Yelp For Sale; Bots Getting Smarter

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Local Behemoth On The Block

Yelp is exploring a sale, according to The Wall Street Journal’s sources. Needham & Co. analyst Kerry Rice tells Bloomberg possible buyers include Google, Yahoo, Facebook or travel firms like Priceline and TripAdvisor. “They’ve done a great job building out local advertising and weaving together the small and medium business market, which is a really hard market to be successful in,” Rice said. “I think it’s going to have to be a hefty premium considering how high their stock price has been.” With a $3.3 billion market cap, that means Yelp could go for as much as $3.5 billion. More.

Grilling Bots

Speaking to Beet.TV, DoubleVerify CEO Wayne Gattinella describes how bots are getting more sophisticated. “Bots do things that make them look human. In the spring, they golf, they grill, they garden, they visit sites that make them appear like a consumer,” he said. The clear challenge is identifying fraudsters during their brief 48- to 72-hour life cycles, even though by the time many hit the sales funnel, “they have all the characteristics of a very high-value, potentially responsive consumer.”

The Smallest Screen

The Apple Watch has been on the market for a couple of weeks – so now it’s time to start measuring. Yahoo, Localytics and Fiksu all released Apple Watch analytics this week to track user behavior on what Brad Jones, director of product management for Flurry analytics at Yahoo, called “the smallest screen.” Yahoo’s offering will include info on new and active users, daily events, user behavior and engagement. The diminutive screen size and consumer expectation around quick, seamless experiences means that “developers will be testing heavily and data is essential to understanding what works,” Jones told AdExchanger. There are more than 3,000 apps available on the Apple Watch thus far. Jones declined to share how many of those are in the Flurry community. 9to5Mac has more.

TV’s Dating Game

At the National Cable Telecommunications Association’s annual show, a panel of CEOs from firms Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Liberty Global touched on M&A buzz in the sector. Facing pressure from digital companies creeping onto their turf, from Wi-Fi networks to OTT entertainment, many of the “mid-tier” players are pushing to consolidate. “I’m not sure if I got asked out on a date or to get married,” responded Time Warner CEO Rob Marcus to Cablevision CEO James Dolan’s overtures. “I feel like I’m on Match.com,” said Cox Communications President Pat Esser. “I feel like we’re all trying to update our relationship status right now.” Read the full WSJ article.

Facebook Goes Deeper

Developers are now able to create deep links for their mobile app install ads on Facebook. The move is an extension of Facebook’s existing support for mobile app re-engagement ads. The functionality seems fairly run of the mill. When users tap on a mobile app install ad, developers will be able to direct them to specific places in their apps – a product page, for example – rather than the home page. “Removing extra steps between clicking the ad and getting to [an] offer provides a more seamless customer experience,” wrote Facebook engineering manager John Ketchpaw on the company’s developer blog. Pair with AdExchanger’s previous dive into deep linking.

Brick-And-Mortar Fights Back

Two of America’s most venerated retailers, the 114-year-old Nordstrom and 157-year-old Macy’s, are seen as benchmarks in retail’s shift to digital. Digiday reporter Hilary Milnes compares the efforts of both brands and highlights how department stores are competing against online powerhouses like Amazon. Initiatives like shoppable Instagram accounts and the adoption of point-of-sale bells and whistles, like Apple Pay and in-app transactions, drive more returns than “sexier” social media initiatives.

Video Spotting

Spotify is gearing up to launch a video streaming service. Business Insider first reported the rumor in March, and anonymous sources confirmed the news to the Financial Times on Thursday. Spotify hosts 60 million subscribers, only 15 million of whom pay to avoid ads. Affording to FT, Spotify’s video-streaming service will look less like a Hulu or Netflix model, and will instead support the firm’s music services. The competition goes both ways, apparently, as Apple keeps its head down on a long-rumored audio platform expected to surface in June.

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