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.
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 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.
Amazon sold 1m daily deals vouchers in 17 hours yesterday through its AmazonLocal offers site, raising questions about the future of its strategic partner Living Social.
The e-tailer sold out of vouchers that offered a $10 Amazon giftcard for $5, presumably clocking up a huge number of new members as a result.
In January last year Living Social sold 1.4m $10-for-$20 Amazon gift cards, so Amazon already knew the tactic would work.
There are a lot of skeptics when it comes to whether merchants should use group buying sites like Groupon.
For good reason too: there are enough horror stories to demonstrate that heavy discounting and lots of customers can be a really, really bad combination.
But the viability of group buying sites themselves is increasingly called into question. Groupon, the 800 pound gorilla of the space, went public last year, giving everyone a glimpse into is finances. Finances which showed lots of revenue but heavy losses.
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Group buying websites, popularized in large part by Groupon and LivingSocial, is one of the hottest markets on the consumer internet right now. As a result, established businesses and entrepreneurs have flooded the space, hoping to capture a little piece of the action.
Despite the fact that online group buying is now generating billions of dollars per year in sales globally, some believe that market is overhyped and, more importantly, unsustainable.
According to a report by BIA/Kelsey, in just a few short years, consumer
spending on 'daily deals' like those offered by Groupon and
LivingSocial could reach $6bn.
So it's no surprise that the concept has been commoditized and everyone
is jumping on the daily deal bandwagon. Take for, instance, major
publishers like the New York Times which is launching its own daily deal
service called TimesLimited.
Yesterday, group buying service LivingSocial, which recently raised $175m in investment from Amazon, created quite a stir when it sold more than a million $20 Amazon gift cards for $10.
Not surprisingly, the frenzied buying only prompted more discussion about the group buying market, which is already one of the hottest on the consumer internet.
But behind the buzz, are cracks in the group buying model becoming more prominent?