News digest: Groupon makes waves, snow day policies, new domain suffixes


Groupon takes a chance on prime time. Chicago-based Groupon raised eyebrows with a series of Super Bowl commercials that proved controversial. The company ended up yanking the ads Monday afternoon, NBC news reported in its Local Beat feature. The Save the Money series ads were meant as spoofs on celebrity public service announcements, the company said in a release Sunday. But viewers were less irked with the format than they were with the content, with apathy toward social injustice in Tibet deemed the most notorious offense, the New York Times reported Monday.   However offensive, the ads were ranked third in number of tweets Monday afternoon and in overall score in the Boston Globe Brand Bowl but saw the lowest sentiment rankings of the top ten companies. Even so, some critics liked Groupon’s ads. Writing in Advertising Age, columnist Ken Wheaton praised the campaign, saying, “Good one, Groupon.” Groupon nabbed game-time ad space at the last minute, Crain Chicago Business reported.

Who calling the snow days? Last week blizzard conditions revealed a shortcoming in many small businesses attendance policies, the Wall Street Journal reported. Human-resources and legal experts say companies of all sizes should have policies that explain if employees are required to come to work in stormy weather,” the article said. Elaine Varelas of Keystone Partners told the Journal business owners should determine how to handle late arrivals, hotel expenses for   stranded workers and working from home. Inc Magazine also offered some tips on how to prepare your office bad-weather strategy.

Custom domain names could be costly. Businesses worldwide soon may be able to go beyond the Internet 21 domain suffixes and purchase customized ones, the Washington Post reported. The  Marina del   Rey, Calif-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, is preparing to open up the market by accepting applications this spring for new specialty domain suffixes, including .eco, .love, .god, .sport, .gay or .kurd, the article said. Some contend the move is largely designed to make money for nonprofit ICANN and will lead to confusion. Currently the dot-com ending accounts for 46 percent of about 202 million registered domain names, the Post reported.  ICANN plans to charge domain operators who will handle the new address territories an application fee of $185,000 plus a $25,000 annual operators’ fee, the story said.