A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology
AOL’s Patch Limps Toward Profit Amid Sluggish Advertising (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Following investor complaints that Patch has been holding back AOL’s turnaround, Patch now faces a do-or-die year in 2013, said Benjamin Schachter, a media analyst with Macquarie Securities USA Inc. in New York. If the company can’t make Patch profitable, it may close down the division, he said.
ReachLocal CEO: Commerce-Based Solutions Are Becoming Alternatives to Local Search (Street Fight)
Whereas most companies have built either a consumer-brand or a back-end for merchants, the company has spun out a SaaS tool, ReachCommerce, from its branded ClubLocal platform. Street Fight recently caught up with Zorik Gordon, ReachLocal’s chief executive, to talk about the origins of the new project, the challenges with bring local services online, and the impact a shift from advertising to commerce might have on local search companies like Yelp.
RetailMeNot Files For IPO, Shows Coupons Really Are Sexy (VentureBeat)
Online coupon company Retailmenot Inc filed with U.S. regulators on Monday for an initial public offering of common stock of up to $230 million. RetailMeNot features digital coupons accessible through web and mobile applications and consumers can easily search for, and redeem relevant offers for online and in-store purchases.
5 Platforms for Location-Based Listening & Analytics (Street Fight)
With more than 400 million tweets being sent worldwide each day, merchants and brands are desperate to cut through the clutter. A number of platforms are being developed that combine social media monitoring with location-based analytics, helping marketers pinpoint relevant messages in their own cities and regions. Here are five examples of these hybrid tools.
From The Ashes of Webvan, Amazon Builds a Grocery Business (Reuters)
The online grocery start-up Webvan may have been the single most expensive flame-out of the dot-com era, blowing through more than $800 million in venture capital and IPO proceeds in just over three years before shutting its doors in 2001. Twelve years later, though, Webvan is rising from the dead – in the form of an online grocery business called AmazonFresh.
Fred Wilson: For Foursquare, It’s Not About The Check-in. It’s About “Maps With People In Them” (PandoDaily)
To hear investor Fred Wilson tell it, Foursquare’s heavily-publicized struggles have nothing to do with their product or their ability to raise funds. The real problem? Foursquare hasn’t done a good job communicating its killer use case: “maps with people in them.”
Yahoo Improves Local Lead-Gen Services (Folio Magazine)
Yahoo is the latest to up its small business services, launching Yahoo! Localworks, a tool for improving online company profiles. The platform allows small businesses to fix incorrect or incomplete listings around the web and create new ones where none exist. Localworks reaches more than 150 million searchers per month across more than 40 sites in its network, including Yahoo! Local, Bing Local and Yelp.
Starbucks Goes Contactless in the UK (Finextra)
Working with Barclaycard Global Payment Acceptance and Visa Europe, the Seattle-based caffeine Goliath has introduced contactless technology to over 550 company-owned stores in the UK, joining retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Co-Op and Boots. The contactless push is the latest in a series of moves by Starbucks to squeeze out cash. The firm’s mobile app has proven a huge success while last year it began rolling out of the Square mobile payment application at 7000 US stores.
LivingSocial Closing Seattle Office (Forbes)
LivingSocial has confirmed that the Seattle office is now closing. While a spokesperson notes that “the team that had been located there are still with LivingSocial and will be working remotely,” inside sources have confided that many Seattle-based employees have already quit, and the majority of others are already looking for new jobs.