Rakesh Agrawal

Latest from Rakesh Agrawal

  • 160-Year-Old American Express Out-Innovates Google and Groupon

    160-Year-Old American Express Out-Innovates Google and Groupon

    This morning American Express is launching a new deals platform in partnership with Facebook that should make big waves in the payments and offers space. With the new platform, merchants will be able to target deals at American Express cardholders on the Facebook platform. Initial launch partners include H&M, Sports Authority, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sheraton, Westin, Travelocity and… Read More

  • Groupon Amends S-1, But Key Numbers Still Missing

    Groupon Amends S-1, But Key Numbers Still Missing

    Groupon’s amended S-1 IPO filing is out. The revised filing tamps down some of the enthusiastic tone of the original and highlights a number of risks, several of which were covered in TechCrunch’s in-depth series on daily deals. Potential investors looking for good news will be disappointed—I didn’t see anything in the document that would lead me to believe the business… Read More

  • Foursquare’s New Deal Partnerships Are No Big Deal

    Foursquare’s New Deal Partnerships Are No Big Deal

    Foursquare this morning announced distribution partnerships with daily deal providers LivingSocial, Gilt City, zozi, BuyWithMe and AT&T. Missing from the list are Groupon, Yelp and Google Offers. With these deals, Foursquare is attempting to solve two problems: liquidity in deals and its own lack of a revenue model. Read More

  • Solving The Scoble Problem In Social Networks

    I finally blocked Robert Scoble in Google+. I have absolutely nothing against Scoble. I quite admire him, actually. He’s a great asset to the startup scene and he works damn hard. I’ve met him a few times and I’m sure we’ll meet again. But he was just getting to be way too much. My Google+ feed was dominated by him. I tried to take a half-step and just remove Scoble from… Read More

  • Google Offers Versus Groupon: The Portland Throwdown

    Google Offers just finished its first month. Google has been testing its Groupon compete in Portland and I’ve been closely tracking the results. Doing a head-to-head comparison like this is a bit difficult because the two companies run deals differently. Groupon runs multiple deals each day. Many Groupon deals span multiple days, with some running for three days. Google Offers on… Read More

  • When Google Circles Collide

    When Google Circles Collide

    I like to create. You can find content I’ve created on my own blogs, TechCrunch, Facebook, Twitter, flickr, Quora, EveryTrail, Namesake, Yelp, foursquare, YouTube, disqus, Kindle and FlyerTalk. I create more content than the vast majority of Internet users. I actively think about how to create content and the right audiences for it. When I’m hiking, I take pictures of… Read More

  • Daily Deals And The Potential For Fraud

    Daily Deals And The Potential For Fraud

    In my post about Groupon’s potential for collapse, I talked about the possibility of merchant fraud. Because Groupon pays merchants everything within 60 days, they are exposed to the possibility of fraud or the merchant going out of business. Other deal providers pay even faster. LivingSocial pays out everything in about 15 days. Google Offers pays out 80% in about four days. Nobody… Read More

  • Former Groupon Employee Describes High-Pressure Tactics Culture And Merchants "Freaking Out"

    I received a couple of emails from a former Groupon employee which sheds some light on the sales culture at the company.  This is one person’s view, but it comes from a former insider.  The emails are below, and are fairly balanced and honest. You can judge them for yourself. This information was provided on condition of anonymity. The employee left voluntarily for a position elsewhere. Read More

  • Daily Deal Providers May Be Violating Consumer Protection Laws

    Daily Deal Providers May Be Violating Consumer Protection Laws

    Daily deal providers like Groupon and LivingSocial may be violating several key aspects of consumer protection law. I’ve been looking into issues like gift cards, bankruptcy, sales tax, and alcohol regulations. These might all sound esoteric and not really worthy of discussion, but the outcomes can significantly affect the value proposition to the consumer, merchant and the deal provider. Read More

  • Why All The Daily Deal Hate?

    Some people have been asking me why I’ve spent the last 10 days writing about Groupon. What’s my hidden agenda? I’m tired of seeing small businesses get screwed. I’ve been working on local products in some form since 1995. And I’ve seen a lot of small businesses get screwed by horrible online products. Read More

  • Why Groupon Is Poised For Collapse

    Why Groupon Is Poised For Collapse

    Imagine you’re a small business owner. You have to choose between two propositions: You can pay $62,500 for marketing. You’ll get a whole lot of customers coming through your door. No guarantees if they will ever come back, but they’ll come once. I’ll pay you $21,000. You get $7,000 in about 5 days, another $7,000 in 30 days and the remainder in 60 days. In… Read More

  • Why I Want Google Offers And The Entire Daily Deals Business To Die

    There has been a lot of excitement about the daily deal being the next big thing in online marketing. It’s actually just a clever repackaging of old ideas. Google’s entrance into the space with Google Offers gives the daily deal business a legitimacy it doesn’t deserve. There is a false perception that Internet magic is why these daily deals are so cheap. Most accounts in… Read More

  • Google Offers Is A Cheap Knockoff

    Google’s recently released Offers product is showing mixed success in Portland, its first market. In this post I will try to look at both the good and the bad of Google Offers. As I point out below, they get an A- for effort, but a C for originality. Since launch, the offers have included discounted coffee, pool table time, a Lebanese restaurant, tanning services and a pedicab brewery tour. Read More

  • Groupon Was "The Single Worst Decision I Have Ever Made As A Business Owner"

    Groupon Was "The Single Worst Decision I Have Ever Made As A Business Owner"

    “How much is your average sale here?” “It’s about five dollars.” That one question told me Jessie Burke had been sold an unsuitable product. Her average sale was $5 and her Groupon rep had convinced her to run a Groupon for $13. I already knew how the story ended. Jessie had posted about her experience running a Groupon for Posies Cafe on her blog. She calls running… Read More

  • Why Daily Deals Are Becoming A Raw Deal

    Why Daily Deals Are Becoming A Raw Deal

    In the wake of Groupon’s IPO filing, it’s worth looking at the fundamentals of the offer. Growth numbers to date have been phenomenal. But is it a business that can last? We love daily deals for a simple reason: the deals have been outstanding. If revenue growth in the first Internet bubble was about selling a dollar for 50 cents, growth in the daily deals business has been… Read More