A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.
Cox to Buy Back Stake in AutoTrader (Wall Street Journal)
Cox Enterprises, the closely held media conglomerate, has bought back a stake in AutoTrader Group Inc. in a deal that implies a value of about $7 billion for the online auto marketplace. Cox sold a 25% stake in the company to Providence Equity Partners LLC in 2010. Now Cox is buying it back for $1.8 billion, according to a person familiar with the transaction.
Why HouseCall Thinks Taxi Apps Are Just The Tip Of The Iceberg (Street Fight)
Last year, four engineers from Qualcomm, who were responsible for the company’s location sensor product Gimbal, left the company to start HouseCall, a system that helps users find and book local providers who service home-related projects like plumbing or audio/visual installation. The company has built a similar marketplace model as Seamless in the food delivery sector, providing enterprise software for free to merchants and then selling leads generated by its consumer product.
LivingSocial Selling its Groupon Stock (Chicago Tribune)
The online deals company said LivingSocial Inc. said Friday in a regulatory filing that it plans to sell all 13.8 million shares of its stake in Groupon. LivingSocial received the shares as part of Groupon’s $260 million acquisition of South Korean ticket and e-commerce company Ticket Monster in November.
5 Platforms For Location Data Analysis (Street Fight)
Location data analysis platforms track the spatial behavior of consumers based on previous ad exposures. Although competing platforms work slightly differently from one another, each with its own features and limitations, the overall effect is that marketers can finally determine whether mobile ad exposures are actually luring customers inside their physical stores. Here are five examples of platforms that marketers can use for location data analysis.
No Mention of Patch in AOL Chief Executive’s End-of-Year Memo (Romenesko)
“Patch employees this week have been fretting over AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s failure to mention Patch in an end-of-year e-mail he sent out to the entire company’s staff on New Year’s Eve,” writes a Romenesko reader. “In short, it was mainly corporate-speak mixed with a few thank-yous and motivational words for what should be accomplished in 2014 – in every division but Patch, it seems.”
Ford is Upgrading 3.4M Older Vehicles to Run Connected-Car Apps (GigaOm)
Ford’s smartphone centric approach to the connected car is paying off. By relying on the handset to deliver the data link and run infotainment apps, Ford is able to retroactively connect millions of unconnected cars.
What Uber Will Do With All That Money From Google (Wired)
In San Francisco, Uber has become its own noun — you “get an Uber.” But to make it a verb — to get to the point where everyone Ubers the same way they Google — the company must outperform on transportation the same way Google does on search.
If Your Phone Knows Which Aisle You’re In, Will It Have Deals on Groceries? (Bloomberg)
Many observers see the feature, called iBeacon, as the most important part of iOS7, even though more attention was paid to the radical design changes. The technology allows Apple to pinpoint the location of a smartphone user within a few feet by bouncing signals off of inexpensive sensors constantly on the lookout.
Square And Griffin Debut An Integrated Merchant Case And Holder For iPhones And Readers, Will Create More Accessories For Sellers (TechCrunch)
Square is extending this ease of use to iPhone users of its card readers, via a new partnership with hardware developer Griffin Technology. Square is also announcing a new initiative called Works with Square, which allows developers to build accessories for Square businesses.
As Airbnb Scales, the Traveler Experience Needs Work (GigaOm)
As the company scales even larger and brings in a wider audience beyond early adopters that might be more forgiving, Airbnb needs to invest more in the user experience of the traveler, making booking more reliable, and enabling better more accurate feedback in its listings. There will always be some element of unpredictability with Airbnb — as you are dealing directly with individuals and home owners — but I think it can be much better than it is.