A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology…
Amazon in Talks to Launch Its Own Air-Cargo Business (Seattle Times)
Amazon is negotiating the lease of Boeing jets for its own air delivery service. The company wants to build out its own cargo operations to avoid delays from carriers like UPS, which have struggled to keep up with the rapid growth of ecommerce. “Amazon is pretty fed up with the third-party carriers being a bottleneck to their growth,” said analyst Colin Sebastian.
Google Has Lost Its Mind, Says Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman (Recode)
Google and Yelp were friends — for a while. Now the latter’s CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman, is on the warpath. “Google has just completely lost its mind when it comes to focusing on the user,” Stoppelman said. “They’re doing whatever it takes to preserve that monopoly, and it’s sad.”
ReachLocal Retrenches to Focus on Markets with ‘Potential for Positive, Sustainable Economics’ (Street Fight)
Local digital marketing firm ReachLocal has been engaged in a lengthy turnaround effort. It announced last week that it was exiting direct sales in the U.K. and focusing on markets with “potential for positive, sustainable economics,” indicating that it’s still focused on cutting things that aren’t working rather than regaining growth momentum.
Etsy Launches Trendy Local Maker Guides for U.S. Cities (The Next Web)
Etsy has launched online guides to Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia that will let users find local artisans and merchants in real life. Each city has a grid showing featured Etsy crafters’ stores, and you can use a map view to make your way to a shop that catches your eye.
Billboard Company Outfront Media Goes Even More Digital (Wall Street Journal)
Outdoor advertising company Outfront Media is looking to court digital ad dollars with a new platform that gives more robust analytics to marketers. “ON Smart Media,” unveiled last month, will provide data about the audiences that pass by its signs, whether static or digital, much like the analytics capabilities commonplace in web and mobile advertising.
An Old-Media Empire, Axel Springer Reboots for the Digital Age (New York Times)
Axel Springer chief Mathias Döpfner worried that the publisher was too hierarchical and risk-averse, leaving it vulnerable to challenges from American tech companies and rising digital media brands. So he opted for the corporate equivalent of electroshock therapy, sending Axel Springer senior managers to Palo Alto with orders to network with Silicon Valley execs and study the habits and mores of American startup culture.
Ad Blockers: One Big Distraction from the Real Issue (Street Fight)
Michael Boland: The grand prize for overrated topic of the year goes to mobile ad blockers. The backlash is disproportionate to real impact and has fueled the wrong conversation. Instead of fighting ad blockers — or fueling them, in the case of biased reports — the ad industry should ask itself how it got in this position to begin with.
Target in Initial Development of Own Mobile Wallet (Reuters)
Target is in the early stages of developing its own mobile wallet, joining Walmart in possibly posing a threat to Apple Pay. The retailer has not yet committed to launch the product, which would allow customers to pay for goods using an app. The wallet could arrive next year.
Bezos Takes Hands-On Role at Washington Post (Wall Street Journal)
In the years since Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, the Amazon founder has increasingly made his mark on how the paper is run. His focus on customer experience has become a near mandate within the news operation. Executives say Bezos has encouraged experimentation and building scale ahead of short-term financial gains — an approach that seems to mirror how he relentlessly built Amazon into an online retail giant. (Subscription required)
The Impending Unicorn Death March (VentureBeat)
Vineet Jain: By all indications, the unicorn era is at its terminus, and the biggest profiteers have already run off with the gold. The coming fallout will reveal the strong businesses for what they are and let the weak fall by the wayside.