A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology
Google Tests a Way to Follow You to the Mall (Wall Street Journal)
Retailers have long struggled to determine whether online ads fuel sales in their bricks-and-mortar stores. Now, Google is testing a way to solve that puzzle. A pilot program begun by the Internet company is helping about six advertisers match the anonymous tracking cookies on users’ computers to in-store sales information collected by data providers like Acxiom and DataLogix.
The New Patch: One Site’s ‘Entrepreneurial’ Editor on the First 60 Days (Street Fight)
Patch, under its new owner Hale Global, is experimenting with new approaches for structuring and operating hyperlocal news sites, which, in general, have a reputation for losing money. Sixty days into the experiment, longtime reporter Susan Petroni, explains her new dual role at the Framingham, Mass., Patch.
Alibaba to Acquire Chinese Mapping Firm as Buying Spree Continues (New York Times)
Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, will buy the portion of the mapping and navigation company AutoNavi that it does not already own. Integrating AutoNavi’s services into its e-commerce sites would allow Alibaba to deliver location-specific discounts or services to its shoppers, analysts have said, or collect more detailed data on its customers’ spending habits.
Digital First Names David J. Butler Its Editor-in-Chief (Poynter)
David J. Butler is the new editor-in-chief of Digital First Media, the company announced Friday. utler succeeds Jim Brady, who announced he would leave DFM after it cut its Thunderdome project. The company’s papers “have informally been shopped around since the start of this year,” Rick Edmonds wrote earlier this month.
6 Strategies for Maximizing the Effects of Pay-Per-Call Campaigns (Street Fight)
Pay-per-call campaigns may not be sexy, but they have proven to be extremely effective for both small businesses and large multi-location organizations. Particularly in “high-value categories” like professional services, home services, travel, insurance, and automotive, phone leads can be more valuable than online clicks or impressions.
Jeff Bezos to Amazon Payments Team: Move Faster (Recode)
Industry sources have recently told Re/code that Bezos has identified payments as one of the top areas of focus and investment for Amazon, and Amazon payments boss Tom Taylor acknowledged as much in a interview last week at the company’s Seattle headquarters. Re/code reported earlier this year that Amazon is planning to offer payments and point-of-sale systems to physical retailers, which would potentially run on Kindle tablet computers.
Why Can’t Anyone Make Money in Hyperlocal News? (Crain’s Chicago Business)
Lynne Marek: Hyperlocal news coverage on the Web has been touted as conventional journalism’s best hope in the digital era. One big problem: No one has figured out how to make money from it. Startup news organization DNAInfo Chicago has been pumping out neighborhood coverage on its website since 2012, while losing millions of dollars.
UberRUSH Raises Three Critical Questions For The Future Of Mobile On-Demand Services (TechCrunch)
Semil Shaw: After years of savvy, brilliant PR campaigns, Uber has finally signaled (publicly) that it’s a company that its ambitions are much broader than just transportation. For a mobile company on a roll like Uber, it is a captivating move, yet also raises critical questions related to other on-demand startups, their specific business and operational models, and ultimately, how consumers may behave in the future.
Yelp Could Solve Many Problems By Emphasizing Transactions (Screenwerk)
Greg Sterling: There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that there’s considerable anger and frustration toward Yelp among the SMB community. I believe the solution to these and other problems for Yelp is to migrate more of its revenue to a transactional model. It doesn’t currently charge businesses for appointments or reservations but it could take a fee for each booking it delivers (or a flat fee per month for the general capability).
Umbrella Rentals Could Offer a New Way to Take Cover (Wall Street Journal)
The creators of ‘brellaBox, a New York-based startup, say they have developed a sharing system in which commuters can rent umbrellas from strategically located boxes. The idea is to have 500 boxes throughout the city that will offer users the ability to rent umbrellas, $2.50 for 12 hours, or to purchase an umbrella for $15.