the best idea, the worst idea, or both?

Jay Goltz presents an analysis of groupon on the You’re the Boss blog of the New York Times, in the eye of a six billion dollar hype storm. I can’t help but wish that more of this clear headed analysis is needed in business journalism.

I have never seen anything that is both so celebrated and demonized at the same time. There has been talk that Groupon might be worth as much as $3 billion (it now looks as if Google thinks Groupon might be worth as much as $6 billion), and yet here are some blog comments from retailers who’ve tried the service:

“It is for desperate businesses.”

“The financials just can’t work out.”

“Groupon is the worst marketing ever.”

“We did Groupon. It was O.K. It brought in new customers — we kept most of them. But the margins are a killer.”

As a retailer who has used Groupon — as well as traditional advertising — to build my business, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Is Groupon the worst marketing ever? Or is it the best marketing ever? Probably both. One thing is for sure: Groupon is a beast.

What else would you call something that can deliver 2,000 customers to your store? It’s a beast that can propel your business or smother it. It depends on your business.

via Is Groupon Good for a Small Business? Do the Math – NYTimes.com.

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