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Article updated: 8/20/2012 7:18 AM

The thrilling (and welcome?) demise of Groupon

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The Groupon logo etched in glass in the lobby of the online coupon company's Chicago offices Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011. Online coupon seller Groupon Inc. is discounting its expectations for its first stock offering, reported Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. The company, which offers consumers daily discounts targeted to their city and preferences, now expects net proceeds of about $478.8 million from its initial public offering of 30 million shares. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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"Groupon is not an Internet marketing business so much as it is the equivalent of a loan sharking business," wrote Rakesh Agrawal, an analyst and journalist. He says Groupon made its fortune by giving great deals to customers and horrible ones to businesses. Groupon is a public company now, and its business method may have caught up to it: The firm had horrible second-quarter earnings, with customer growth and amount of money spent per customer slowing.
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