A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.
Hurricane Sandy Boosts Local Online News Brands (AdWeek)
“Hyperlocal” news sites are reporting big traffic surges from Sandy, with local residents keen to find out about their towns’ storm preparedness yesterday and about property damage and when power will be restored today, with much of it driven by search. AOL-owned Patch, which operates roughly 860 sites across the country but has high penetrations in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, reported its highest-ever traffic day yesterday — page views were up 88% from the previous highest day.
Yelp Launching Visual Menus With User-Contributed Photos (TechCrunch)
Yelp announced a new feature that allows users to browse restaurant menus directly from the Yelp website and mobile app. Last year, the company added the ability for businesses to include menu links in their Yelp profiles, but until now there hasn’t been any menu functionality on Yelp itself.
Location-Based Services to Bring in $4B Revenue in 2012 (Mobile Marketer)
Pointing to an uptick in consumers using their devices’ GPS to receive relevant and local marketing, location-based services are expected to generate $4.4 billion in revenue by 2012, according to a new study from Visiongain. The report looked at how location-based services are being used, specifically in the Middle East and Africa, and examined which services consumers are most apt to participate in.
Get Your Daily-Deal Stocks — 75% Off! (The Wall Street Journal)
Andy Kessler: In December 2010, Amazon invested $175 million for a minority stake in daily-deal site LivingSocial, right around the time rival Groupon turned down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google, The next big thing in selling online had arrived. Yet last week Amazon wrote down the value of its LivingSocial stake by $169 million, and Groupon’s stock is down more than 75% from its initial public offering price of $20 a year ago. Apart from the cash on its balance sheet, Groupon is worth less than $2 billion. Pretty quick fall from grace.
Vast Majority of Ad Sellers to Offer Mobile Display (eMarketer)
According to research from local display ad platform PaperG, which polled US ad sales executives, nearly 86% of publishers will offer mobile display ad inventory within the next three months. That’s less than 10 percentage points behind the number that will offer online display ads.
Amazon, LivingSocial and the Risks of Failed Acquisitions (Business Insider)
It has become evident that LivingSocial is facing deeper issues than simply writing down past acquisitions. Amazon — a primary investor in LivingSocial with a 29% stake in the company — blamed LivingSocial’s poor acquisitions for Amazon’s underwhelming Q3.