A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Ecommerce App Wish Has ‘Hundreds of Millions of Users’ (Plus Other Stats About the Company) (TechCrunch)
Press-shy Wish CEO Peter Szulczewski is finally opening up about his company, and there’s a lot to talk about. Wish now has “hundreds of millions of users,” he said, and it has seen “single-digit billions of dollars” in gross merchandise volume. Szulczewski also seemed to confirm rumors that the company has seen interest (if not concrete acquisition offers) from Alibaba and Amazon.
Will ApplePay Be the Company’s Next Mega-Business? (Street Fight)
Ronnie Somerville: It’s a universally acknowledged truth that Apple is in need of a really big new product to keep growing. I think the company has ample opportunity to turn the payments industry on its head and make ApplePay that next product.
LinkedIn Debuts New Targeting Feature for Marketers (AdAge)
Nearly three weeks after shutting down its ad network, LinkedIn has introduced a B2B service letting marketers run targeted campaigns on a large scale. Advertisers using the service are able to present a list of companies they’d like to reach, which LinkedIn cross-references against the 8 million businesses in its network.
As Ad Blockers Proliferate, IAB’s Rothenberg Tells Local Publishers to Stick to Their Guns (Street Fight)
“Ad blocking represents the new normal in the media industry,” said IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg yesterday at Borrell’s local online advertising conference in NYC, and if present trends continue, ad blocking could soon “surpass 50 percent on most sites.”
SoundHound’s Virtual Assistant Launches Out of Beta (VentureBeat)
Although SoundHound’s signature app has been focused on music search for the past decade, that’s all about to change with the emergence of Hound, a natural language virtual assistant built off of the company’s proprietary platform. In other words, SoundHound is now taking on Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Restaurateurs Claim Seamless Is Taking a Crazy Amount of Money for Search Placement (Eater)
GrubHub/Seamless is raking in big cash from restaurants for better search placement, with some paying more than 30 percent commission on orders for upgrades, according to a new report. It’s no secret that restaurants end up paying a lot of money to be on the site, and frustrated restaurateurs are detailing how the company’s system is unfriendly to them.
Augmented Reality Search Engine Raises $54 Million (TechCrunch)
Blippar, a company that lets you see extra, rich content by pointing your phone at an object, has announced the close of a $54 million Series D funding round. Blippar launched in 2012 to bring AR to everyday objects on behalf of brands, advertisers, and publishers, serving added content to consumers by letting them scan those objects.
Our Economy Is Obsessed with Efficiency and Terrible at Everything Else (Harvard Business Review)
Umair Haque: Perhaps our noble pursuit of efficiency is becoming something more like a frenzied — and self-destructive — obsession. The latest rage in tech is apps that call on-demand dogwalkers, personal assistants, concierges, butlers. Are these really the game-changing innovations they’re heralded to be, or are they something more like the rumblings of a new feudal age? Should we desire such an economy — not for moral reasons, but for the sake of prosperity?