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Groupon Loses its Group

Another area of concern is that Groupon's potential rivals have other revenue streams aside from the deals business. These include advertising, hardware, software, search, Web content and a host of other services.

Groupon has to make its business work and can't skip a beat, where a Google or Amazon can leverage other areas of their business to offset any potential deal drawback. If nothing else, they could just steal Groupon's traffic for their advertising-supported initiative.

These are just a few concerns that investors have had over the past couple of quarters. And we have yet to even address the "less than stellar" track record of the company's founder Eric Lefkofsky. In fact, some have even suggested a "spotty history" as described by investorplace.com -- a history that includes accusations of racketeering (later withdrawn), as noted in a Fortune article, plus bankruptcies, lawsuits and accusations of "creative accounting" from previous businesses under his supervision.

When you put these dynamics together, it is hard to muster up any confidence in the framework of Groupon. As investors continue to separate themselves from the stock, at this rate it will be a surprise if Groupon is still around by this time next year absent some significant fundamental changes.

At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Richard Saintvilus is a private investor with an information technology and engineering background and has been investing and trading for over 15 years. He employs conservative strategies in assessing equities and appraising value while minimizing downside risk. His decisions are based in part on management, growth prospects, return on equity and price-to-earnings as well as macroeconomic factors. He is an investor who seeks opportunities whether on the long or short side and believes in changing positions as information changes.
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