A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Angie’s List to Drop Paywall for a Freemium Model (TechCrunch)
While continuing to reject acquisition offers, Angie’s List is taking a big step to boost its online audience: It will drop membership fees in favor of a freemium model, making it cost nothing to browse listings and write reviews. The new pricing structure — which has yet to be revealed, but will include extra services to be charged beyond basic browsing — will be implemented this summer.
It’s Amazon Echo’s World; Alphabet’s Nest Just Lives in It (Recode)
Nest has announced new Amazon Echo and Amazon Fire TV integrations. While this is proof that Nest can tack on critical partners in an emerging market, it may be a silent signal of defeat. That’s because Nest, which Google bought for $3.2 billion two years ago, is vying to become the central hub for every smart thing in the home. But so is Amazon. The Atlantic: Amazon edges closer to fully automated retail.
LMC’s Coats Not Bullish on ‘Information Trust Exchange’ to Monetize Content (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: After mulling over the recent proposal to realign publishers’ relationships with advertisers and readers, I went to Rusty Coats, executive director of the Local Media Consortium, to see if he thought it was something legacy media companies would buy into.
When It Comes to Platforms, Agencies Have Snapchat On Their Minds (Digiday)
Among newer, dark-horse advertising platforms, it’s anyone’s guess as to what will take off next, but Snapchat has been mentioned by multiple agency executives as the platform they’re most bullish on. “Snapchat has done a good job of staying focused on the user behavior…and not pollute the platform with blatant advertising,” said Ogilvy president Adam Tucker. “Brands need to find a way to gently enter those conversations. I haven’t seen many examples of it.”
Street Culture: A Different Approach to Hiring and Firing (Street Fight)
The current shortage of tech talent means candidates who have high-demand skills like programming have their pick of employers. Startups are responding to that by creating ultra-transparent, collaborative workplaces.
Uber Is Hemorrhaging Money Abroad in Quest for World Domination (Vanity Fair)
Uber’s loss of money in Europe and China (the company could be losing as much as $1 billion annually in China alone), a result of strict regulations and cutthroat competition, isn’t cause for alarm. But it is part of the reason why prominent investors are calling on CEO Travis Kalanick to take Uber public and return money to its backers.
The Appy Trucker (The Economist)
Mention “logistics” and it may bring to mind shiny FedEx or UPS vans with their neatly uniformed drivers. But the business of moving cargo is far more fragmented and inefficient than the image of its best-known brands would suggest, making the industry ripe for disruption. Inevitably, a bunch of startups are now seeking to make the business cheaper, quicker, and more transparent.
Marketers Shift 2016 Budgets, and Attention, to Marketing Technology (eMarketer)
Marketing technology is getting greater attention from marketing professionals, but many in the industry are often uncertain about how to apply it to their business. According to December 2015 research from Rocket Fuel, two trends likely to see more activity in 2016 are programmatic buying and data management platforms.
LBMA Podcast: LiveNation’s LBM Platform, UPS Invests in Deliv (Street Fight)
On the show: Sodimac lets you sleep on the side of the highway; Yahoo Japan partners with IndoorAtlas; ASDA and Clear Channel UK; xAD launches MarketPlace; PlaceIQ and LiveRamp work together for TV ads; Geofeedia and Dell partner.