From the perspective of a tech blogger I can safely tell you that there have been countless times where companies have made decisions that I have had no choice but to question. Sometimes my crucial outlook on business moves has been proven wrong, and I’m not shameful in the least to admit that I, like every other human being, am frequently incorrect. But there are some moves that I question that have the exact opposite effect. These moves don’t prove themselves to be well thought-out or well orchestrated. Not by a long shot. Rather, there are simply some business decisions that I’ve seen in the tech industry that continuously prove to be worse and worse for a given company.
Perhaps a great example of this concept is this week’s decision by online restaurant and rating site Yelp.com to trim up its deals team in the midst of constantly growing competition from sites like LivingSocial, Groupon, and Google’s “Google Deals” service that the company has been working to improve. I mean, I can understand cutting back on a service that had little potential, but when it boils down to it I truly do believe that a daily deals service from Yelp is going to be something that the company is going to wish they had vested more effort into down the road. After all, the sheer fact that there are so many other entities trying to absorb as much of the deals market as they can right now should speak pretty well for the fact that Yelp has shifted focus away from a very promising market. And with Yelp’s standing, reputation, and loyal user-base, there isn’t a part of me that doesn’t believe that Yelp could have easily dominated the deals market had they chosen to allocate more staff into the project to give it the attention that it honestly deserves.
When Google wants to copy or mimic your idea you take it as a sign that your company and venture is taking a step in the right direction. When Google puts an offer on the table and wants to buy your company and idea, though, you know that you’ve hit a home run. So imagine how it felt for the folks behind Groupon to turn down Google’s acquisition offer – estimated to be at around six billion U.S. dollars – late last year. Pretty liberating, right? And better yet, such a substantial offering for what in reality is a very young startup company means that Google saw a huge potential in what Groupon was building. And with Google’s history, I think it’s safe to say that the company is more than qualified at sensing killer business ventures.
Maybe it’s just me and perhaps it’s just the fact that deal-based services had caught my eye after the Google/Groupon deal caught media attention, but it really seems to me as if services offering “daily deals” have become more and more popular in the last nine months of so. I mean, look at how far deal site Living Social has gotten in the past couple of years, utilizing the poor state of the economy and the tighter budgets of just about everyone to push their service; even to the point of placing an ad during the February 2011 Super Bowl.
Regardless of what culture or society you were brought up in your parents, if anything like my own, did their best to teach you the importance of education; oftentimes calling it “priceless.” But as we grow up, we realize that education in many countries does indeed have a price, and a steep one at that. So it’s needless to say that students like myself are always keeping an eye out for great deals in order to offset the price of higher education.