Street Fight Daily: LivingSocial’s Traffic Plummets, Starbucks Touts Mobile

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

livingsocial-logoLivingSocial’s Traffic Is Plummeting (AllThingsD)
In September, traffic to LivingSocial on desktop computers dropped 42 percent, to 4.6 million visitors, from 7.9 million in the same quarter last year, according to comScore. Such a collapse wouldn’t be awful if mobile traffic was rising, but it’s not. LivingSocial’s traffic on mobile phones and tablets fell 28 percent year over year in September, to 7.7 million people, from 10.6 million last year, comScore estimates.

Groupon Defends Branded Keyword Practice (Street Fight)
A spokesperson for Groupon yesterday defended the company’s practice of buying branded keywords to promote discounts run for clients, telling Street Fight that most clients wants as much reach as possible. Some in the local marketing industry have criticized the practice lately, arguing that the deals company may be cannibalizing merchants’ potential sales by promoting discounts to users who were already looking for the business while diverting customers away from the merchant’s existing site

Sacramento Press, Community’s Online Newspaper, Is Sold To New Owner (Sacramento Bee)
Sacramento Press, the struggling online community newspaper, has been sold to David Terry, a local Internet marketing company owner. Launched in October 2008, Sacramento Press grew to a staff of 24 who produced a lively website covering local events, music and community newsm but it has hit hard times in recent years.

Starbucks Touts Mobile Adoption (MediaPost)
During the company’s earnings conference call Wednesday, Starbucks executives highlighted the latest figures for mobile usage: 11% of in-store transaction in the U.S. and Canada are paid for with a mobile device. That translates to an average of 4 million mobile transactions a week, and more than 8 million customers using its mobile app.

To Ring Up More Small Merchant Users, Square Inks Deal With Staples To Sell Square Stand Register Replacement In The U.S. (TechCrunch)
The company is announcing a new retail deal with Staples to sell the Square Stand, a piece of hardware that turns a merchant’s iPad into a card-swiping register. The deal covers 1,000 Staples stores in the U.S., as well as, and comes on the back of the device also being sold in BestBuy, Apple stores and online from Square itself.

Behind the Hyperlocal Hype (EContent)
The recent focus on hyperlocal news-from companies large and small-has yet to produce a single highly successful blueprint for success (or business model). Some hyperlocal publications are surviving on funding from donors, sponsors, and grants. Others focus on advertising to make revenue and, as a result, have struggled (think AOL’s Patch).

The Airbnb Economy in New York: Lucrative but Often Illegal (New York Times)
Airbnb is a service that is adored by some, despised by others, and most commonly known as a place to rent out your apartment while you’re out of town for a few days. But doing so is often illegal in New York City, one reason the company has locked horns with the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman.

Ingress: Is Google’s AR Game A Stealth Local Data Effort? (SearchEngineLand)
Craig Silver Smith: Ingress is rapidly growing into a potentially major marketing channel with a valuable audience of users, and the gaming component has the unique ability to drive foot traffic to stores and shopping centers in the real world. If Ingress is not feeding users’ location data on the back-end into local search algorithms, the simple function of it driving foot traffic to specific locations could easily have an indirect effect upon all the other local search ranking factors that are used for determining relative location popularity.

Local Delivery Startup Postmates Introduces Uber-Like Blitz Pricing During High Demand (TechCrunch)
Local delivery startup Postmates is taking a big step toward regulating demand with the implementation of a new Uber-like Surge Pricing program called “Blitz.” It’s decided to make a change that some other startups have made when faced with more demand than supply — it’s instituting Uber-like dynamic pricing that will scale up the cost of delivery when it sees higher demand.

DudaMobile Launches White Label Platform, Shares Engagement Stats (Screenwerk)
DudaMobile claims that it has mobile-enabled more than 5 million websites at this point. Most of those qualify as very small businesses. According to a study conducted by the company, the vast majority (87.5%) of these businesses did not have a mobile presence prior to adopting the Duda solution. However 77% of these respondents said that their websites were “hugely important” (highest ranking) to their businesses.

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