After Sting Operation, Yelp Outs 8 Businesses That It Caught Trying To Buy Reviews

yelp-logo-featured Yelp is now showing "Consumer Alert" warning messages on the profile pages of eight businesses that it says it caught in a sting operation trying to buy reviews. As the New York Times reports, Yelp conducted a sting operation in which one of its employees pretended to be an "Elite" reviewer and responded to review solicitations on Craigslist. As the article explains: A pest control company offered $5 to anyone who would post a review that the business itself had written. The moving company was willing to pay $50 but wanted original copy. An appliance repair shop provided a start: "I really [...]

Map Search On PCs “Eroding,” Shifting To Mobile — comScore

Apple Maps iPhone It all makes sense. According to comScore, map-based search on the PC has now peaked and is starting to erode. By contrast mobile usage of mapping applications is growing and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Apple Maps' problems notwithstanding, smartphone mapping apps offer a better overall experience than online maps. Because they're in your pocket they're available when they're most needed: on the go. And they offer location-aware/search nearby capabilities that online maps do not. Here's what comScore recently said about the decline of PC mapping and the rise of sma [...]

Foursquare Takes On Yelp With New Homepage Search Box

foursquare-map-featured Perhaps it was always inevitable that Foursquare would shift its emphasis from location-based social networking to local search. Indeed, the site has been moving in this direction for quite some time, and very self-consciously for the better part of the past year. This afternoon the company is rolling out a new PC homepage for users who aren't logged in: it prominently features a search box. In doing so Foursquare takes aim at Yelp as its chief rival in the local space. And in some ways the move completes Foursquare's evolution from a more narrow and novelty oriented friend finder, game and [...]

Report: Highest Mobile CTRs Where User 1-2 Miles From Business

mobile-ipad-click-featured Local search provider and ad network YP (formerly the advertising and directory services division of AT&T) released search and activity data collected from consumers and advertisers on its network in a Q3 Local Insights Report. The report contains findings drawn from its online, mobile and IPTV properties. The YP Local Ad Network represents "573 million searches and 10 billion impressions." The following are the top 10 overall local search categories: Restaurants Financial Services Beauty Services Auto Repair and Services Real estate Physicians & Surgeons Auto Par [...]

Pew: 50 Percent Have Cleared Smartphone Search History

Screen Shot 2012-09-05 at 10.32.58 AM There's a cat and mouse game going on between developers, publishers and mobile users. The former group is often trying to "connect the dots" and gather as much data and information on user behavior and, in some cases, individual activity as possible. By contrast, mobile phone owners (especially smartphone owners) are often trying to thwart or very selectively allow that data collection. The Pew Internet Project just released survey data revealing that mobile users may be a great deal more sensitive to privacy issues than most developers and publishers think. The survey was conducted in Mar [...]

US Yellow Pages Publishers Merge To Form Entity Focused On Local-Digital Advertising

Screen-Shot-2012-08-21-at-8.49.23-AM Two of the major US yellow pages publishers and local search providers, DexOne and SuperMedia are merging in an all-stock transaction. After the merger closes, pending a shareholder vote, the combined entity will have 700,000 advertisers, 3,100 salespeople and revenues of roughly $3 billion. The merger was partly dictated by the need to accelerate the transition from traditional print directory advertising to digital, which is growing but still lags print revenue for both companies. The two entities also anticipate significant cost savings through the combination of their operations. [...]

Google Trounces Other Local Search Providers In UK — Study

Google UK logo Google has the most complete and accurate local search database in the UK, according to data and analytics firm Implied Intelligence. Previously we've published comparable US reports by the company: Yellow Pages Sites Beat Google In Local Data Accuracy Test Bing Ties Yellow Pages Sites For Most Accurate Local Data In these earlier US tests, yellow pages sites (i.e., Superpages) and Bing beat Google for completeness and data quality. However in the UK Google comes out on top. To conduct the test (performed in May) the firm created a sample of 1,400 local business records. Each of th [...]

Recce Offers Winning Take On 3D Mapping

Recce logo The most interesting development in digital maps may not in fact be the forthcoming introduction of Apple maps in iOS 6. It may instead be the recent launch of mapping app Recce (pronounced "rekki," which is short for reconnaissance). The company was previously called Mapply, but a trademark conflict motivated the company to change its name. Recce creates 3D maps through automated rendering. It layers in data from multiple sources. However it's only available for iOS right now. The difference between what Recce is doing and Google Maps/Earth or Apple's new 3D mapping is that the maps hav [...]

Study: YP Delivers “Better Value” Than Google AdWords

Screen Shot 2012-08-01 at 7.34.58 AM A newly published study has concluded that advertisers see a meaningfully lower "cost per call" vs. those using Google AdWords. The study was commissioned by YP, formerly AT&T Interactive and AT&T Advertising Solutions. The average cost-per-call for YP ads was $46 vs. $88 for AdWords. More specifically, the study found that the YP cost-per-call "ranged from $8 − $162, compared to a much wider range of $17 − $257 for AdWords." The study was conducted earlier this year by third party research firm Altman Vilandrie & Company. Here's the company's statement about Y [...]

YP: Restaurants Remains Top Local Search Heading, Medical The Top-Spending Ad Category

restaurant-sign-featured Local publisher and ad network YP (the private-equity owned combination of AT&T Interactive and AT&T Advertising Solutions) has released its US-focused Q2 "Local Insights Report." The data in the report are derived from searches conducted across the company's multi-platform network: "563 million searches and nearly 11 billion impressions in Q1 2012 across the YP Local Ad Network’s 300+ online, mobile, IPTV and directory assistance publishers." As an editorial aside, it's too bad we don't get this sort of data from Google (or Bing) on a regular basis. But we do get reports l [...]

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 [...]

Bing Ties Yellow Pages Sites For Most Accurate Local Data

local-search-map In April I wrote about a local data accuracy study preformed by a company called Implied Intelligence. The company offers data services to publishers and developers. In April the company found that yellow pages site Superpages bested Google Maps in terms of the accuracy and completeness of the local business/POI database. The following was the final ranking of sites according to the April study: Implied Intelligence crawled and hand checked 1,000 independent local business websites in the US (no chains or franchises were included) and compared that data to the data contained on leadi [...]

Bing Does Local Content Deal With Yelp

yelp-icon Bing has done a deal with Yelp in which the latter's reviews and content will be heavily integrated into Bing Local pages. According to the press statement put out by Yelp this morning, "Yelp will surface content including, review snippets, photos, business attributes, and more, to Bing users in the U.S." The content appears on Bing Local pages with the branding "powered by Yelp." It is a deeper integration and partnership than what's generally available to third parties through the standard Yelp API. I suspect that Microsoft/Bing was feeling pressure given Google's recent incorporation of [...]

Google Maps Competitor deCarta Benefitting From Google Fees

Later this morning Google is going to hold an event to update us on the current state of all things Google Maps. This is widely seen as a pre-emptive PR strike of sorts against Apple. Next week Cupertino is potentially going to announce its own advanced mapping service as an integral part of iOS 6. Even as Google Maps celebrates its dominance an ubiquity in the world of local search and third party services all is not ponies and sunshine. Last Fall Google announced that it would be charging its heaviest Maps users for map views/impressions over 25,000 per day. Each additional 1,000 page lo [...]

Microsoft Integrates More Nokia “Infrastructure” (Traffic, Geocoding) Into Bing Maps

Slowly Bing is handing over more of its mapping "back end" functions to Nokia, as part of the deal that brought the two together for the Lumia-Windows Phone partnership. Yesterday Microsoft announced that in 24 countries, including the US and UK, Nokia (Navteq) will be delivering traffic data to Bing Maps. The company also said that it would start using Nokia’s geocoding services in several (unnamed) countries to improve directions. In May last year I wrote Bing Maps To Be Powered (Replaced) By Nokia? A source argued to me that over time Nokia would gradually replace most of the [...]

Wolfram Alpha Gets Into Local Search — Very Badly

It's unlikely to impact Google or Yelp in any way but Wolfram Alpha is getting into local search. According to a blog post today users can now search online or on its mobile apps for nearby businesses in a range of categories (chains only right now): Wolfram|Alpha now knows the locations of some 2.4 million retail establishments for 1,300 major chains in 220 different categories—gas stations, restaurants, department stores, and much more. It also knows the typical business hours for roughly one third of those locations, which makes queries like that one possible. When I tried it online (PC [...]

More (Local) Searches Coming From iOS Than Android — Study

Ad network Chitika, which regularly publishes findings from activity on its network, has released some data that show owners of iPhones and iPads search more than Android owners. This is a bit counter-intuitive and unexpected, given how prominent search and the search box are on the homescreen of most Android handsets and how deeply integrated Google is into that experience. Chitika "looked at hundreds of millions of impressions between April 8 and 14 and broke down traffic depending on operating system, search traffic, and the type of search query." The company also broke out local searche [...]

AT&T Interactive: More Than 30 Percent Of Searches On Network Are Mobile

AT&T Interactive released its Q1 2012 "Local Insights Report" (.pdf) earlier today. The report covers search activity on AT&T Interactive's various properties (online, mobile and IPTV), which together comprise its YP Local Ad Network. The data in the report are gleaned from more than 190 million monthly searches across the network. Below are the overall most-searched categories and the fastest growing across the YP Local Ad Network (Q3 vs. Q4 2011): The top mobile search categories are similar but not identical to the list in the graphic above: Restaurants Automotive Movi [...]

Yellow Pages Sites Beat Google In Local Data Accuracy Test

Screen shot 2012-04-16 at 7.36.11 AM In the brave new world of "SoLoMo" there are an increasing number of sites and mobile apps competing to help you choose a local business or lead you there. In addition to Google Maps, Yelp and Foursquare there are the venerable yellow pages' sites and many others. They all get their local data from generally the same several sources; so one might expect all these sites to have comparably accurate information, right? Apparently not. Roughly a month ago I spoke with Marc Brombert, the CEO of Implied Intelligence. His company provides a range of data-related services (e.g., enhancement, cle [...]

UBL And Yext Join Forces To Offer More Complete Local Data Syndication

Several years ago Universal Business Listing sought to become the "one stop shop" for local business listings syndication. The dream was that small businesses and their surrogates could sign up in one place online and ensure their data were in all the right places across the internet. While that has not fully come to pass, the company has taken a step closer through a deal with former competitor Yext. Yext began as a pay-per-call network and shifted last year to focus on local listings syndication. Yext works with small businesses but also brands with multiple locations. Emulating the no [...]

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