When the head of U.S. marketing for the beleaguered WeWork met with Google representatives in August — weeks before seeking investors for an IPO — the coworking giant learned that its online sentiment was "alarmingly negative," Reeves Wiedeman reported for New York magazine's Intelligencer.
Google analyzed search data for WeWork to go over WeWork's advertising plan, according to Intelligencer, and found there was no love lost between WeWork and the online community.
WeWork's U.S. marketing head told colleagues in an email that Google found WeWork to have "the most alarming negative sentiment trends they have seen compared to prior companies in similar situations," Wiedeman reported.
So although WeWork had been on an upward trajectory for nearly a decade, the marketing head reportedly wrote the company's chief spokesperson, any effort to buy ads to combat all the negative online content would "blow through [WeWork's] weekly paid search budget in a few hours," according to Intelligencer.
The August 22 meeting reportedly occurred not long after WeWork's registration papers went up on the Securities and Exchange Commission's website, when the public saw the company's finances for the first time.
A flood of negative press followed that led the controversial startup to go from a $47 billion valuation to talk of bankruptcy.
Not long after, the WeWork board ousted former CEO Adam Neumann. Employees stepped forward to describe the company as a "never-ending party" with no boundaries between work and play, Business Insider's Meghan Morris and Julie Bort reported. And on Monday, WeWork's new leadership announced the IPO would be put on hold.
WeWork's theoretical value has decline by more than $30 billion since the meeting with Google just one month ago, Intelligencer reported, and their ambitious goal of going public has yet to be realized.