Street Fight Daily: Village Voice Sold, Groupon Cuts Loom

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

Village Voice Media Execs Acquire the Company’s Famed Alt Weeklies, Form New Holding Company (TechCrunch)
Village Voice Media Holdings — whose titles include the LA Weekly, Westword, and, yes, the Village Voice — is selling its publications (and their associated web properties) to a new holding company, the similarly named Voice Media Group. The deal includes all 13 of VVMH’s alt weeklies, but not the online classifieds site, which will operate as its own company.

As Groupon’s New Operations Czar Seeks to Streamline, Job Cuts Loom (Crain’s Chicago Business)
Just months into the job as senior vice president of global sales and operations, Kal Raman, Groupon’s new operations czar, is speeding the move to automate mundane tasks and eliminating jobs at a four-year-old company that until now has relied more on people than technology. Despite such reassurances, significant cuts would rattle morale at a company already shaken by a roller coaster ride that has taken its total stock market value to $3.45 billion, down from its $12.8 billion IPO in November and below Google Inc.’s reported buyout offer of $5.75 billion nearly two years ago.

Local Search Cage Match: Google Vs. Apple Maps (And Siri) (Search Engine Land)
Greg Sterling: In a way Siri gives you the best of both worlds, by providing “answers” and defaulting to web search when it cannot, you can use Siri as a smart front end on top. With its expanded capabilities and broader range of answers — together with LTE and a faster processor — more people will likely be doing more searches (and local searches in particular) on the iPhone.

Daily News Debuts SMB Digital Consultancy (NetNewsCheck)
The New York Daily News is partnering with LocalEdge to launch the Digital Solutions Division, a consulting service that will offer New York-area SMBs a variety of digital products and services, including website and mobile site design and hosting, video production and SEO. The effort will also create a local search directory of area businesses that will be integrated into

Apple Maps: Damned If You Do, Googled If You Don’t (Monday Note)
Jean-Louis Gassée: The ridicule that Apple has suffered following the introduction of the Maps application in iOS 6 is largely self-inflicted. The demo was flawless, 2D and 3D maps, turn-by-turn navigation, spectacular flyovers…but not a word from the stage about the app’s limitations, no self-deprecating wink, no admission that iOS Maps is an infant that needs to learn to crawl before walking, running, and ultimately lapping the frontrunner, Google Maps.

Mobile Can Be the ‘Personalization Lens’ for Offline Stores (GigaOm)
“You can’t reconfigure a physical space to personalize it,” Shopkick co-founder Aaron Emigh told a panel on the topic. “But you can have the mobile phone be a personalization lens when they walk in to that store… importing the things that are best about shopping online in to the physical world where they weren’t available before.”

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