After a string of bad news for the company, it looks like the cofounder and CEO of LivingSocial is jumping ship.
Tim O’Shaughnessy, head of the daily deals site that brings you fabulous discounts on mozzarella making classes and pole dancing seminars, announced in an email to staff that he’ll be stepping down sometime in the first half of the year.
Ever find yourself wondering, on a slow Thursday afternoon, what Groupon’s up to these days? Well, here’s an update, courtesy of ABC News: The site is currently running a deal on P EZ travel urinals for the ladies, though really it would be better described as a pee funnel.
P EZ? Get it?
Bet you thought the next big story in the ailing daily deals business was going to be Andrew Mason’s ouster. And yet, it’s a competitor making headlines: Bloomberg News reports that LivingSocial has laid off 400 of its 4,500 employees. That’s about 9 percent of its staff, for those keeping score at home.
Yesterday, Lot18–the members-only site for flash sales of wine–announced in a statement distributed to wine industry publications that it will permanently shutter its U.K. operations, effective at the end of the week. That includes laying off six full-time employees.
Apparently, British oenophiles are hard customers to come by these days.
The statement explains the closing: “The supermarkets’ stranglehold on the UK market proved too powerful for us to compete with and we have not experienced the anticipated growth rate.”
For those keeping score at home, this is not the first time Lot18 has dropped the axe on a significant number of employees. Back in January, the luxe startup let go of 15 percent of its staff–its first stumble following an explosive expansion. At the time, Lot18 CEO Philip James told Betabeat, “A lot of this is a natural part of the way a business grows and evolves.” Think he’s currently eating–or perhaps swigging–his words?
Daily deals were on the rise last year, and for a few heady months everyone got really excited about them. Groupon’s copy was still cute and quirky and hadn’t yet begun to tip over into cloying; 2-for-1 skydiving lessons were still a happy novelty; this reporter even interviewed for a Google Offers copywriting gig (and no, she didn’t get it).
But then came that faint gloom cloud, and suddenly the daily deal business model was being called into question. And frankly, it got really, really tiring to delete emails from Groupon, Living Social and Google Offers on a regular basis for coupons we would occasionally buy and then never use.
That’s why we’re thankful for Unsubscribe Deals, a new web application from a “recovering lawyer” named Edwin Hermawan and a West Village waitress named Lea Pische. In one easy step, the app connects to your Gmail account and automatically unsubscribes you from the deals emails you signed up for, including Groupon, Amazon Local and Daily Candy.
Daily Deals Dating
When the daily deals trend collapses, the third-party client apps that streamline daily deals will be the first to go. We’re getting a whiff of that today with the announcement that CityPockets, a New York-based e-coupon organizer that aggregates all of your deals, is shutting down.
On most online dating sites, there’s no incentive to connect with someone right away. Match.com profiles are just always there for you to peruse, so there’s no pressure to act now and meet your perfect match. Recent Harvard Business School grad Arum Kang wants to change that with her new startup Coffee Meets Bagel, which integrates the concept of time-sensitive matchmaking with daily deals incentives.
All the tech world loves a demo, so we couldn’t leave yesterday’s Daily Deal Summit without catching the Tech Showcase. Four CEOs–slowly losing their audience to lunch–were each assigned eight minutes to sell us on new solutions. Billed as having the potential to “dramatically improve” attendees’ businesses, how did they stack up?
The fate of Groupon has been a topic of intense interest on this blog. So how fares the discount diva these days? According to one Wall Street analyst speaking yesterday to the Daily Deals Summit, the long-term future might be bright, but she’s likely to break a few more hearts first.
Slouched comfortably in his chair, holding forth on the prospects of a would-be Groupon, TechStars’ David Tisch expressed doubts about the name of the very event where he was, at that moment, speaking. “The word ‘daily deal’ is, like, staring me in the face, and I’m scared of it.”
“It’s poison, I think, to a large audience outside of probably this room.”