January 8, 2019

Performance-based company eLocal announced two acquisitions on Friday — Felix and CityGrid — from InterActiveCorp.Felix supports a pay-per-action model focused on phone calls. CityGrid provides a local content and advertising network to help brands manage their presence and promote business across hundreds of local review sites, search engines, and directories. (MediaPost)



Small businesses are in for a perfect storm in 2019, which could push scores of them off the cliff, writes Panos Mourdoukoutas.The first part of this storm is payroll — and the second part of the storm is the loss of free money. (Forbes)



Virtual assistants have hit a wall, writes David Pierce — and it’ll be years before they reach full potential.Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant desperately want to help you do your routine—but it takes too much programming and there are still too many holes (Wall Street Journal)



Cruise is partnering with DoorDash to pilot food and grocery delivery in San Francisco using self-driving vehicles. The testing program will begin in early 2019 with an initial focus on the San Francisco market. (TechCrunch)



SMB messagingis “a lightweight way for Google to extend Reserve into more complex, longer-tail industries, and it makes automated conversations initiated by robots a little less morally offensive (and potentially useful for parties on both sides of the conversation),” writes David Mihm. (Street Fight)



Facebook’s Click-to-WhatsApp ads offers marketers and advertisers a way to start a conversation with consumers on its encrypted messaging app.Now, in addition to messages, Click-to-WhatsApp ad campaign objectives include traffic, conversions (for website), and post engagement. (MarketingLand)



Smart speakers and other smart home technology are all the rage. But what type of smart devices do consumers really own? And aside from asking Alexa to tell jokes — which is the number one request in my household — how are consumers using this technology? (SmartBrief)