Is Groupon (NAS: GRPN) better positioned than skeptics like me think? We'll know more when the company reports fourth-quarter earnings after the bell today. Here's a closer look at what analysts expect:

Metric

Q4 2011 (Est.)

Q4 2010

Estimated Growth

Revenue $475.2 million $172.2 million 175.9%
Earnings Per Share $0.03 ($0.31) Incalculable

Source: Yahoo! Finance and S&P Capital IQ.

Analysts are expecting more of the same outrageous revenue growth that has made Groupon famous to this point. That could be partially due to waning competition. Facebook's threat to enter the deals marketplace never materialized while Google's (NAS: GOOG) Offers doesn't appear to have had much of an impact, though I do like how easy it is to customize. Integrating Google Wallet for mobile and online payments also makes the service at least as serendipitous as what Foursquare offers via its check-in partnership with American Express.

3 more things to watch
Of course, we're about more than just numbers here at The Motley Fool. As business-focused investors, we're also interested in strategy and company initiatives. Here are three things I'm particularly hoping to hear more about:

  • A closer look at the stiff-arm. Cash flow is Groupon's greatest strength and most glaring weakness. Why? So much of it comes from generous terms that allow the company to hold off on paying merchants. Are these terms still in place? Have merchants challenged Groupon to accelerate payments?
  • Getting away with Getaways? These days I find most everyday Groupons uninteresting or irrelevant. Vacations deals are a different story. I've yet to buy, but the prospect of cheap vacationing in a nice locale is enticing. Am I alone? What's the conversion rate on Getaways?
  • Will Goods bring good news? Just as Getaways introduces travel experiences, a new subs-service Groupon calls "Goods" supplies discounts on products. What does the early data say about this program? Competitively, whom is it targeting?

Those are my questions. Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect to hear from Groupon this afternoon? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Group may be a great growth stock, but it isn't a true Rule Breaker. What does a rebel stock look like? The Motley Fool recently answered this question in profiling a top stock from the Motley Fool Rule Breakers scorecard. The report, entitled "Discover the Next Rule-Breaking Multibagger," is available free for a limited time. Click here to get your copy now.

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At the time this article was published Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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