Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shooting Groupon (in a barrel)

Criticizing Groupon these days is a little like shooting fish in a barrel, or like "piling on" in football.
"Penalty, on the defense: 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. First down."
Guilty as charged for the hit that is to come below. But sometimes it's permissible to take a shot at even easy targets when they are illustrate such a surprising lack of business sense.

While most of us have enjoyed a least a few wonderful offers from its service, Groupon has taken its share of justifiable hits - an inflated, ill-conceived IPO, debatable formulas for counting reveune, non-existent profits, you know, small things like that. But Groupon has received also credit recently for efforts (however tardy) to make its offers more relevant to potential buyers. So, how's that going?
Personalized for a Cleveland subscriber?
This is personalized for me?

Click on this link to see Groupon offers that have been "personalized" just for me and I assume for most other Cleveland subscribers. Remember, this is a town that is one of only three that hasn't had the chance to root for its home team in the Super Bowl. And despite the fact that the team is basically pitiful on the field, the end of the summer always finds fans in Cleveland enthusiastic about the prospects for the Browns.
I'll wade through and even chuckle at the bikini wax offers I receive. But a Groupon offer promoting football-themed goods that use as examples logos for. . . the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Denver Broncos and the University of Michigan?

Who cares if the whistle already blew. Go ahead and add mine to the shots being fired at Groupon - even if it is like shooting a grouper in a barrel.

As they say on ESPN, "C'mon, man."

Monday, August 6, 2012

32-character tweets (before Twitter)

Before Twitter, before the web, before PCs, before punch cards, and even before Arpanet, common citizens created brief messages that could be shared with friends, family and even strangers. Please pardon me for sharing this a few days shy of the anniversary of the creation of my first (and probably only) "Tweet" from the 60s, but here's a replica of it:

OK, so it's not a Tweet but pardon me for thinking that it's waaay cooler than any digital Tweet - here's why:
1. You think 140 characters is hard? Try 32 characters, and the only punctuation available is a period. Period. So, I had to forego the apostrophe in O'Hare. Something of value is worth the sacrifice.
2. No back space key (not the extra space between the "Gem" and "Beach" (because of that miscue, I couldn't fit the year. Rats).
3. You can wear this around your neck on a chain, sort of a civilian dog tag. Try doing that with a Tweet on your smartphone. Added bonus: the owner is conferred good luck (the other side has an American flag in the middle - as I recall, you didn't get to choose between patriotic displays or lucky charms).
4. It costs a dime, Tweets are free - as I said, some things are worth the sacrifice.
5. Highly private - you could choose who could see your message. 
Apparently, the gentleman who runs this site will create a Lucky Souvenir coin for you. . .

 You can still get these ( I think) - see the graphic above and the link.

So, anyone else have an example of another version of limited character message sharing tokens, aka, "Tweets before Twitter?"