MapQuest Aims For Reboot With New Content, Partners, UI

mapquest-featured A few years ago, while others were investing in their mapping platforms, AOL was coasting with MapQuest. AOL's sustained neglect of the online mapping pioneer cost the site its leadership in digital maps. Now, the company hopes to claw its way back with new content and functionality in what was described to me as phase one of a new multiphase rollout. Call it a reboot. Although the site has had several false starts in trying to do that over the past couple of years (e.g., MQVibe). Despite this, MapQuest's strong brand has kept the AOL division from falling off -- dare I say it -- the map [...]


MapQuest Transfers Local Listings Management To Yext

mapquest-featured Last October, MapQuest started outsourcing local business listings management to Yext. The "claim your MapQuest listings" page is hosted by Yext (I believe) with a co-branded look and feel. Yesterday, MapQuest notified business users that its local business center and basic local listings product would be formally shutting down. Here's the text of the email that went out: We wanted to inform you that the basic version of the MapQuest Local Business Center (LBC) is shutting down. As of January 31, 2014, you will no longer be able to access your listings account within the basic version o [...]


MapQuest Aims For Revival With New Mobile App

Mapquest logo Once the leader and innovator in online mapping, MapQuest has fallen pretty far from that perch. While the brand survives and the site is still widely used, it has for several years been overshadowed by rivals including Google and more recently Apple. According to recent comScore data MapQuest's mobile apps aren't in the top 15, although AOL is a top 10 mobile web property. MapQuest parent AOL has shown itself to be ambivalent about the site, having made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to sell it in the past. There have also been attempts to reinvigorate MapQuest from time to time. I [...]


Google Gets Lowest Score Ever In Customer Satisfaction Survey

google-angry-frustrated-insanity-featured There's a mystery surrounding the latest customer satisfaction numbers released by ForeSee Results (for the American Customer Satisfaction Index [ACSI]). Published late last night, they indicate the lowest levels of consumer satisfaction with search engines (and portals) since 2003. The satisfaction scores for social sites are worse. According to the survey, which ranks sites on a 100 point scale, Google received its worst score (77) since the inception of the survey more than a decade ago. Google's score last year was 82. This year Bing and Yahoo both received scores of 76, which are lo [...]


Search Engines Keep The Lights Out On Fireworks Ads, Mostly

fireworks-stand-featured Happy 4th of July! It's fireworks season here in the US, a time when online searches for "fireworks" skyrocket. Yet, ads for explosives and pyrotechnic devices like "firecrackers," "bottle rockets," and "fireworks" are not allowed per the advertising policies of Google and Bing -- and their respective search partners like AOL, Ask, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Sam Engle at BrandVerity took a look at how well the search engines are doing at enforcing their own rules during this peak season for festive explosives. Engle found a few ads that managed to get through. One ad for an Indiana-base [...]


Market Share: Bing Continues Gains, Yahoo “Stabilized,” Google Flat

google-bing-yahoo-logos Financial analysts are releasing May comScore search market share data to their clients, which means we're getting an early look at what the metrics firm will be generally exposing in the next 24 hours. Here are the numbers -- comparing April and May of 2013 as well as May 2012: Google: 66.7 percent (May) vs. 66.5 percent (April) vs. 66.7 percent (May 2012) Bing: 17.4 percent (May) vs. 17.3 percent (April) vs. 15.4 percent (May 2012) Yahoo: 11.9 percent (May) vs. 12 percent (April) vs. 13.4 percent (May 2012) Ask: Google: 2.7 percent (May) vs. 2.7 percent (April) vs. 3 percent ( [...]


September Search Share: Yahoo Continues Downward Slide

Screen Shot 2012-10-10 at 7.22.47 PM We're getting the usual sneak peek at comScore data from financial analysts ahead of the official release tomorrow. In terms of the market-share horse race, Google gained ground vs. last month. Bing was flat; AOL and especially Ask gained as well. Sadly, Yahoo experienced another month of decline -- to its lowest market share in memory. And now, behold the September comScore numbers: Google: 66.7 percent (66.4 percent in August) Bing: 15.9 percent (15.9 percent in August) Yahoo: 12.2 percent (12.8 percent in August) Ask: 3.5 percent (3.2 percent in August) AOL: 1.8 percent (1.7 [...]


Amazon Buys UpNext, Will We Soon See Kindle Maps?

Amazon has done a really interesting thing: it just bought mapping app UpNext. UpNext is a 3D mapping company that started on the PC in 2007 and more recently shifted its focus substantially to smartphones and the iPad. While UpNext has not received the same attention as other mapping startups the company has slowly built coverage and depth over the past five years. When the site originally launched it aspired to be a kind of "3D Yelp." There's a lot of room for speculation about what this means for Amazon and its future mobile plans. GigaOM, which first reported the acquisition, says th [...]


AOL In 2011: Charlie Sheen #Winning Over Other Celebrities

AOL announced its most popular global searches (United States, United Kingdom and Canada) in 2011 at http://hot.aol.com. While other search engines have ranked Justin Bieber and Kim K at the top for the year, Charlie Sheen proved he won the hearts of AOL users by climbing to the top of their most searched for celebrity list. Most notable about the AOL hot searches feature this year is the ability to view the UK and Canadian top searches independently, by clicking each country flag to view the differences in search behavior among all three countries. As AOL has over 60 million montly [...]


Mapquest Debuts New Local-Social Mapping Site “MQ Vibe”

Screen shot 2011-10-13 at 2.21.50 AM People have been speculating about it for weeks and now it's live: MapQuest Vibe. With the launch of the new neighborhood-discovery site MapQuest is striking out in a promising direction. It's not a new social network, as some speculated, but it incorporates social input into a larger algorithmic-based framework that generates a score for nearly every neighborhood in the US, as well as local places. MQ Vibe is launching with 50,000 neighborhoods to start. The idea is certainly compelling: to rank various neighborhoods and local businesses as a way to help residents and tourists (and mayb [...]


Report: AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo To Team For Display Ads

In an apparent response to Google's rising prominence in the display advertising market, the rest of the major players -- Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL -- are reportedly teaming up to sell ads on one another's sites. The report in the Wall Street Journal's All Things D says the pact was explained to a group of ad buyers and Web publishers at a dinner last night in Manhattan. The agreement is also aimed at reducing the amount of inventory that's going to ad networks, where pricing is lower than the companies think they can charge themselves. Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL are also hoping to get other [...]


AOL Q2 Earnings: Display Up, Search Down

AOL released its second quarter earnings this morning. Many financial analysts had a modestly positive reaction to AOL's display ad growth, though overall revenues were were off 8 percent: $542.2 million (vs. $592.2 million a year ago). Display revenues were up 14 percent overall, 16 percent in the US. However search and contextual ad revenues were down 21 percent. No one is very upset about the decline in search revenues given that analysts don't expect much from AOL in this category anymore. AOL's search market share has been declining over time and so it comes as little surprise [...]


MapQuest Launches Local Business Listings Center

Local SEOs have another tool to add to the "citation belt," as it were: MapQuest has announced its own Local Business Center, a place where local businesses can add and/or manage their listing(s) on MapQuest. As the video below shows, the MapQuest LBC functions very much like Google's and Bing's and offers many of the same basic features such as photo uploads, videos, categories and so forth. MapQuest is also offering two premium listing levels at $99 and $399 per year -- the latter of which includes distribution of business information to other sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local, SuperPages and [...]


Google’s 2011 Mother’s Day Logo & More Logos

Today is Mother's Day in the United States and many many other countries and for the special day, Google and the other search engines have special logos and themes up. The logos and themes are to honor our Mothers for all they have done for us. Below is a listing of the logos from Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com and other search engines that have special logos up for Mother's Day. More Fun Google Logos: Google’s Royal Wedding Logo Your Guide To The Royal Wedding 2011, Social Media Style What Time Is The Royal Wedding? Google Tells You With Special [...]


Google’s Interactive Earth Day Logo

Today on Google's home page is a special interactive Google logo for Earth Day. Earth Day this year falls out on Good Friday and for the special day, Google made a fun, animated and interactive Google logo. Ironically, it seems as if you have Pandas playing (see the Google Panda update), the logo also has birds flying, fish swimming, lions sleeping, penguins sledding and much more. Here is a video me interacting with the Google logo. Google was not the only search company celebrating Earth Day with a special logo, so is Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, AOL and others. Here they are: [...]


Mapquest Takes On Google Navigation With Free Android App

Following the success of its iPhone app, Mapquest has released a free, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation app for Android handsets. The new app differs in a couple ways from its older iPhone sibling. Most significantly it takes advantage of Android's speech capabilities and includes OpenStreetMap data, which allows the app to be used outside the US and results in some enhanced local mapping within the US. I've had a chance to use the app for the past 24 hours and can report that it generally works well, although there are a few areas and features that are rough around the edges. Mapquest' [...]


Mapquest Introduces Transit, Walking Directions

Mapquest has introduced public transit and walking directions. It has had walking directions on mobile for awhile. The transit directions are limited right now to rail (including subway) and in only a few cities: Rail Transit Directions are now available in six major metro areas (NYC, Chicago, D.C., San Fran, Boston and Philly) all of which have large subway, elevated and/or commuter rail networks. Rail transit is integrated with walking directions, allowing travelers in these cities to route between towns, addresses, points of interest, or specific transit stations. Google has had [...]


Report: AOL Abandons Yahoo Merger As Yahoo Cuts Headcount

The would be AOL-Yahoo merger is apparently off, according to Crain's New York Business. The site is reporting that "AOL tried to either get enough backing to make a run at Yahoo, or get Yahoo interested in buying it . . . Yahoo didn't bite, and AOL didn't have its ducks lined up to be a buyer." Yahoo reportedly didn't receive any formal offer or proposal, however, so it's hard to know how serious any of this is or was. The article goes on to document some of AOL's ongoing challenges in the market, though it has had some successes under new CEO Tim Armstrong. Meanwhile the Wall Street Jo [...]


Judge Grants Google’s & AOL’s Motion To Dismiss Paul Allen Lawsuit

A district court judge in Seattle has granted motions filed by Google and AOL to dismiss a Paul Allen patent infringement lawsuit against those two companies (and others). Judge Marsha Pechman agreed with both Google and AOL, who said that Allen's lawsuit was too vague. Allen's patent infringement complaint "failed to identify the infringing products or devices with any specificity," Pechman wrote in her ruling. You can read the full decision on Groklaw. Allen has until December 28th to refile the case. He first filed the lawsuit in late August, accusing 11 companies -- including Goo [...]


AOL Scheming To Sell Itself To Yahoo?

This morning brings another report of AOL M&A machinations involving ways to merge with or be acquired by Yahoo, now that both sites have very similar missions and strategies. They're in a way like the Ford and Chevy of the internet these days: workmanlike but not very glamorous. Maybe that's unfair to Ford. Both Yahoo and AOL are focused primarily on display advertising with content creation driving page views. There's a lot of similarity and a lot of overlap. Reuters is saying that AOL is exploring how the company might break itself up, through a "complicated series of transactions [...]


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