Groupon, According to Google Autocomplete: A Ponzi Scheme, Dead, Bad, Stupid

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Yikes. Google's users do not have a soft spot for today's big tech IPO, Groupon. As you can see above, these are the top ways to finish the search "Groupon is...": 1) a ponzi scheme 2) dead 3) bad and 4) stupid.

Of course, Google's autocomplete isn't a good test of what Groupon *actually* is, but it is an interesting indicator of the general sentiment surrounding the company. If you want a complete upbeat take on the company's fortunes, check out Business Insider analyst Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry's extensive analysis. He's concluded that Groupon's critics are insane.

"Whatever else, Groupon has accomplished amazing things; it's invented a new industry, it's outgrown literally hundreds of rivals, it's created tremendous benefits for consumers and stakeholders," Gobry wrote. "And it's a whipping boy. Why? Because anyone who's successful fast on the internet must be a fraud. It's twisted."

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It's worth noting that many companies don't get a very nice treatment from autocomplete, not even Google itself. "Google is..." receives the following autocompletes: 1) evil 2) God 3) skynet and 4) gay. (The last response seems to be proof that homophobia is absolutely everywhere on the Internet.) Then again, companies that are notoriously loved, say, Zappos, do get a nice response.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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