Street Fight Daily: Patch To Close Sites, GateHouse Files For Chapter 11

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

PatchMemo: ‘Regretfully, A Number of Patches Will Have To Be Closed (Romenesko)
“We have believed strongly in the value of a connected local community,” Bud Rosenthal, the new CEO of AOL’s Patch, told employees in a memo sent Friday. “However this commitment has not translated into success in every town we serve; therefore, regretfully, a number of Patches will have to be closed — a handful of sites will close on Oct. 7.”

Study: More Local Shoppers Using Mobile Devices for Retail Purchases (Street Fight)
As mobile devices become smarter, consumers are turning to their devices for more than last-minute directions and simple searches. A new study from Local Corporation finds that the the smartphone, once thought of as a place where consumers went for quick bits of information, is moving deeper into the decision cycle, playing a larger role in more in depth research, once associated with with tablet behavior.

GateHouse Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection (Wall Street Journal)
GateHouse Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Friday after its creditors approved a restructuring plan that would hand control of the newspaper publisher to a lender group that includes an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group. Like other local media companies, GateHouse has been struggling with declining revenue and profits, and it was facing the maturity of its $1.2 billion in loans next year.

5 Local Data Aggregators for Hyperlocal Startups (Street Fight)
For many founders of hyperlocal platforms, the ideas they’ve envisioned require access to location data—and lots of it. Some of the most important background players in the hyperlocal ecosystem are the local data aggregators, which supply clients with the basic NAP (name, address, and phone number) identities of millions of businesses and points-of-interest worldwide.

The NSA Refuses To Deny That It Collected The Location Data Of U.S. Phone Calls (TechCrunch)
During a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, Gen. Alexander refused to state that the National Security Agency had never in the past collected the location information of American phone calls. The implication here is obvious: The NSA claims that it is not currently tracking the location of cell phone calls placed in the United States, but refuses to state that it never has. So it did.

Sacramento Press Follows National Trend In Community Journalism: Downsizing (Sacramento Bee)
It hasn’t take long for the Sacramento Press to run into the same harsh reality that has forced other local journalism websites to downsize or close altogether. While there has been much attention paid to the potential of such “hyper-local” websites to fill the coverage gap left by cuts in big metropolitan newsrooms, most have failed to produce enough advertising profits to sustain themselves.

Hummingbird, Local Knowledge Graph & Shitty Search Results (Blumenthals)
Mike Blumenthal: With the new Hummingbird search algorithm update, it appears that Google has once again conflated terms like “Buffalo NY Diamonds” or “Denver SEO”  with what they suppose to be a branded search, surfacing spammy pinned local results that we thought had long ago been buried. Hummingbird has worked surprisingly well as demonstrated by the lack of complaints, but it is interesting that a problem thought solved long ago would trip it up.

Baseball’s Beacon Trials Hint at Apple’s Location Revolution (CNet)
Major League Baseball has spent the last few months running trials to get iBeacon, Apple’s new proximity sharing feature, to work with its app to allow partners to deliver information, coupons, and other media relevant to a person’s location. Largely ignored in favor of the graphical overhaul of iOS 7, iBeacon has the potential to change our experiences at everything from ball games to shopping malls, both an exciting and frightening prospect.

Local Newspapers Scramble for Native Ad Strategies (Digiday)
The native-ad push isn’t just for the big boys: teetering local newspapers are rushing to adopt the latest online ad gambit. However, the high-minded debate content-oriented ads have ignited on the national level isn’t as pressing to local and regional newspapers, which are literally fighting for survival.

Where Webvan Failed And How Home Delivery 2.0 Could Succeed (TechCrunch)
Webvan is well-known as the poster child of the dot-com “excess” bubble that led to the tech market crash in 2000. While it’s true that the impatience to go public helped steer Webvan off a cliff, the once darling company made two other critical, but often overlooked mistakes. The questions today is whether those mistakes are being repeated in the slew of activity — even excitement — in the home-delivery space.

Using Light As A Data Stream For Delivering Hyper-Relevant Informaiotn (PSFK)
In a trend we are calling Speed of Light, PSFK Labs looks into the ways light is being used to transfer and communicate information. Whether by beaming data and information to phones in a retail environment, or converting real-time data streams into intuitive and engaging visual information for public display, these lighting solutions help inject relevant information into a person’s surroundings, providing an added layer of context.