The business ethics of Groupon

December 2nd, 2010 § 0 comments

A few weeks ago I wrote about Groupon and how it has flourished as an entrepreneurial business. Groupon serves two groups of customers: the consumers who buy the coupons, and the small businesses that run deals with Groupon.

Posie's Cafe and owner Jessie Burke

While Groupon does a pretty good job of satisfying the first group, there are a few recent incidents that have emerged putting Groupon’s relationship with its small business partners in the spotlight. Portland-based Posie’s Cafe ran a “$6 for $13 of Bites and Beverages” deal in March 2010, and with almost 1,000 vouchers bought, the owner made claims that she lost over $8,000 at during one month of the process. Groupon also sold 2,000 vouchers for a photography business in Marietta, GA, when it emerged that, not only could the business possibly serve that many consumers in a year, but the owner was advertising with stolen photographs.

Groupon’s blog post in response to Posie’s brought up a good point that had been lost on me as a consumer: Groupon is essentially an advertising service, more so than a coupon/discount provider. Small businesses pay (or sacrifice) by splitting 50% (usually) of the coupon’s revenue with Groupon for getting its name out there to Groupon’s massive emailing list/network. The profits only roll in once Groupon customers become repeat ones or buy more than the $13 of discounted products.

This, in my mind, begs the question: are all of Groupon’s business practices ethically sound? The situation with Posie’s raised the point that Groupon takes 50% of a deal’s revenue for a pretty low value-added service. Regardless, it is the responsibility of business owners to critically consider the opportunity costs of offering a Groupon for their business. Hopefully they will learn from Posie’s and others before making any rash business decisions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

What's this?

You are currently reading The business ethics of Groupon at Equanimity.

meta

  • About Me

    2nd year Sauderite, IB survivor. Canucks & Habs fan. Gymnast of 16 yrs. Aspiring Web/Graphic Designer. Social Media enthusiast. Occasional Apple fangirl.
  • Categories

  • RSS Twitter

  • Archives

    September 2014
    M T W T F S S
    « Dec    
    1234567
    891011121314
    15161718192021
    22232425262728
    2930  

Spam prevention powered by Akismet