Street Fight Daily: Baseball Bets on Beacons, Square Ramps Up Salesforce

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A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology.

major league baseball logoMajor League Baseball Completes iBeacon Installation at First Two Ballparks (Recode)
Major League Baseball is set to announce on Friday morning that it has finished outfitting its first two ballparks with iBeacon sensors that will shoot messages to baseball game attendees’ phones this upcoming season. The plan is to have more than 20 ballparks in total equipped with the technology by Opening Day in late March. The Padres host the Dodgers on Opening Night on March 30.

6 Ways Merchants Can Encourage Customers to Complete Mobile Transactions (Street Fight)
Just 3% of SMBs in the U.S. have websites that can handle mobile transactions, according to a recent survey by hibu and Impact Research. One of the reasons why merchants have been reluctant to adopt the right tools for dealing with mobile transactions is because they don’t understand what’s in it for them. Here are ideas for local merchants who are interested in how they can encourage more customers to complete transactions via mobile.

Square Cuts More Custom Pricing Deals For Merchants And Ramps Up Sales Hiring (TechCrunch)
This past week brought the news of a fairly significant development for Square — the rollout of Square Stands in bars, Whole Foods restaurants, and other venues. We’re hearing that Square is aggressively working to do more custom pricing for merchants, especially chains and big names, in order to bring in bigger names and retailers.

On-Demand Ride-Sharing Startup Lyft Is Raising Another Big Round Of Funding (TechCrunch)
Lyft is raising yet another big round of funding, according to sources. The company, which is seeking to make ride-sharing mainstream in cities across the U.S. and around the world, is expected to use the new cash to fund expansion into new cities and territories.

Tencent Takes a $400M Stake in China’s Yelp — is an Acquisition Next? (VentureBeat)
TechNode, VentureBeat’s partner in China, has learned from multiple sources that Asian powerhouse Tencent has acquired a stake in Dianping, China’s version of Yelp, and will announce the deal as soon as the coming week. Although it doesn’t have a major competitor in ratings and reviews in the Asian markets, its rivals are from group-buying and other lifestyle or local services.

Philips’ New Intelligent Store Lighting Can Track Shoppers (GigaOm)
The Dutch tech giant has come up with a way to use connected lighting as the basis for in-store location-based services, such as finding items and offering highly targeted coupons. If active, the app can then receive alerts based on whatever the shopper is looking for – someone looking to cook a certain dish may find themselves directed to the ingredients and offered relevant coupons, for example.

Why PayPal’s David Marcus is a Boss but not a Leader (VentureBeat)
An internal email was recently leaked, wherein David Marcus, the president of PayPal, scolds his employees for not having “passion” or “gusto” for their jobs. I’d like to think that the tactic Marcus employed is something of an outlier. However, the truth is that it’s much more common than it should be.

UrbanSitter Raises $15M To Harness The Power Of Social Recommendations In Child Care (TechCrunch)
UrbanSitter, an online service for parents and sitters to connect, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by DBL Investors. UrbanSitter harnesses the power of social recommendations in a space where a friend’s recommendation is critical—child care. UrbanSitter leverages Facebook Connect so parents can view sitters that their friends already know, trust and recommend.

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