A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
The Restaurant OS (TechCrunch)
Restaurants are working hard to upgrade their tech options in order to increase diner satisfaction, acquisition, and retention, as well as optimize margins. There’s a lot of potential for dramatic growth for tech in this sector because of the many operational requirements to run a restaurant.
You Could Get Facebook Messenger Spam from Any Website You Visit (Business Insider)
One of the points of confusion with Facebook Messenger has been whether companies will be able to send chats to people that they haven’t previously had contact with. The answer: Brands can’t start chats out of the blue, but they can send sponsored posts — at least in Facebook’s initial tests. And users have started noticing.
Moving App Zootly Wants to Make Your Relocation On-Demand (Street Fight)
Launched in 2015, the on-demand app connects users with a professional mover in minutes. Whether it’s for a couch, a whole house, or even getting some big purchases home from a day of shopping, the idea is that you can get a van or a truck and some movers when and where the need arises.
Will Readers Pay for Local News? A Digital Startup in Tulsa Bets That They Will (Columbia Journalism Review)
About 500 subscribers over the course of eight months: If your reference point is Facebook-fueled pageviews, or even a typical newspaper’s print circulation, it might not sound like a lot. But for the leaders of The Frontier, an investigative journalism startup in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that number is a sign that people will spend real money on local news online.
6 Local Directories Every VSB Should Be On (Street Fight)
Consumers are increasingly going online to research local services and products, but for very small businesses (VSBs), this trend is becoming a problem. Fifty-nine percent of VSBs still don’t have websites, with owners often citing perceived cost and lack of technical expertise as reasons why they haven’t made their way online.
Alphabet’s Next Big Thing: Building a ‘Smart’ City (Wall Street Journal)
The division of Alphabet called Sidewalk Labs is putting the final touches on a proposal to develop new districts of housing, offices, and retail. The company would seek cities with large swaths of land they want redeveloped and partner with those cities to build up the districts, which are envisioned to hold tens of thousands of residents and employees and be heavily integrated with technology. (Subscription required)
Foursquare’s Prediction About Chipotle’s Sales Drop Is Right On the Money (The Next Web)
Foursquare predicted that Chipotle would wrap up Q1 with same-store sales down by roughly 30 percent year-over-year. Now, Chipotle has announced its earnings, and as it turns out, Foursquare’s guess was on target – the chain saw a 30 percent drop in sales, marking its first-ever quarterly loss in history.
Twitter CFO Hints That He’s Itching to Spend Company’s $3.5B on ‘Game-Changing’ Acquisitions (Business Insider)
Twitter’s plummeting stock price has led to chatter about it being a buyout target. But with $3.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet, Twitter views itself as a buyer of other tech companies. Of particular interest is ad-tech: “At the end of the day, our goal is to be a one-stop shop for advertising,” said CFO Anthony Noto.
Catch a Ride Without Uber? Book a Room Without Airbnb? That’s Fermat’s Vision (Forbes)
The sharing economy could become so peer-to-peer that drivers and riders or hosts and guests connect to each other directly through their smartphones and ditch those companies as middlemen. Or so goes the vision of Luis Fernando Molina, the founder of Fermat, a platform that enables “decentralized applications” to connect users directly without the need for an intermediary.