Street Fight Daily: Baidu Bets on Local, Court Says Yelp Doesn’t Extort

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

baidu_200x200Baidu Boosts Location-based Platform With New Services, $10M Investment (Reuters)
Baidu has launched a service that helps retailers advertise on the smartphones of nearby users as China’s dominant search engine company expands its location-based technology to drive growth. The company also said it had recently bought a $10 million minority stake in IndoorAtlas, a company that offers indoor navigation.

As IPOs Near, Tech Takes Another Crack at Small Business (Street Fight)
Steven Jacobs: A handful of upcoming IPOs will add fuel to an already-competitive small business marketing and technology industry. But the fundamental question is how these companies slow an already rapid rate of commoditization, and “build a moat” around their businesses to hold back the next wave of startups looking to grab market share in their wake.

Yelp Escapes Extortion Lawsuit Unscathed, Except For Its Reputation (Engadget)
An appeals court has upheld a California judge’s dismissal of a 2010 class action lawsuit that claimed Yelp was committing civil extortion. The recommendation service cites the ruling as proof that the shops simply had an “axe to grind” and were either trying to “draw attention away” from bad reviews or else prop up review manipulation schemes.

YP Hooks Up With Goodzer to Add Product Data to Search (Street Fight)
YP has announced a new partnership with Goodzer that will populate the company’s local search product with inventory and pricing information from the startup. It’s the latest in a series of moves by the yellow pages carve-out to rejuvenate its local search product and draw users away from Yelp and Google, as pressure continues to mount on the listings model.

SMB Ad Spend To Top $50B In ’15 (NetNewsCheck)
BIA/Kelsey is predicting that small- to medium-sized businesses will increase their local ad spend to $50.4 billion in 2015, or 35.8% of total local media spending. SMB spending now falls only slightly behind local ad spending by national brands, which BIA/Kelsey projects will be $50.5 billion, or 35.9% of all local ad spending in 2015.

Airbnb Under Fire for ‘Secret’ Plan to Release Users’ information (New York Post)
Twenty-one anonymous New Yorkers are suing Airbnb to block the lodging website from releasing their personal information to the state’s attorney general for his probe of illegal hotels. They claim that the startup would violate their privacy rights if it handed over their names, email addresses, telephone numbers, social media accounts and tax identification numbers to AG Eric Schneiderman.

The Truth About What It’s Like Working For Uber (LinkedIn)
Melanie Curtin: After being ‘out’ for about nine months, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my time there. One thing: everyone looks like they’re doing fine, but they’re really working 80-100 weeks and even then, constantly feel like they’re behind. Working for Uber is a sprint, with marathon hours.

How Big Data Reveals The Secret Life Of Cities (ReadWrite)
StreetLight uses data from cell towers, traffic-data aggregators and GPS satellites to track people’s movement patterns in cities and states across the country. Initially, the company’s founder thought the information might help traffic engineers plan new highways and parking. But the data her system aggregates turns out to be useful for much, much more.

Weather Restructures Ad Sales to Unify Cable and Digital (AdAge)
Over the past two years, Weather has been revamping its sales strategy to be able to sell ad inventory based on weather and location data through its WeatherFX tool. The company has been able to identify correlations such as a link between three below-average temperature days in Chicago and an increase in beer sales soon after.

The Negotiating Table (New Yorker)
The world of apps promises something like a frictionless existence—eliminating all the moments of pause, of tension, of quotidian vulgarities like handling money. The Isareli-based MyCheck allows people to split and pay a bill on their phones, sans wallet.

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