SFD: Reviews Impact Business, Groupon Execs Back Competitor

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

How Online Reviews are Crucial to a Restaurant’s Takings (The Guardian)
Economists find that when a restaurant rating improved by just half a star it was very much more likely to be full at peak dining times. Indeed, an extra half-star rating caused a restaurant’s 7:00 pm bookings to sell out on from 30% to 49% of the evenings it was open for business.

Awkward Belly Dance for Groupon (Wall Street Journal)
Groupon investors won’t like to hear it, but two of the company’s founders — who between them have roughly 36% voting control — are competing with the company in a small but important area. Chairman Eric Lefkofsky, with about 26% voting power, and director Brad Keywell, with 10%, are also the founders of start-up incubator Lightbank and back a company called Belly that helps local merchants manage their loyalty programs.

Patch Losses Communications Director Janine Iamunno (Romenesko)
Patch’s PR boss, Janine Iamunno, is leaving the company. Iamunno, who has been Patch’s most stalwart defender for a few years now, announced in a Facebook post Friday that she is leaving the company and said that she will “always believe in the [the company’s] vision and ultimate success.”

Coming to a Restaurant Near You: Online Food Delivery (The Next Web)
Last week’s eyebrow-raising $49 million round of funding for German food-ordering site Delivery Hero as well as a flurry of similar recent deals, indicate that consumers and restaurant owners want digital delivery. According to a study by the National Restaurant Association, 39% of consumers say they would use electronic ordering to buy meals if it were available and 55% of restaurant owners in the same study said that electronic payment systems, essential to online ordering, will become more important to the industry.

Can Square Remain Hip? (New York Times)
Disappointed by Facebook and Groupon, technology industry watchers at least have hope for Square but it may too early to anoint the company as the firm that will lead us into a cashless society. The main issue with Square is that it’s not yet clear what it wants to be.

Swarmly Debuts Its ‘Waze For People’ On iOS — Know Where Is Hot Or Not, Right Now (TechCrunch)
Swarmly, a newly-released app for iPhone, thinks it’s seen a gap in the location sharing market. Unlike check-in apps like Foursquare or indeed Facebook’s own location sharing feature, it places far less emphasis on the social graph to focus on anonymous, aggregate location data — powered by each Swarmly user’s whereabouts — so that the app can tell you where is hot (or not) right now.

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