Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Worried About IPO Filing Backlash, Groupon Surveys Consumer and Merchant Reaction

Groupon’s S-1 filing for an IPO last month certainly got a lot of ink.

Unfortunately, much of it was negative, focused on several controversial parts of the document. Most scrutinized were large slugs of money taken out of the social buying site by its founders, as well as aggressive accounting terminology to make large losses look less, well, large.

Rattled by the intense media and analyst reaction to the filing, sources said the Chicago-based company commissioned a poll of its consumers and merchants to gauge the impact.

One source familiar with the survey said that top execs and its board wanted concrete reaction from key constituencies, instead of relying on “noise from the echo chamber” of Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

And, said several people who had seen the poll, it should probably come as no surprise that the impact of the drumbeat of Groupon-is-doomed news on merchants and consumers was low, with only one percent saying that they had formed a negative opinion of the company from the filing.

That, of course, does not mean that those important groups for Groupon aren’t disgruntled about a whole laundry list of other issues.

But — for now, at least — an S-1 with some warts isn’t one of them.

Whatever the case, Groupon will continue to face scrutiny as it moves to amend the filing after comments from government regulators, and also when it reports its latest financial results soon for the three months ended June 30, 2011.

And those are numbers that everyone will surely be paying attention to.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald