A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal content, commerce, and technology
OpenTable Bets On Mobile App To Drive Revenue (Reuters)
OpenTable forecast fourth-quarter revenue largely above expectations and said it would strengthen its mobile platform. The company said it was working on mobile payment to let patrons pay for a meal via their mobile phones. It plans to launch the service in San Francisco this year.
Winding Down Patch, AOL Writes Off Millions (Street Fight)
AOL revenues fell sharply in the third quarter due to large writeoffs related to the continued challenges at the company’s hyperlocal news network Patch. During an earnings call Tuesday, the company said it took a $19 million charge due to recent restructuring costs at the hyperlocal media division as well as a $25 million charge related to non-cash asset impairment, or decrease in the valuation, of the project.
More Exec Changes at ReachLocal (LocalOnliner)
During its 3rd quarter earnings call, ReachLocal announced the departure of President (and SMB Digital Marketing Keynoter) Nathan Hanks. Hanks follows founder Zorik Gordon out the door and will be replaced by CRO Josh Claman, who joined the company in August 2012 from Dell and NCR. Interim CEO (and DoubleClick Cofounder) David Carlick remains in place.
As Programmatic Buying Gains Steam, Centro Snaps Up SiteScout for $40 Million (Street Fight)
The ad tech company that develops media management software for advertisers has acquired a self-serve advertising platform. The move comes as programmatic ad buying continues to grow in the digital advertising space.
Will ZIP-Level Targeting Help Twitter Gain New SMB Advertisers (Screenwerk)
Greg Sterling: Everybody wants to attract more SMB advertisers, and Twitter has been pushing ads for SMBs for some time, in some cases via partners like American Express. In my travels and talks with people in the local marketplace I see little evidence that SMBs are buying Twitter ads. While between 45% to 60% of the addressable SMB market uses “social media,” Twitter is much less often used than Facebook.
What Might Happen If Yelp Paid Reviewers? It Could Cost $12.8 Billion (Washington Post)
There’s a glaring problem in the recent class-action lawsuit demanding that Yelp pay its horde of volunteer reviewers: If Yelp shelled out for each review posted on the site in the past nine years, the company could owe $12.8 billion — billion! — to its users.
What Local Publishers Can Learn From Starbucks (Street Fight)
You shouldn’t think about “what thing” you should do to make money, but rather “what experience am I delivering and how can I extend that experience thoughtfully?” If something adds value for readers, adds value for advertisers, and strengthens your other efforts then you should be doing it today.
Google Brings Its Hotel Finder Service To Smartphones, Lets You Filter By Price, Class, Rating, And Distance (TheNextWeb)
Google today announced it has ported its Hotel Finder service, which provides similar results to online travel agencies, to mobile phones. Hotel Finder is a perfect example of a Google service that is separate from Google search, but only until Google deems it worth enough to be integrated. In the meantime though, Google still wants to offer the service to learn how it’s used and improve it accordingly.
How Jack Dorsey Approached The Payments Market: As A Buyer (GigaOm)
Jack Dorsey may not have known much about being a merchant when he founded Square, but he did know a lot about being a buyer. According to Dorsey, that was the perspective Square used to design Reader.
Backed By Sequoia, Zomato Closes $37M Series D To Expand Its Restaurant Discovery Service Internationally (TechCrunch)
The Indian restaurant discovery service has been chipping away at the space since 2008, mostly in its home market. Today it’s closed a $37M funding round from Sequoia Capital and existing local investor Info Edge to supersize its international expansion plans. It’s raised a total of around $55M to date.