Groupon and Facebook — What Do People Really Do Online?

24/7 Wall St.

Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) and Facebook are in a battle with many investors about the value of their audiences. Do Groupon’s visitors still use it regularly to buy merchandise? Do Facebook’s members ever look at advertising on the site? The question comes down to what people actually do online. Despite reams of research, the answer is unclear.

Groupon’s shares dropped 15% after its announcement that it lost money in the fourth quarter of last year. It said its “active customers” rose 275% from the same period a year ago to 33 million. Revenue jumped 194% to $506.5 million. And Groupon said sales in the first quarter would be as little as $510 million, up “only”73% from last year. Then Groupon claimed it would continue to have outsized investments for marketing. Many investors are worried that the use of online coupons is a model that consumers adopted only briefly, as well as that rivals like…

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