A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Foursquare’s Plan to Use Your Data to Make Money — Even if You Aren’t a User (Wired)
While most people have been looking at Foursquare’s consumer-focused apps, the company has quietly built an ad-targeting and location data business that new president Steven Rosenblatt says is growing rapidly. These services don’t depend on attracting new users to Foursquare’s apps, allowing the company to jump off the growth-for-the-sake-growth treadmill. It’s a striking gambit: to succeed, Foursquare is staking out a plan where it doesn’t need most of us to use Foursquare at all.
Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future (New York Times)
Farhad Manjoo: By just about every measure worth collecting, five American consumer technology companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft — are getting larger, more entrenched in their own sectors, more powerful in new sectors, and better insulated against surprising competition from upstarts.
6 Smart Ways Retailers Can Use Heat Maps to Drive Conversions (Street Fight)
What do customer movements inside stores have to do with conversions? It turns out, quite a lot. Slight changes in routing can increase the traffic around promotional displays and help avoid bottlenecks. Some of the smartest retailers are installing beacons, WiFi, and other hyperlocal technologies as a way to generate heat maps that track customer flows.
What’s Next For Lead Generation? (TechCrunch)
Sam Madden: As it stands today, the lead-gen options for local service professions — who have been a notoriously underserved part of the labor market — are now plentiful. As a result, lines in the sand are being drawn. Platform models are maturing, innovation is dwindling, and certain players are worrying about their own eventual platform demise.
How Amazon Is Slowly Building a World in Which It Takes Very Little Effort to Shop (Adweek)
Amazon has announced brand partners for its new Amazon Dash Replenishment program, which lets appliances and gadgets order products without any help at all. For instance, GE’s washers that utilize what’s called “smart dispense technology” can be programmed to automatically order detergent when the owner is running low on his or her go-to brand.
UberRUSH/ChowNow Rolls Out Food Delivery to Thousands of Restaurants (Eater)
ChowNow, an online ordering and payment platform for restaurants, teamed up with UberRUSH — the delivery and courier arm of Uber — to offer food delivery to any restaurant in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. ChowNow differs from its competitors by customizing its mobile and web ordering apps for each restaurant, meaning that instead of going to ChowNow to order, customers can instead go through individual restaurants’ sites or apps.
Google Is Testing a Clever Way to Hurt One of Facebook’s Biggest Moneymakers (Business Insider)
Mobile app installations have become the latest battleground in the competition between Google and Facebook. Google is starting to let some Android users download apps directly from search results, hinting at an increased threat to Facebook’s mobile app install ads.
Local Media Consortium Touts New comScore-Validated Reach (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: The Local Media Consortium counts 133 million unique visitors per month as of November 2015, a number showing that LMC publishers reach 51.4 percent of the U.S. population. I recently caught up with executive director Rusty Coats to see how the group plans to exploit the traffic counts as they make their pitches to marketers.
Verizon Introduces New Scheme That Lets Brands Subsidize Your Data Plan (Digiday)
Verizon is joining the list of carriers offering data-hungry customers an ad-supported alternative, rolling out a plan called “FreeBee Data” that lets deep-pocketed companies foot the bill of your data when you access their content without it counting against a monthly data limit.
Why Ritual Is Betting on Food Pickup Instead of Delivery (ChicagoInno)
Toronto startup Ritual thinks plenty of people would rather carry out than order in, and it’s choosing Chicago as the first U.S. market for its on-demand food pickup app. Ritual allows users to order and pay for food from their smartphone, and skip the lines at restaurants and coffee shops.