A few months ago, every publisher, startup, and human with an email account was starting a daily-deals product. An estimated 700 were launched in the last year, serving every market and niche imaginable. But last week Facebook killed its nascent deals businesses, and Yelp dramatically scaled back its own, while the media hurled a stream of criticisms at Groupon over a suspected internal memo leak stunt, questionable accounting practices, and a rumored $25 billion IPO valuation. Murmurs of daily-deal fatigue, market oversaturation, and high subscriber acquisition costs grew to deafening levels, with market commentators jumping at the chance to trash the fastest-growing company in history.
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