A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.
Sears Rolls Out Hyperlocal Shopping Site (Crain’s Chicago Business)
Underscoring a strategic shift to online and mobile shopping, Sears has announced the creation of a nationwide hyperlocal shopping site, SearsLocalAd.com, with hundreds of weekly geographic deals beyond the print ad circular. Localization is pre-selected based on the shopper and can be changed to another store within the experience.
Want To Know What Apple Will Do Next In Mobile Commerce? Check Out The Pirq It’s Giving To Employees (TechCrunch)
Apple has signed on with Pirq, a startup from Seattle, to offer food and drink daily deals to its employees in the Bay Area, with the service working by way of an iPhone app, location-based technology, and a Microsoft Tag code to redeem the discounts. A source tells TechCrunch that this is the first part of a potential “four phase” implementation that could see Apple offering a deals service out to all iPhone users.
The Real Reason Foursquare Finally Decided To Pursue Revenues Now (Business Insider)
A source close to the company explained the company’s decision to charge merchants $10 for expedited approval: “The change is designed to make it easier and faster for international venues to claim and to keep the overall quality of specials high (our thought is that people paying to maintain their page, even if only $10, will be more invested in curating their presence on foursquare).”
Loyalty platform Belly raises $10M from Andreessen Horowitz (GigaOM)
There’s a brewing battle in the digital loyalty and rewards market but no one has really emerged as a leader in helping local businesses retire their old punch cards. Andreessen Horowitz is laying down a $10 million bet on Chicago-based Belly, which launched last year as a provider of customized loyalty programs for small and medium sized business.
AOL Shareholder Advises Company to Kill Patch (Business Insider)
One of AOL’s largest shareholders, Starboard Value LP has a massive presentation on everything Tim Armstrong and co. are doing wrong. Among its recommendations: “AOL needs to kill Patch. It just doesn’t work as a business, and advertisers hate it.” Also: “AOL needs to make its display business profitable by cutting the fat, and investing properly.”
Location-Sharing Service EchoEcho Raises $750k (TechCrunch)
EchoEcho is one of the more useful location-based applications on the market today. Instead of focusing on check-ins and deals, the application simply makes it easy for you to find out where your friends are and lets you set up a meeting with them.