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Posts Tagged ‘Groupon’

Groupon Hires Two Execs, CEO Drinks Beer

Groupon announced today that it has hired Faisal Masud former eBay exec as head of the company’s relatively new and somewhat successful Groupon Goods unit.

Yesterday, the company announced that another eBay exec, Kal Raman, was joining the company “to build out the company’s internal controls and processes, which have come under scrutiny after several recent gaffes.”

This after the company’s CEO Andrew Mason held an employee town hall meeting on Wednesday in which he allowed The Wall Street Journal to sit in via webcast and watch him drink beer. At one point, when his “voice broke,” he apologized for drinking too much, explaining that he usually conducts all company business while doing shots and there’s never a problem. Joking. But no seriously, he was drinking beer. Which prompted AllThingsD to ask Raman the next day if he was being brought in to provide adult supervision.

And I bought a voucher for a $19 mani/pedi today!

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Former Agency Head Paul Taaffe Joins Groupon

Paul Taaffe, who served as chairman and CEO of the pre-rebrand Hill & Knowlton, has joined Groupon to head up the company’s PR function. Or improve it, if you ask Bloomberg.

Taaffe stepped down from H+K in January 2011. He had been with the firm for 18 years and had served as the agency head since 2002.

He steps into a role that had been filled by Brad Williams, who made an appearance in today’s Roll Call column for his new role at Weber Shandwick. Williams left Groupon in August 2011 after only a few months.

As Bloomberg points out (and we noted), Groupon has gotten into some PR trouble over the past year. The company presented its first earnings report today since going public. The stock price dropped 14 percent after.

Roll Call: Walmart Exec Joins H+K, Groupon Exec Joins Weber, and More

George Shelton has been named SVP at Hill + Knowlton Strategies, leading the reputation management and corporate practice starting February 15. Shelton was previously senior director for insights, advocacy, and outreach for Walmart, a role focused on the company’s commercial goals and public policy programs. In this new role, he’ll be based in Austin and focused on CSR, messaging, reputation management, and media outreach.

Brad Williams, previously the global comms VP for Groupon, has joined Weber Shandwick as head of the North American technology practice. He’ll be based in Sunnyvale, CA and report to Heidi Sinclair, president of the global tech group. Williams also has experience working with eBay, Yahoo!, and VeriSign. He stepped down from his post at Groupon in August 2011.

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Tools Round Up: Cision, PitchEngine, Klout, Bing, and More

Cision has partnered with PitchEngine, bringing together PitchEngine’s social publishing services with Cision’s PR and marketing software. Cision is also investing in PitchEngine, taking a minority stake in the company. Both Cision and PitchEngine have recently introduced new services. Moreover, Cision’s U.S. lead Peter Granat recently told us that the company has completed a lengthy digital strategy transition. The release and announcement video are available here.

CrowdGather, a network of forums and subject-specific message boards, has acquired Yuku.com, a company that manages these forums and boards. According to CrowdGather, the acquisition will increase the company’s monthly traffic 50 percent to 235 million.

Klout announced this week that 100 million people have Klout scores. Twitter has also hit the 100 million mark, and offers a breakdown of its users. But unlike so many others in the tech arena these days, the company insists it doesn’t want to go public.

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PEHub Writer Says Brunswick Called To Discuss Her Groupon ‘Nastigram’

According to a post on PEHub (the “PE” stands for private equity), the site published a story reporting on analyst criticism about Groupon’s pre-IPO financials. After the post went up, the writer, Connie Loizos, says she was contacted by Brunswick Group‘s Michael Buckley, which is working with the daily deals company. Loizos writes that he called her post “silly” and “inaccurate” and then referred her to the leaked Andrew Mason memo for further evidence of how well the company is doing.

Finally, Loizos writes, Buckley asked her to give him a call before she published “another nastigram” about their client. This conversation sounds so pleasant, I don’t know why she wouldn’t.

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Roll Call: Groupon, Hetrick Communications, LinkedIn, and More

Groupon’s director of comms Bradford Williams has stepped down after only two months. According to Business Insider, there was some disagreement between Williams and CEO Andrew Mason over the way issues should be handled, one specific example being a “leaked” memo last week during the company’s pre-IPO quiet period. BI points out that Groupon has been taking some heat over business information revealed in the IPO paperwork.

One of Indianapolis’ major PR and advertising firms, Hetrick Communications, is closing at the end of September. Founded in 1994, president Bruce Hetrick said there simply wasn’t enough business to keep the doors open. Clients have included Indiana University and Atlas World Group. [via Indianapolis Business Journal]

Matt Sonefeldt has been named IR manager at LinkedIn, the first person to hold this in-house position at the newly-public company. He’ll report to CFO Steve Sordello. Sonefeldt is new to IR, but comes from Capital Research where he was a buy-side analyst. Marilyn Lattin, head of Investor Communications, an IR firm, handled investor relations during the company’s IPO. [via Inside Investor Relations]

Eric Villines has joined MWW Group as GM of the firm’s Seattle office and deputy head of the firm’s global tech practice. He’s been with the firm since 2006.

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Elevator Pitch: Is Yipit the Next Big Thing?

In the latest episode of MediabistroTV‘s “Elevator Pitch,” host Alan Meckler sizes up Yipit, a daily deals aggregator that delivers promotions from places like Groupon and LivingSocial.

So, what do you think? Is Yipit the next big thing? Leave your thoughts in the comments section…


Does Pandora IPO Mark the End of the New Tech Bubble?

Photo: Richard Drew, AP

By late Thursday Pandora became the latest in a series of Internet companies to have its stock go in to freefall shortly after its IPO.

The popular online radio company’s stock closed at $13.26 on its second day of trading, lower than the $16 offering price.

Pandora follows the recent initial public offerings from business networking leader LinkedIn. And while its stock has run into trouble, it hasn’t sunk the way that Pandora’s has. And the price drop has some questioning what will happen to  Groupon.

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Is Groupon Stock A Smart Buy or A Sucker’s Bet?

Groupon’s $750 million IPO announcement this week unveiled a lot of details about the company, and some of the details were surprising. The Wall Street Journal reports “it has been racking up huge losses, and such Internet powerhouses as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. are moving to enter its business.” The story adds that Groupon lost hundreds of millions of dollars last year and the first quarter of this year combined.

Will they reflect badly on the daily-deal leader, from a public relations standpoint?

Probably not any worse than its Superbowl ad gaffe, when sarcastic references to Tibet and Darfur failed and the company came off looking callous and offensive.

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e-G8 Stress Internet Freedom at Meeting with G-8

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Facebook's Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt

The big message to come from the Internet business leaders who gathered in France for the e-G8 meeting this week was “Leave the Internet alone.”

Hosted by Publicis chief exec Maurice Lévy and serving as a prelude to the Group of 8 summit currently under way, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Eric Schmidt, John Donahoe, chief executive of eBay, and Groupon founder Andrew Mason were among the digital bigwigs in attendance for the e-G8. They also had an audience with G-8 world leaders like British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has called for some regulation of the Web.

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