Street Fight Daily: Regulators Crackdown on Fake Reviews, Facebook ‘Closes The Loop’

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

reviewsGive Yourself 5 Stars? Online, It Might Cost You (New York Times)
New York regulators will announce on Monday the most comprehensive crackdown to date on deceptive reviews on the Internet. The yearlong investigation encompassed companies that create fake reviews on sites Google, Yelp, Citysearch and Yahoo. Agreements have been reached with 19 companies to cease their misleading practices and pay a total of $350,000 in penalties.

Is Content King in Local Too? (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: In the pantheon of buzzwords overtaking pitch decks and CMO-speak, “content marketing” is the new darling. The term has legitimate grounding to be fair, but like “long tail” and “web 2.0” in days past, its overuse precedes it. Content marketing also isn’t anything new — it’s been done for years, albeit under the ethically challenged “advertorial” rubric among other flavors. Now it’s new, improved, and hitched to en vogue terms like “native.”

Facebook Connects Impressions To Offline Sales For Telcos (MarketingLand)
The future of digital advertising and marketing increasingly involves “closing the loop” between online ad exposures and offline sales. A case-in-point is yesterday’s Facebook announcement about telco “outcome measurement.” This is yet another ROI tactic and tool that Facebook is adding to its growing arsenal to show advertisers it’s delivering real value where it counts: at the point of sale.

In Nod To SaaS Future, ReachLocal Rolls Out Lead Management Product (Street Fight)
The company is extending its subscription ReachEdge product to a general audience, providing tools for merchants to not only generate, but also manage leads that come directly to a business’s website or through a display or search campaign. Kris Barton, the company’s director of product, says the problem that software needs to solve for small businesses today is that of converting demand into customers.

Mobile Payments Are One-Third of Braintree’s Business (PandoDaily)
Braintree is now processing $4 billion in mobile payments annually, a whopping one third of the company’s total annual payments processed — $12 billion. Its total mobile payment amount has quadrupled over the last twelve months, after the acquisition of one-touch payment app Venmo.

A Hyperlocal Twitter Filter That Gets Neighbors Talking To Each Other (FastCompany)
Researchers at Microsoft are experimenting with a mobile web application that can filter Twitter’s billions of tweets a week down to a hyperlocal level. The project, from Microsoft’s research division, is called Whooly, and it is currently being tested in the Seattle area with about 1,000 volunteers. The focus is on four neighborhoods: Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Wallingford, and West Seattle.

Verve: Ideal Mobile Geofence 2 to 5 Miles (Screenwerk)
Mobile ad network Verve released a report, including case studies, about location based advertising on its network. According to Verve’s analysis of numerous campaigns the “optimal distance” to show an ad to a consumer is within six miles of a location. The company goes on to say the geofencing “sweet spot” is between 2 and 5 miles. After 6 miles performance declines dramatically.

Location-based Mobile Coupons Take Center Stage For Holiday Loyalty-Building (MobileCommerceDaily)
With better targeting and integration into multichannel marketing plans, retailers including Sears and Kmart are making location-based mobile coupons a more intricate part of their media mixes this holiday season. There is more of an emphasis this holiday season on cross-channel marketing, and location is one way retailers are looking to mobile as a way to differentiate smartphone and tablet shopping.

From Homicide Watch to Education, Testing A New Kind of Structured Journalism (Nieman Journalism Lab)
With little more than an idea — that there was a better way to serve the D.C. community’s needs for meaningful data and community-driven news of violent crime — Homicide Watch D.C. built a service that was quickly embraced. Using a process I call “narrative data,” they pulled facts from reporting into a database and then used those facts to tell stories, asking and answering questions about what is usual and unusual, fact-checking quickly, finding where discrepancies lie, and looking forward by asking what happens next.

Wallet.AI Aims to Serve Up Location-Based Financial Advice (MIT Technology Review)
Omar Green is founder and CEO of personal finance startup wallet.AI, which is among a growing number of app-makers incorporating so-called contextual awareness into their software. The company is building software that includes a mobile app to sort through your data trail and, combined with insights about your spending habits, offer up timely financial advice.

10 Ways That iPads Are Transforming Retail (TheNextWeb)
Andrew Yates: Ever since the introduction of the iPhone and iPad, people have found amazing ways to use the devices and with the arrival of iOS 7, the new iPhone devices the possibilities are only going to increase. After a recent visit to an Apple Store I found myself using the iPad Smart Signs, which show off products throughout the store. It got me thinking about how iOS can be used to improve the retail experience further.