Street Fight Daily: Lyft Raises $530M, Google’s New Stores

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

Lyft Has Raised $530 Million In Series E Funding Led By Rakuten, Is Now Valued At $2.5 Billion (TechCrunch)
Ride-hailing startup Lyft has closed $530 million in new funding led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten. The new financing, which is slated to be announced today, brings total cash raised to more than $850 million since being founded and values the company at $2.5 billion.

ReachLocal CEO: Digital Ad Industry Has a ‘Very Poor Reputation’ Among Small Businesses (Street Fight)
In an interview, ReachLocal CEO Sharon Rowlands talks about why she thinks ReachLocal is not the only company in the small business marketing industry with brand problem; how to fix the sales culture in local; and the need to move beyond the land-grab mentality of the last few years.

Local “Google Shops” Present New SMB-AdWords Opportunity (Local Search Insider)
In London, Google has launched what its calling “The Google Shop,” which will sell the company’s range of Android phones and tablets, Chromebook laptops, and Chromecast TV services. But Google Shops could become a customer service and tutorial center for local business owners around Google ad products and services.

Sponsored Content: The Long Tail of Call Analytics (Street Fight)
The old problem of not knowing which of your marketing dollars are working and which aren’t has mostly become a thing of the past — but knowing which of your marketing dollars are turning which media consumers into paying customers of which items is the final bridge to cross.

Square Buys Payment Hardware Maker Kili Technology (ZDNet)
Square has announced the acquisition of Toronto-based Kili Technology, a maker of software and electronics used for payments processing. The modules operate with NFC for two-way communication — a payment method that Square has yet to support.

How a Vermont Site Bested 2 Dailies and Weekly — 2 Years After Launch
(Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: The newest competitor in Northeast Vermont is the pure-play independent Newport Dispatch, which, in less than two years, has captured the biggest digital audience in Orleans. According to founder Bryan Marovich, it’s is “paying the bills.”

It’s Happened: Mobile Overtakes PCs for Local Information Lookups (Screenwerk)
New research shows that mobile devices (mostly smartphones) are now used more often for local search and to find local information than PCs. Six of ten US adults now typically choose smartphones or tablets over PCs to find information before buying products and services offline.

Sad Foursquare 🙁 (Pando)
The company spent its early years being hailed as one of the most promising companies of its generation. But today, Foursquare is an afterthought for many of even the most ardent of one-time users – not to mention irrelevant to the next generation of digital natives – and the location crown has been shelved for the time being.

Yelp CFO: We Will Win Despite Google Roadblocks (Skift)
Yelp, which plans to double its online and offline marketing spend to $20 million in 2015, will “win” in the long run despite Google’s “roadblocks,” according to Yelp CFO Rob Krolik. “Consumers are fighting through their [Google’s] content to get to ours.”

Yahoo “Forgets” It Has A Review API With Yelp (Blumenthals)
It appears that Yahoo seems to have forgotten that they have the Yelp review API or update it so infrequently that it is effectively useless. The reviews Yahoo is showing for many businesses are often 3 to 11 months out of date.

Uber, Lyft Rebuffed In Bids To Deem Drivers Independent Contractors (Fortune)
Ride hailing apps Uber and Lyft failed to persuade separate U.S. judges on Wednesday to rule that their drivers are independent contractors instead of employees, in cases that have wide implications for Silicon Valley “sharing economy” firms.

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