Street Fight Daily: Groupon, Patch, Signpost, Digital First

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology.

Groupon Customers Might Not Get Any Cash From $8.5 Million Settlement (Business Insider)
Groupon is shelling out $8.5 million as part of a settlement of a class action over its expiration dates. Customers received notices of the deal early Thursday. But that doesn’t mean they’re actually getting any cash. Anyone in the U.S. who bought or received a Groupon from Nov. 1, 2008 through Dec. 1, 2011, is eligible to be part of the settlement in which Groupon didn’t admit wrongdoing.

Signpost Makes Deal With Newspaper Biggies (Portfolio)
Local advertising platform Signpost has sealed a deal to provide local merchant-provided deal content to Digital First Media, which manages two of the largest U.S. newspaper companies, MediaNews Group and the Journal Register Co., reaching 57 million Americans in 18 states.

The Case Against AOL, In Numbers (Forbes)
Jeff Bercovici: Patch had revenues of $13 million last year against costs of $160 million. But Starboard, which hired a consulting firm to interview Patch advertisers and ex-employees, believes even that modest revenue number was inflated by pushing non-local advertising from other AOL sites onto Patch pages. Some 70% of Patch advertisers interviewed said they did not renew after their initial contracts.

Local Corp. Granted Apparently Broad Patent re: Indexing Geocoded Sites (ScreenWerk)
Greg Sterling: The abstract seems to imply that Local has patented indexing and retrieval of web pages with geocoding. If so that would be quite a sweeping patent. Typically the precise meaning and scope of patents plays out in a litigation context and requires judicial interpretation.

‘My Hyperlocal Site Was Fine, But It Didn’t Pay’ (Guardian)
“I hoped my experiment with Saddleworth News might provide some answers” to the cash crisis facing journalism, writes Richard Jones. “It was fun and frustrating, exciting and boring, illuminating and tedious, just like journalism is. But I’m afraid it didn’t get me any closer to a model that will keep reporters in the councils and courtrooms.”

Crowdfunder Closes $400K Seed Round, Launches Public Beta (TechCrunch)
Crowdfunder, the Los Angeles-based startup creating an online platform for the “crowdfunding” of startups and small businesses, has launched the first public beta version of its site this week. The launch comes on the heels of Crowdfunder closing on $400,000 in seed funding from a group of angel investors earlier this month, CEO Chance Barnett says.

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