Street Fight: LevelUp ‘Zeros Out,’ Andrew Mason Waits Tables

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

LevelUp’s Plan to Supercharge the Mobile Payments Market: Make It Free (All Things D)
The loayalty and payments platform is providing merchants with an alternative that will cost absolutely nothing. It is calling the program Interchange Zero, because when both merchants and consumers use LevelUp, it won’t cost a single cent to accept a payment.

The Education of Groupon CEO Andrew Mason (Businessweek)
On weekend nights, customers might be directed to their tables by the most absurdly overqualified maitre d’ on earth: Andrew Mason, who is also the chief executive officer and founder of Groupon. Mason says his hosting gig, which he agreed to discuss on the condition that the establishment not be named, helps him understand what makes local merchants tick — how they book reservations, accept payments, and manage inventory.

LivingSocial Partners with Madison Square Garden, AEG and More for Live Event Offers (The Next Web)
Now, LivingSocial is expanding its offers to include music, sports, theater and more across the Big Apple. The company is working with organizations from across the entertainment, music and sports fray, having previously launched Live Events in Los Angeles and DC earlier this year.

The Newsonomics of Good News about News (Nieman Lab)
Ken Doctor: As we head into the second half of 2012, amid much despair given downward ad trends in print and stalling ones in digital, let’s pause to consider some good news about the trade. It’s not a matter of being Pollyannish, but of being realistic: Within that good news are seeds of what will sustain whatever forms the next stage of the news business.

What Inspired the Creation of Foursquare? (Gizmodo)
Dennis Crowley: “In college, I used to be really into making fanzines, desktop publishing, mailing them off to people. The stuff I really like in foursquare is the the stories people start to tell in tips—these are not uses that we’ve expected, but its the stuff that makes the product magical sometimes. it’s magical.”

With Mobile Payments, Placecast Sees Location-Based Marketing’s Future (eMarketer)
Alistair Goodman:”In Placecast’s carrier-based programs, which are run by mobile operators, on average, a little more than half of consumers are visiting stores frequently as a result of being part of the program.”

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