A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology
Google Checks In to the Hotel Business (Wall Street Journal)
Google is moving boldly to play a larger role in booking hotel rooms—at the risk of offending some of its most important advertisers. The company is adding more photos and reviews to its hotel listings, so they increasingly resemble those of travel search sites such as Priceline, Expedia and TripAdvisor.
Will Mobile Ad Tech Consolidate? Not Yet, Says Verve CEO (Street Fight)
There’s a debate, particularly within mobile advertising technology, over whether location is a feature or a sector unto itself. Street Fight recently caught up with Tom MacIsaac, chief executive at Verve Mobile to discuss the prospect of consolidation, the data quality problem in mobile, and what the endgame might be for location ad tech.
A Sale or IPO or More Funding? Here’s What Might Be Next for Square (Recode)
Square has an ambitious and perhaps overreaching plan to disrupt a massive industry of powerful old-school players like First Data to younger payments giants such as PayPal. No surprise then, the news that the company secured a revolving credit line of about $200 million has only ratcheted up the intrigue about where the company is headed.
“See You in the Trenches”: Uber’s Threat Finally Hits as Postmates Surges to 10k Deliveries a Week (Pando)
In early 2012, at the TechCrunch “Crunchies” awards, Bastian Lehmann approached Uber’s Travis Kalanick. Lehmann was a fan, and the two were both building transportation companies in the sharing economy. The difference: One used fancy black cars; one used hipsters on bikes.
The Race to Locate Twitter Users (Wall Street Journal)
As long as a user activates the location feature on a smartphone, each tweet is marked with the phone’s location. But Twitter doesn’t share this location data with outsiders, leaving businesses and other groups that want to locate Twitter users largely on their own.
How Yelp Can Get Its Groove Back (Fast Company)
Neal Ungerleider: Yelp’s stock price is still falling — which is great news for competitors like Tripadvisor and Foursquare, but not so good for the San Francisco-based site and their shareholders. In order to get back on track, Yelp will have to radically change their business model — and do some crisis communications to reach two very different constituencies.
Hibu Closes Its Hyperlocal Print Magazine Unite and Lays Off Hundreds of Journalists (Romenesko)
In 2012, the company that owned Yellow Pages changed its name to Hibu and retooled its operations. It started a community magazine unit and it grew fast — from 10 titles in fall of 2012 to more than 600 in 20 states by December of 2013.
Buffett Will Steer Investors to Airbnb to Avoid Price-Gouging by Omaha Hotels (Wall Street Journal)
The billionaire investor is planning to mention the website at Berkshire Hathaways upcoming annual shareholders’ meeting on May 3 as a low-cost alternative for shareholders who don’t want to pay the jacked-up rates that Omaha hotels charge while the gathering is taking place every year.
Coupons.com Now Lets You Ditch The Printed Coupon By Linking Discounts Directly To Payment Cards (TechCrunch)
Fresh off its strong March IPO, digital coupon provider Coupons.com is revealing its next product for consumers: card-linked offers. Now, shoppers will be able to add coupons directly to their payment cards and then automatically receive their savings at checkout.