A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Facebook Plans to Open Messenger to Publishers (Marketing Land)
Mobile messaging apps are usurping social networks as the shiny new platform for content distribution, and Facebook will soon let publishers reach individual consumers with its Messenger service. The company plans to announce the move with a number of participating publishers in April at its annual developer conference.
Groupon CEO: ‘We Win If Local Businesses Win’ (Silicon Republic)
As Groupon’s CEO, Rich Williams has been fighting a war on two fronts: ensuring Groupon stays relevant for consumers and businesses alike through a marketplace strategy, and restructuring the company to be more effective and lean. “We have millions of units being booked through reservations systems, yet more and more people are looking to us for discovery,” he said. Here’s how he plans to navigate these challenges.
Swipely Rebrands as Upserve, Launches Mobile App and New Tools for Restaurants (Street Fight)
The company announced this morning that it’s changing its name to Upserve, and is expanding its suite of products aimed at helping restaurateurs optimize their sales and service and manage their business on the fly.
Europe’s Antitrust Enforcer on Google, Apple, and the Year Ahead (New York Times)
Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, is expected to move ahead in the coming months in the antitrust case she filed against Google, in which she has accused the company of favoring some of its own services in search results over those of rivals. Here, a conversation with Vestager on her priorities for the year, the issues underpinning her investigations, and whether she unfairly targets American companies.
The Physical World Is Eating the Web (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: Most beacon scenarios require users to jump through a set of compatibility hoops. But Google has been quietly working on an antidote: the physical web. To sidestep some of the opt-in friction, it positions the browser as the beacon interface and transmits beacon content using URLs.
Amazon Chooses San Diego for Second Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore (GeekWire)
Just four months after opening its first physical bookstore in Seattle, Amazon is poised to open a second location in San Diego. Speculation rose last month that Amazon’s physical retail presence would grow even bigger when the CEO of a large mall operator said that the online retailer had plans to open as many as 400 new stores.
What the C-Suite Needs to Think About When It Comes to Delivering On-Demand (Street Fight)
Raanan Cohen: More than 2 billion local deliveries are made annually in the U.S. Every company that wants to remain competitive in this space must be able to offer an on-demand experience to their customers. Most don’t realize what a pivotal piece of technology this is for an organization. It needs to meet key requirements from almost every stakeholder in your business — from the C-suite of executives down to drivers and customers.
IAB Creates Guide for Publishers to Combat Ad Blocking (AdAge)
In an effort to thwart the ever-increasing use of ad blocking software, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s tech lab has released a guide for publishers groping to respond. Among the six potential tactics described: paying ad blocking companies to whitelist a site, revenue sharing with readers, and “ad reinsertion,” a method where publishers shoehorn advertisements onto their websites even when visitors show up running blockers.
Postmates Has Hired Qatalyst, the Silicon Valley Bank That Helps Companies Get Sold (Recode)
Postmates, a startup best known for food delivery, has hired the investment bank Qatalyst Partners to advise it on fundraising efforts or a possible sale. Qatalyst has approached several larger companies to gauge their interest in Postmates.
Google Experimenting with Local Business Cards in Search Results (Search Engine Land)
Google is experimenting with a new card carousel test that features content from local businesses near the top of search results. The feature could be quite significant for local SEO, but Google has apparently made no decisions about whether it will roll this out more broadly, or whether larger enterprises (i.e., national-local businesses or franchises) would be able to participate.
Mobile and Digital Rewards Programs Are Most Used In-Store Technologies (eMarketer)
Retailers are increasingly using in-store digital technologies to enhance the customer experience and ultimately drive purchases of products. Mobile and digital rewards programs are now two of the most used in-store technologies. QR codes, messaging, and web-connected store systems — such as sales registers pulling customer data — are also relatively popular. Beacons, which marketers continue to tout, are not as heavily used.
The Broken World of Mobile Payments and How to Fix It (TechCrunch)
John Rampton: Why aren’t more people enjoying the convenience and ease of mobile payments? There are always numerous reasons for varying behaviors in technology. In the world of mobile payments tech, security concerns are keeping new users away, the lack of a global standard is problematic, and mobile tech in general remains fragmented. But whatever the hurdles, it seems that our mobile payment options are only going to increase.