A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology
How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil (New York Times)
Ever since it began selling ads 10 years ago, Facebook has been combating doubts about its value to marketers. Search engines like Google offer advertisers a direct link to people seeking out particular products, while television remains the dominant way to reach a mass audience. Now, Facebook claims, it can provide the best of both.
Mobile Local Apps: To Bundle or Not to Bundle? (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: Facebook last week made the contentious move to force its iPhone and Android app users to “fast switch” to the Messenger app for all future messaging. The outcome will be worth watching for anyone developing mobile apps. Local media players are increasingly faced with decisions about app functionality. That includes whether to unbundle features to specialized apps (think gas prices), or to federate within one.
Square Said to Be in Talks to Buy Food Delivery Start-Up Caviar (Bits/New York Times)
It’s not enough for Square to handle the way you pay for dinner. Soon, the company will have a hand in putting the food on your table. The e-commerce company is close to completing a deal to acquire Caviar, an on-demand food delivery start-up.
From Ad Biz to Hyperlocal: Duo Takes Flyer in Fayetteville, Profitably (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: Today’s digital community news publisher-editors are increasingly likely not to have had experience working for traditional journalism outlets. But that hasn’t prevented them from making their mark — even when they’re competing against platforms that have strong print resources. That’s the case for Todd Gill and Dustin Bartholomew, co-founders of the seven-year-old independent Fayetteville (Ark.) Flyer, which has achieved success in a market with a major print and digital daily newspaper.
OpenTable Takes Out Its Wallet for Restaurant Sales Analytics Startup Copilot (VentureBeat)
OpenTable, the company that built technology for making restaurant reservations online, has bought Copilot Labs, a startup with an app restaurants can use to track business relative to other restaurants. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Airbnb’s Official Funding Haul: $475 Million (Wall Street Journal)
A new funding round for accommodation-rental site Airbnb settled at $475 million, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing. Expect its ongoing battle with the powerful hotel industry and regulators to heat up in the coming months as Airbnb tries to transform into a full-fledged hospitality company for both leisure and corporate travel.
Boon or Bane, Yelp’s Impact Undeniable (San Francisco Chronicle)
No local sector has been more affected by the rise of Yelp than restaurants and bars, the site’s most-reviewed categories. Yet while Yelp has been the target of restaurateurs’ well-documented angst and anger, there’s no doubt the digital company has dramatically transformed the hospitality business.
Meet HelloWorld, An Easier Way To Share Your Location With Friends (TechCrunch)
The core idea of the app is a very simple way of answering “Where are you? What are you doing?” with text, maybe a picture, and your location. Posts stick around for 24 hours so your friends can see where you are and where you’ve been recently, then they disappear.
Boston Globe to Offer Voluntary Buyouts (Poynter)
“There’s no set number we’re trying to achieve. Most significantly, it’s not meant as a cost-cutting exercise in the newsroom. In fact, when all is said and done, I don’t expect staffing levels here to change much, if at all,” Globe Editor Brian McGrory wrote.
Gimmick or Useful? Lollapalooza’s Cashless Wristbands Enter Infancy (Mashable)
To help prevent people from losing their cash and to reduce the time it takes to buy drinks and food, Lollapalooza this year introduced Lolla Cashless, a program that allows attendees to pay for items at the festival by tapping their wristbands and typing a PIN number.