What happened

Shares of e-commerce platform company Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) fell as much as 13.6% Tuesday, following the company's third-quarter earnings release. The stock is down about 8.4% at the time of this writing.

While the stock's decline comes after Shopify released its third-quarter results, Shopify's quarterly performance is not likely the main reason for that drop. Instead, bearish sentiment toward the stock is likely driven by Citron Research's comments published on Tuesday.

A chalkboard sketch of a stock chart showing a stock price falling

Image source: Getty Images.

"[W]e were unimpressed by the company's response to Citron's conclusion that Shopify sells business opportunities through affiliate marketers, and they depend on affiliate marketing to drive their growth metrics," Citron said on Tuesday in a blog post after Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke played down Citron's assertions about Shopify's marketing tactics.

So what

Shopify's third-quarter results were solid. Revenue was $171.5 million, and adjusted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.05. Both key metrics were higher than what analysts were expecting. Revenue was up 72% year over year, and adjusted EPS increased from $0.02 in the year-ago quarter.

Regarding Citron's claims, Shopify said the company hasn't heard from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about the matter. But Citron said it is "certain that the company will face an investigation for selling business opportunities."

Now what

With Lutke continuing to refute Citron, investors will want to keep an eye out for any further developments regarding Citron's claims. Meanwhile, Shopify shareholders should be pleased with the company's quarterly results.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.