A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.
Marc Andreessen: The ‘Problem with Local News is Most People Don’t Care’ (Poynter)
Internet pioneer and investor Marc Andreessen spun out some thoughts about the news business on Twitter Wednesday, saying that industry “Will grow 10x-100x.” He doesn’t, however, see local news riding that wave, commenting that the “main problem with local news is most people don’t care. Sad but true.”
In Yelp Earnings, No Sign of the ‘Mobile Gap’ (Street Fight)
Yelp posted stronger than expected earnings on Thursday, sending shares up nearly 10% in after hours trading — a fitting coda to a banner year for the firm on Wall Street. Shares of Yelp more than tripled in 2013, driven in part by rapid international expansion, a burgeoning local ad market in the U.S., and well-received strategic initiatives.
Google: Location-based Gaming as Popular as Virtual Reality in 10 Years (Polygon)
After experimenting for more than a year with their own brand of location-driven, real-world augmented reality gaming, Google’s Niantic Labs announced plans this week to help a small group of developers to learn how to make their own games using the technology. The unannounced developers will work with Niantic Labs, a start up within Google, to create their own games using the tech that currently powers Ingress.
One Model for Successful Hyperlocal News: Break the Rules (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: StuNewsLaguna has become a success in its sunset-renowned coastal community in Orange County, Calif., by ignoring and even violating some of the “best practices” of hyperlocal journalism, and paying no heed to the people-don’t-care-about-local-news critics. Shaena Stabler, the 28-year-old co-owner with founder and veteran Orange County journalist Stu Saffer, explains how she and Saffer are making StuNews succeed.
Will Facebook Build a Stand-Alone Local Search App? (Screenwerk)
Greg Sterling: Earlier this week, Facebook released Paper, a new “stand-alone” app that does many of the same things as the flagship Facebook app but in a more visually appealing way. All this has me thinking about whether Facebook will release a local search app.
Weve Deal With MasterCard Brings Mobile Contactless Payments Closer (Marketing)
Weve, the joint venture between Vodafone, EE and O2, has joined forces with MasterCard to bring contactless payment to the UK market, a technology that will allow consumers to tap their mobile phone to pay for goods in-store. The deal sees MasterCard provide the technology and “integration services” to banks and financial institutions that want to take advantage of Weve’s payments platform. Around 300,000 retail outlets currently accept contactless payments.
Ride-sharing Rules Face Bumpy Road (Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday proposed what would be one of the nation’s first laws to license commercial ride-sharing services, a move criticized by both supporters and foes of the industry and one that leaves open some of the thorniest consumer complaints. The proposal would lay out city rules on the hiring and training of nonprofessional drivers, and the inspection of their vehicles. The drivers work for companies such as Uber X and Lyft.
Isis Entices Customers With Cash to Start Paying With Their Smartphones (GigaOm)
The mobile payments service Isis got off to a rocky start, but now that it’s finally cranking nationwide the carrier consortium is trying to make up lost ground. It’s launched a series of promotions intended to make it worth your while to start paying with your smartphone at the cash register.
Telenav Thinks Scout Can Take on Google Maps (SearchEngineLand)
Last week Telenav acquired Skobbler, a mapping application that the company pitches as OpenStreetMap’s (OSM) version of Red Hat. According to Ryan Peterson of Telenav, the Skobbler acquisition will help advance the company’s launch of its own consumer navigtion app outside the US and position the company to compete with Google Maps.
Gannett Earnings Report Hints at a Coming Problem With Paywalls (Poynter)
By virtue of tough expense control and the acquisition of Belo Corp. TV stations, Gannett reported decent fourth quarter and full-year financial results yesterday. But the report included some dicey details for the company’s newspaper operations, suggesting challenges ahead for Gannett and the industry in 2014.