A Day in the Life of a Salesperson on the Front Lines of the Group-Buying Frenzy

Groupon and LivingSocial have ballooned into major corporations over the past year, hiring thousands of local salespeople who try to convince local merchants into participating in the latest fad: group buying. While other sales positions have been hit hard by the recession, it turns out not every one is losing out. The daily deal phenomenon is creating thousands of new sales opportunities–and the hunt is on for trained workers with the contacts and experience.

VeriFone Claims Victory Now That Square Is Adding Encryption to Its Card Readers

A day after Square announced it had received an investment from Visa, it said it would be adding an additional level of encryption into its card reader that plugs into smartphones. But, it insisted, the decision had nothing to do with the accusations of security flaws that VeriFone raised last month.

Casual Game Maker PopCap Buys Social Games Studio ZipZapPlay

Looking to expand beyond casual game titles such as Bejeweled, PopCap Games has acquired ZipZapPlay, a social games company based in San Francisco.

PayPal Acquisition Hints at Company's Approach to the Mobile Wallet

EBay-owned PayPal said in February it will conduct several pilot programs over the next year to enable consumers to use their PayPal accounts–at the register. Today, it announced an acquisition that may help them get there.

News Byte

Expedia's First-Quarter Profits Sink Despite Strong Hotel Bookings

Expedia reported mixed first-quarter earnings today, following the announcement earlier this month that the online travel agency was going to spin-off TripAdvisor, its fastest growing division. In the first quarter, profits sank 12 percent to $52 million, or 19 cents a share, on revenues of $822 million, which increased 15 percent compared to the year-ago period. The Bellevue, Wash.-based company said higher revenues were attributable to a jump in hotel room bookings and strong growth from its advertising and media business, including TripAdvisor. The company’s stock is down 78 cents, or 3.2 percent in after-hours trading.

News Byte

Angie's List Reviewing Options, Including an IPO

Angie‚Äôs List is considering filing for an IPO as early as this year, CEO Bill Oesterle told Bloomberg. Indianapolis-based Angie’s List, which provides consumer reviews to 1.5 million members, has hired advisors to investigate its options, which could also include a sale. The site charges members between $40 and $70 a year to belong. In preparation for the company’s next stage, it has appointed Keith Krach as chairman and Robert Millard as CFO. Oesterle said revenues jumped 40 percent in 2010 and the company expects to end the year with 1.8 million members. Last month, it reportedly raised more than $50 million.

Gilt Groupe Competitor Ideeli Raises $40 Million in Capital

I hope all those trendy runway outfits have deep pockets. New York-based Ideeli, which operates a members-only flash sales site aimed at the affluent, has raised a hefty $41 million in a third round of capital.

Dear Amazon Shareholders: We Want to Rule the World! Love, Jeff Bezos.

Investors pushed Amazon’s stock price to a record high today, with shares trading near $200 a share before closing at $196.63. The stock pushed higher despite yesterday’s mixed financial results, which included a huge plunge in profits. In fact, the rebound likely had a lot to do with a letter that the company’s visionary founder and CEO Jeff Bezos also sent to shareholders.

EBay's Revenues Jump 16 Percent in Q1 With PayPal's Help

Fueled by its PayPal division, eBay reported first-quarter results today that exceeded expectations. Revenues jumped 16 percent to $2.5 billion, compared to the same period a year ago, and profits soared by 20 percent to total $475.9 million, or 36 cents a share.

Visa Invests in Mobile Payment Company Square

Square, the San Francisco-based mobile payments startup that was targeted over security concerns, just got a big boost from Visa.