A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal media, technology, advertising and startups.
LevelUp Now Seeing $1M Per Month In Transactions; Launches API (TechCrunch)
LevelUp is already seeing some good engagement with its app, considering the fact that $1 million in transactions took place through its system for all of 2011, but it is now seeing its users spend over $1 million at local businesses per month, and engagement has been doubling every 5 to 6 weeks, according to founder Seth Priebatsch.
Facebook Premium: Ads Everywhere, Ads Everywhere, Ads (BetaBeat)
The old online ad model is fixated on companies “talking at their customers,” said Sheryl Sandberg. Whereas, “They want to be a full part of the conversation. … It enables brands to find their voices… and to have genuine, personal relationships with their customers.”
Foursquare Dumps Google, Goes Open-Source for Maps (ReadWriteWeb)
Foursquare just made what it called “a little announcement”, but it’s really not little at all. It’s switching away from the Google Maps API to OpenStreetMap. Foursquare cites Google’s decision to start charging for access to the Google Maps API in October as the reason it started looking for alternatives.
Existing Foursquare Investor Spark Capital Buys $50M Of Employee Stock (TechCrunch)
Eric Eldon: What’s making investors excited? Well, the location app appears to be doing a lot of things right, despite the questions some have asked about its still-nascent business model. While Foursquare might not be the biggest social network in the world, the data it does have, and the ecosystem that is growing around it, makes for a promising story.
Can Seamless Become a Yelp Competitor? (GigaOm)
Seamless, a favorite resource for connecting restaurants and delivery-dependent diners, built its business helping companies order meals for its workers. But the company is now trying to become a much more consumer-focused business, and it’s now looking to the mounds of data it gathers to try to accelerate the transformation.