A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Airbnb Plans to Offer Add-On Travel Services This Year (Bloomberg)
Airbnb has been testing add-on services, including meals prepared by personal chefs, restaurant reservations, and gallery tours. Customers will be able to book the services when they reserve a room or home rental.
GoButler Pivots to Fully Automated Service, Starting with Flight Search and Discovery (TechCrunch)
GoButler is replacing the human-powered and open-ended feature of its messaging-based virtual assistant with a “fully automated service.” This will initially target flight search and discovery and will expand to other verticals. “We know conversational commerce will change the way people interact with businesses in the future, and our data has proven that the most efficient, fastest product will exist through total automation,” the company said in a statement.
Can LifePosts’ Digital Obits Provide Clues for Sustainable Local Publishing? (Street Fight)
Tom Grubisich: LifePosts’ digital obits are offering a way to commemorate people and pets in a dedicated place outside of social media. The idea has drawn support from Twitter ex-CEO Dick Costolo, among others.
How Google Changes Are Affecting Publishers and SEOs (Search Engine Land)
Kristine Schachinger: It seems that Google has become less and less transparent with publishers over the last couple years — and frankly, it has me a bit uneasy. In light of the company’s recent actions, I think we need to consider the possibility that they’ve begun to care much less about communicating website guidelines to SEOs and publishers.
Street Culture: Multi-Location Brands Connect Employees With Beekeeper (Street Fight)
Beekeeper is like Slack but for companies with employees who are on the move, waiting tables and parking cars. The mobile-based communications platform is growing quickly and meeting a current need in the marketplace.
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs Wants to Tell Cities What to Do (Forbes)
We have smartphones and smart cars — why not smart cities? The Department of Transportation has announced a partnership with Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to encourage just that. Sidewalk plans to build a data analytics platform called Flow that will integrate with sensors and information from a variety of sources: traffic, parking, public transportation, and more.
How Social Media Influences Shopping Behavior (eMarketer)
Digital buyers worldwide are turning to social networks for a variety of things. According to September 2015 research, nearly half of survey respondents said that reading reviews, comments, and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behavior, and 44 percent of respondents said that receiving promotional offerings also influenced their behavior.
Why Silicon Valley’s ‘Unicorn Problem’ Will Solve Itself (TechCrunch)
Mike Trigg: The implicit assumption behind every citation of various unicorn lists is that the phenomenon is a ticking time bomb, that the number of unicorns with high valuations is a sure sign of a bubble. But while Wall Street may lump all unicorns together as “tech,” those companies represent micro-segments with dramatically different market dynamics. It’s not one bubble, but multiple micro-bubbles — many of which are experiencing significant corrections.