Street Fight Daily: Square Buys Scheduling Startup, Uber’s Latest Snafu

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

starbucks_square-2Square Acquires BookFresh To Add Booking Services For Merchants (TechCrunch)
Payments company Square announced on Wednesday it had acquired BookFresh, a startup focused on scheduling customer appointments for merchants. Described as an “OpenTable for everything but restaurants,” BookFresh is a self-serve platform for small businesses that need online scheduling services but don’t want to handle the hassle themselves.

How One Community News Project Grew From One Blog to 30 Sites (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: When Kerry Anne Ducey started blogging in her suburban community of Ridgefield, CT. in 2009, what happened within the several square miles of this 300-year-old community of about 25,000 people was the center of her journalistic universe. Today her HamletHub is a partnership of 30 community websites in the Connecticut-New York suburbs, which she says will soon grow to 45 sites.

Uber Kept New Drivers Off the Road to Encourage Surge Pricing and Increase Fares (Verge)
The company did not artificially restrict the number of drivers who were able to come on to the system on Valentine’s Day — a particularly busy day for Uber rides — says spokesman Andrew Noyes. He explained the text simply noted that Uber did not onboard as many San Diego drivers as they could have that week because in the two weeks prior, a very large number of new drivers were added to the system.

7 Ways to Use Weather Data for Hyperlocal Marketing (Street Fight)
Hyperlocal vendors are making it possible for business owners like Stromberg to overlay weather data on top of daily sales figures to make better decisions, but many local merchants are still unsure of how to utilize the insights they glean from this information. Here are seven strategies for local businesses to use weather information to better target their hyperlocal messaging.

The Payments Challenge for Mobile Carriers (New York Times)
Every cellphone operator is looking for ways to persuade customers to use their smartphones to buy goods online. From Isis, a joint venture of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, to Weve, a similar venture of the British carriers Vodafone, O2 and EE, cellphone carriers are pushing hard into mobile payments.

Icahn-eBay Battle Heats Up (Recode)
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn continued his attack on eBay today, once again assailing directors Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook for alleged conflicts of interest in an open letter to shareholders, saying, “Corporate governance at eBay is dysfunctional. Let’s end this charade.”

Groupon Changes Editorial Boss, Vows to Keep Snarky Voice (Chicago Business)
Aaron With, who’s credited with infusing Groupon’s daily deals with their distinctive and offbeat humor, left the company last month and was replaced by veteran John Thomas. Mr. Thomas, who was the editor of for nearly a decade, took over for Mr. With two weeks ago.

WePopp Adds Restaurant Booking Via OpenTable (TechCrunch)
WePopp, an iOS and Android app to help you plan events with friends, is extending its monetisation strategy today via a partnership with restaurant booking engine OpenTable. The new integration adds the ability to book a restaurant without leaving the app, whilst it also means the French startup is leaving less money on the table, too. It earns a commission for every table booked.

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