to less than $5 in less than year.
Thanks to supportive venture capitalists with deep pockets, some of the most prominent startups in recent years have been able to put off the 'making money' part of creating a new business.
But no business can survive forever without a revenue model, and for Foursquare, it looks like it's time to make money.
While daily deals giant Groupon deals continues to struggle with being a publicly-traded company, its biggest competitor, Amazon-backed LivingSocial, continues to try to prove that the daily deal model is viable when done right.
One of the biggest challenges in doing that is getting daily deal customers to return to the merchants that lured them in with a bargain.
Indeed, much of the criticism that has emerged around the daily deal model is that many if not most daily deal customers hop from business to business in search of the best deal. In the worst cases, this leaves some merchants with losses they can ill-afford.
The number of companies not doing anything with social media gets smaller and smaller by the day, but that doesn't mean that business has social media figured out.
Despite the increasing comfort that many companies and marketers have with social media, questions still linger about efficacy and ROI.
The daily deals industry has emerged from nowhere to become worth £6bn in Britain after just a few years.
Groupon and LivingSocial are arguably the market leaders in the UK, as consumers clamour for discounts and offers on anything from a haircut to a three-course meal.
But, as was inevitable for a sector that experienced such rapid growth, it's seen its fair share of negative headlines.
Groupon's woes with the OFT, plus an 'accounting error' accounting for a 17% drop in share price this week are just two examples.
The daily deals market has rapidly grown in the last three years, with market leader, Groupon, now present in 48 countries with an estimated 33m customers.
In late 2011, Groupon's IPO valuation was an estimated $12 billion. Despite this immense growth, the industry suffers from perception problems, with some even claiming the bubble has already burst.
However, the market is still relatively immature, and the industry faces many challenges before it establishes itself as a credible component of the marketing mix.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that Groupon was told to clean up its advertising practices by the OFT.
In particular, the industry needs to address its cases of failure head on and work with merchants to optimise the effectiveness of daily deals and prevent high-profile disasters (particularly those involving cupcakes).
Groupon may be a multi-billion dollar company, but the daily deal market has lost quite a bit of its luster over the past year. From consumer fatigue to merchant nightmares, the daily deal isn't going away but will likely have to evolve sooner than later.
One of the ways Groupon is addressing this is by tapping into different markets. For instance, it's experimenting with outdoor kiosks that target deals to tourists in popular U.S. cities.
Everyone loves a deal, and group buying companies like Groupon have cashed in on that in a big way.
But as a publicly traded company, keeping the momentum going is a must for Groupon, which is not only facing competition from other group buying services like Living Social, but which is also trying to keep consumers and merchants happy as daily deal fatigue sets in.
Everybody loves a deal, even if selling them is a tougher business than it might seem.
But if you're the world's largest digital purveyor of deals, how do you fend off competition and reach more consumers? If you're Groupon, you turn to the physical world.
On Monday, the company that made the 'daily deal' famous went public. Groupon's debut as a publicly-traded company was successful, despite the widespread criticism the company had received in the months leading up to its IPO.
Going public, of course, doesn't mean that Groupon has answered the serious questions about its business model and future prospects. And if moves by another player that entered the daily deals space is any indication, the company that turned daily deals into a billion-dollar market may have its work cut out for it.