A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.
Former Motionloft CEO Jon Mills Arrested By The FBI (TechCrunch)
Jon Mills, the founder and former CEO of real-world analytics startup Motionloft, has been arrested by the FBI, the bureau has confirmed. The arrest follows allegations that Mills lied to investors about an acquisition of his company, all while spending lavishly on private jets, expensive dinners, and parties with celebrities.
As Seamless Nears IPO, Search and Commerce Continue on Collision Course (Street Fight)
Steven Jacobs: Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that GrubHub Seamless had made a confidential filing for an initial public offering. The move puts the food ordering giant on a collision course with Yelp and Google as the three firms look to wrangle local consumers who increasingly expect to search, compare and buy in a single keystroke.
Rapid Growth of Mobile Commerce Fuels Rash of Competing Solutions (Financial Times)
With mobile commerce growing so quickly, banks know it is vital to enable customers to pay for goods with their smartphones. However, the rapidity of growth of mobile payments has also caused the market to fragment, as the various groups that own different parts of the technology, banking or retail elements have looked to grab a share of the market.
5 Self-Serve Deals Platforms for SMBs (Street Fight)
Groupon has generated significant press thanks to the recent rollout of its self-serve Deal Builder, which local merchants can use to create limited-time promotions for themselves. However, the daily deals giant is hardly the only vendor offering this type of service to SMBs. For years, a number of hyperlocal vendors have been providing self-service solutions to SMBs.
MasterCard Dives Deeper Into Mobile With In-app Payments, C-SAM Acquisition (GigaOm)
At Mobile World Congress on Sunday, the financial transaction titan plans to announce new capabilities to its MasterPass digital payments service that will let developers embed a bevy of different mobile payments option into smartphone apps. The company will also announce at MWC that it is acquiring C-SAM, a digital wallet maker MasterCard invested in back in 2012 and whose technology it has been using since.
Groupon Tests Out a Staples Competitor, Groupon Supplies (Recode)
Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky has boldly proclaimed that he wants Groupon to eventually be the digital storefront where people start any online shopping trip. Now it seems Groupon may aspire to serve the same role for business owners. The deals company sent out an email this week to some of its merchants alerting them to a new business category of products called Groupon Supplies.
Facebook Mobile Strength Breeds Apps in Hunt for Ad Dollars (Bloomberg)
As the Barcelona event kicks off today, companies from Shazam Inc., which recognizes songs in background noise, to Nokia Oyj maps unit will showcase applications that have helped create a new breed of mobile ads. Advertisers are betting those apps, along with bigger smartphone displays and faster network connections, will grab consumers’ attention.
Technology Unlocks “Economies Of Unscale” For Small Businesses (TechCrunch)
Hermant Taneja: We’re finally moving beyond byzantine processes and complicated workflows to mobile-enabled software centered on clarity and accessibility. As a consequence, we are slowly witnessing the genesis of a “new economies of unscale,” in which small businesses aided by these platforms can suddenly defeat even the largest of corporations – and become household names.
Lights, Phones, Action: Ericsson and Philips Want to Brighten Your City While Boosting Your Coverage (GigaOm)
Ericsson and Philips have developed a type of LED street light that comes bundled with a tiny mobile base station. It may sound like an odd or niche combination, but this Zero Site concept is designed to solve two common urban problems in an efficient way, that will coincidentally prove highly lucrative for the Swedish telecommunications equipment giant and the Dutch electronics conglomerate.
Square Launches National Ad Campaign With Six New TV Commercials (Mashable)
Square, the San Francisco-based payments company founded and run by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey, is launching a national ad campaign Monday featuring six new television commercials. The commercials run 15 seconds each, and highlight the company’s core product, Square Reader, which allows vendors to accept credit card payments with a smartphone or tablet.