Street Fight Daily: AOL COO May Exit, Airbnb Expands Hyperlocal Contnent

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

aol-coo-artie-minsonCOO Artie Minson Could Exit Aol, Patch Issues To Blame? (TechCrunch)
Aol Chief Operating Officer Arthur “Artie” Minson could be departing the company soon, we’re hearing, possibly over how the company has been handling hyperlocal news site Patch. A spokesperson declined to comment for this story, Minson hasn’t returned my call, and our sources say that it’s not a done deal.

Groupon’s Stock Dives as Deal Margins Shrink (Street Fight)
Groupon lost more than a quarter of its market value in after hours trading on Wednesday after the company reported diminishing margins and continued international stagnancy in Q4. The once-resurgent daily deals company saw gross billings increase 24% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, but declining margins in both its local and ecommerce business forced its gross profit down 10% from a year earlier.

Airbnb’s Neighborhoods Program Expands With the Addition 93 Local Guides in 4 New Cities worldwide (The Next Web)
The company announced that it’s moving forward in its efforts to help travelers discover rich, unique experiences “on a hyper-local level” based on neighborhood attributes. It has now published 93 new and deeply immersive local guides that travelers can use in four US and international cities: Austin, Boston, Venice, and Rome.

With NJ News Co-op, Professor Deb Galant Keeps to Her Hyperlocal Roots (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: In July 2012, the Baristanet founder decamped for the nearby groves of academe – to the new Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Not surprisingly, Galant stayed true to her entrepreneurial spirit, launching the center’s NJ News Commons, which brings together news organizations from around the state to share stories and resources. Street Fight caught up with Galant recently to find out more about the news co-op, and why the project is important for hyperlocals.

Foursquare CEO Looks Beyond Mobile Handsets: Anywhere There’s A Screen, We Want To Be On It (TechCrunch)
Speaking at a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, highlighted Google’s new headgear as an example of how mobile screens are evolving, and later he told TechCrunch that Foursquare is looking at how it can evolve along with that. “Anywhere there’s a screen, we want to put our stuff on it, whether that’s on a phone, or a watch, or whatever,” he said.

Report: Blocking Access to Wi-Fi Could Hurt Retailers (Street Fight)
Wi-fi connectivity may be starting to affect where consumers decide to shop, according to a new report by JiWire. The study, which surveyed users across the company’s ad-supported wi-fi network, found that one out of two mobile consumers are influenced by the availability of in-store wi-fi when deciding where to shop.

LivingSocial Cancels Bonuses Amid Dust-up Over $110 million Financing (Washington Business Journal)
LivingSocial Inc. employees have received some bad, though not entirely unexpected, news: There will be no bonuses. The daily deal company’s board canceled 2012 performance bonuses companywide last week after LivingSocial failed to meet financial targets for the year, spokesman Andrew Weinstein confirmed to me.

Waze Proves the Power of Social Media With Real-Time Map Updates (Wired)
The mapping app has added ability for trusted community members to update maps in real time, helping others avoid congestion and delays the moment they occur. More than that, though, Waze is among the first big examples of how social media can effect positive, immediate change in our daily lives.

More Retailers at Risk of Amazon ‘Showrooming’ (New York Times)
A new study of Amazon customers who research products in stores by Placed, a mobile analytics company, offers some insight into who else could be at the greatest risk of losing business to showrooming. Among the people on its panel who reported buying items on Amazon after looking at the same item in physical stores, Placed found that Bed Bath and Beyond, PetSmart and Toys ‘R’ Us were the retailers that Amazon showroomers visited the most.

Heineken Targets Soccer Fans With Location-based Mobile App (Mobile Marketer)
Heineken is activating its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League soccer tournament via a new mobile application that gives users a chance to have a grand viewing event for the final game in their hometown. Users of the Heineken Champions mobile and Facebook app can take a photo of themselves enjoying a UCL match and upload it, tag their location and enter to win.

Beyond Foursquare: Geolocation Services Proliferate, Mature (PBS MediaShift)
J.D. Lasica: Now that the table has been set, what’s next for geolocation? What we’re seeing is geolocation beginning to splinter into niches and verticals. And, within a couple of years, geolocation capabilities will simply be baked into our everyday on-the-go lives.

Passbook Mobile Ticketing Expanding to 13 MLB Ballparks This Season (GigaOm)
MLB continues to further integrate mobile tech into its fan offerings. While iOS is by far its most popular mobile platform, the head of baseball’s digital arm says it’s “shrinking every day” as Android grows.

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