A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.
Square Valuation Rises to $5B (Financial Times)
The valuation of Square, the payments company led by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has soared to $5bn after a private placement that allowed insiders to sell some $135m worth of its shares, according to people familiar with the matter.
ThinkNear GM: Why the Shift to Programmatic Will Benefit Local (Street Fight)
Eli Portnoy, GM of ThinkNear at Telenav, says demand for location ad tech is “white hot.” Street Fight caught up with Portnoy recently to talk about what the rise of programmatic means for hyperlocal targeting, and the dirty secret(s) marketers need to know before jumping in.
Au Revoir NFC? Carrier Bouygues Reportedly Cools on Contactless Payments (GigaOm)
France’s number-three mobile operator has effectively put its pioneering NFC program on hold, with top executives associated with the technology leaving the company. Even if mobile wallets and payments do take off, the business case for carriers is far from clear – there are a lot of actors in this play, and everyone wants a slice.
What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You (Wall Street Journal)
Turnstyle Solutions has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city. The sensors, each about the size of a deck of cards, follow signals emitted from Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones. That allows them to create portraits of roughly 2 million people’s habits as they have gone about their daily lives.
Yelp CEO: How ‘Sting Operations’ are Cleaning Up Reviews on the Web (Telegraph)
Some people might accept fake reviews as one of the perils of using the Internet, but Jeremy Stoppelman, chief executive of search and review site Yelp, is unwilling to tolerate attempts to mislead his customers. Stoppelman explained that – as in the case of Google’s ranking algorithm – people are constantly trying to work out how the software works in order to beat the system, but by keeping the algorithm secret, Yelp manages to stay a step ahead of the fraudsters.
Making Sense of Mobile Marketing: It’s About the Customer Journey (Guardian)
A mobile app or web site’s role depends on how the marketer wants to interact with the customer along that journey. It can be a tool to stimulate awareness, or to create a stronger relationship with existing customers. It can involve location awareness to draw the customer in at the point of sale, or to encourage social interaction around the brand.
Mobility in Travel (Fast Company)
We’re increasingly using our mobile phones to research and book travel, and in a recent survey 83% of leisure travelers admitted that they used their smartphones ‘all the time’ on vacation. Whether we’re finding our way around, looking for weather updates or discovering things to do on-the-go, our mobile devices are proving to be indispensable. The travel industry is adapting quickly to meet this consumer demand, and a number of standout mobile apps have emerged.
How Big Data Means Big Changes for Location-based Services (ZDNet)
The key to improving location services is data — lots of it, according to Omri Moran, CEO of KitLocate. The two-year old Tel Aviv-based startup offers a software development platform that aims to provide location-based services for apps and services, without making short work of device battery life.