Street Fight Daily: Zaarly Pivots, Can Hyperlocal Scale?

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

zaarly-iconZaarly Shutters Its Reverse Craigslist Marketplace, Goes All In On Virtual Storefronts As Co-Founder Exits (TechCrunch)
With the next update to Zaarly’s mobile app, co-founder Bo Fishback tells us, its “request anything” model will disappear from the Zaarly experience completely. That means, not only has the concept with which it raised $14 million been put to bed in order to move in a new direction, but we’ve also learned that Zaarly co-founder Eric Koester left the company around the same time.

Why Local Online Publishers Should Also Be Designing Merchants’ Sites (Street Fight)
Julie Brooks: One of the most sustainable sources of income for local digital publishers ought to be web design and hosting for their local customers. Web design and hosting has counted for 20% of my company’s total annual revenue for the past five years. It’s a natural fit for publishers in so many ways, and yet I see very few who offer it. They’re missing out big time.

Hyperlocal Cooties (Buzz Machine)
Jeff Jarvis: Hyperlocal ventures are caught in a terrible chicken-egg omelette. Funders will back ventures only if they scale, if they’re bigger than one town. Promising scale is how Daily Voice, Patch, Backfence, Everyblock, and other local ventures got funding. Striving for scale is what made them each perhaps grow too far too fast. Maybe the truth is that hyperlocal won’t scale.

Defining the Local Coefficient: A Conversation with Yelp (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: A growing chunk of physical purchases are influenced online. And the path to purchase increasingly weaves between different screens. But for conversions, it’s all about offline. The question is how long this will remain to be the case. Out of sheer curiosity, Yelp VP Mike Ghaffary ventured to quantify this.

NY Daily News Releases City Guide App With MyCityWay (AdWeek)
Originally conceived as a standalone app, MyCityWay’s evolved into a platform that has been used by brands like BMW and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Now, MyCityWay is teaming up with the New York Daily News—its first U.S. publishing partner—on a new app that will integrate the newspaper’s expansive local coverage.

Yelp’s Good Stock Day May Be a Bad Sign (PandoDaily)
Speculative rumors often prove to be untrue, but the fact that the Yahoo acquisition rumors gathered momentum often reflects a deeper sentiment held by a lot of people. In this case, the rally says something interesting not just about Yelp, but about the recent generation of Web startups that have emerged as brand names in the past several years.

A Car That Knows Where Your Kids Are: BMW Invests in Life360 (PaidContent)
Life360 has received a lot of interest from automakers as location-sharing becomes a hot technology in the connected car. It’s planned car app lets you know not only where the kids are but how to get to them.

Adapt-or-Die Time for Daily Deals Firms (AdWeek)
In 2009, daily deals firms sprouted up on the digital landscape like eager-to-bloom crocus flowers often seen at this time of year. But more recently a late winter freeze has buzz sawed through one flowery bulb after another, as hundreds of daily deals upstarts have fallen by the wayside because they couldn’t develop in the harshly competitive climate.

Wi-Fi Offers Huge Opportunities, but Here’s How Companies Could Blow It (GigaOm)
Jared Headley: Wi-Fi has moved from an at-home convenience to a public service as mobile devices continue to take over. Here’s a look at the new opportunities to connect with consumers, and how businesses can easily screw it all up.

Inside Google Street View: From Larry Page’s Car To The Depths Of The Grand Canyon (TechCrunch)
The project started as research at Stanford and then hopped into Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page’s car. Snapping photos of every nook and cranny of the planet so that people could travel the world from the comfort of their own homes or mobile devices is the hallmark of Google’s approach to the world around it and the evolution of technology.

Microsoft’s Bing Now Can Find Local Businesses That Aren’t Too Crowded (MIT Technology Review)
An app called Bing Now, demonstrated at Microsoft’s headquarters last week, could give Web searchers a way to gauge the current vibe of a bar or restaurant before they book a table. Microsoft researchers think that smartphone owners who are already there could collect this kind of up-to-the-minute information.

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