Sales for Groupon and other daily deals sites in Japan are hurting following an incident we’ll call “OsechiGate”–a bad food deal involving osechi, a decadent Japanese New Year’s dish. Despite Groupon founder Andrew Mason’s video apology to the people of Japan a few weeks ago, Groupon sales dropped 14% over the last month, according to Coupon-Jp (PDF), a consumer research firm in Japan.
Here’s how OsechiGate went down. Groupon customers were promised a rich osechi spread, something that looks like this:
Instead, what they got was something that looked like this:
Some pundits thought the event might actually be a publicity boon for Groupon, under the any-press-is-good-press theory, says SocialTimes. But Coupon-jp’s report suggests otherwise. Even Groupon clones have been hurting in the wake of the incident.