Comparison Engine FindTheBest Debuts Local Classifieds

Structured data comparison engine FindTheBest has evolved impressively since its launch in August 2010. The site has become progressively richer and more usable. It has expanded into more categories. And, as of today, that includes local classified listings in jobs, cars and rental housing. FindTheBest is a kind of "anti-search engine" and the brainchild of DoubleClick founder Kevin O’Connor, who launched the site to provide better information than he believed was available in general search results: FindTheBest.com was created out of my desire to organize part of the Internet, filte [...]


New comScore Study Suggests 50 Percent Of Local-Mobile Search Happening In Apps

Localeze, 15 Miles and comScore released findings from their 5th Local Search Study. The survey of 4,000 US adults (together with behavioral data) documents how consumers search for and find local business information across digital platforms. It's a pretty comprehensive study and there are a great many interesting pieces of data, some of which I've written up here and here. In this article I want to focus on a single finding: 49 percent of smartphone and tablet owners are using apps to find local information. On one level this is unremarkable and makes sense; apps are popular and there are [...]


Microsoft And Nokia Unify Maps On PC, Mobile

Microsoft and Nokia announced the fruit of their recent mapping collaboration today. Each company has a blog post describing what's changed and improved (Bing, Nokia). The effort comes out of the companies' strategic partnership in mobile. As part of that arrangement Microsoft is relying heavily on the Nokia-Navteq mapping and data infrastructure. Nokia for its part has made Ovi Maps much more Bing-like in appearance. Essentially the UI has been simplified, colors have been muted and there's an improved "visual hierarchy" at each level of zoom. It's challenging for me to specifically tell w [...]


Report: 52 Pct Of Local-Mobile Search Clicks Turned Into Calls

Local-mobile ad network xAd released a treasure-trove of data from Q4 2011 this morning. The US-based information is drawn from mobile sites and apps that run its ads and the related user behaviors that xAd observes. These data are interesting in part because xAd has what is probably the largest network offering local search and display advertising outside of Google (AT&T might dispute that claim). The following were the most frequently searched local content categories in Q4: Ad performance reported by xAd exceeds comparable online CTRs for both search and display. The network s [...]


Foursquare Brings More Search Refinements To Mobile Apps

Calling it "personalized search for the real world," Foursquare brought its mobile Explore functionality into its recently redesigned PC website roughly three weeks ago, and added some new search capabilities in the process. Those capabilities included the ability to filter places results by four categories: 1) "I haven’t been to yet" 2) "I have been to before" 3) "My friends have been to" 4) "Have Foursquare specials." The mobile-PC cross-pollination continued yesterday as Foursquare brought some of those enhanced search capabilities back to its iPhone and Android mobile apps. Now you ca [...]


Foursquare Launches “Personalized Search For The Real World”

foursquare-map-featured Foursquare is introducing what it calls "personalized search for the real world" on its recently redesigned website. What that means as a practical matter is the introduction of the "Explore" feature, better keyword search and several new filters that enable users to drill down in search results. We can now, without hesitation, now call Foursquare a "local search engine." You'll now see an Explore button or tab in the upper right on the website. It's obviously been on the mobile app for some time but not on the site until today. Because I was so used to seeing Explore on the mobile client I [...]


Yelping In The Beemer: Review Site Inks Deal With BMW

Yelp is now established and mainstream enough to be included in BMW's Online/in-car content. Yelp reviews and related content will shortly be available to BMW owners "who subscribe to the optional BMW Assist Convenience Plan and have a navigation-equipped vehicle capable of receiving the BMW Online service." This means select BMW vehicles (see below for list) and is available in the US only for now. However Yelp's international coverage makes it probable that the partnership will roll out more broadly if it proves successful in the US. Yelp offered some screens of the BMW in-car search o [...]


Search Trumps Social For Local Business Information

search-globe-websites-featured The internet and search engines in particular are the top sources for information about local businesses, according to a new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Foundation. That's not really a surprise. But what's interesting perhaps is how many people rely on print newspapers and how few seem to rely on social media for local information, according to the survey data. Pew surveyed just over 1,000 US adults by telephone in January, 2011. What it found was that 55 percent of people "say they get news and information about local restaurants, bars, and clubs" and 60 percent "say t [...]


Foursquare Hires Sr. Google Engineer For Search-Related Efforts

Andrew Hogue Foursquare has hired Andrew Hogue to beef up the company's search and search-related initiatives and capabilities. Hogue was a senior engineer with Google from 2004 through November of this year. The company recently announced it had passed 15 million users globally, 50 percent of which are outside the US. We spoke to Hogue about a range of topics last week from New York, where Foursquare is headquartered and he will be based. Hogue brings some serious engineering chops to Foursquare and it's a coup for the company to get him. Hogue told us that he was eager to work on improving Fours [...]


The Big Roundup: Finding Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals & Specials

shopping-featured We're already well into Black Friday. In many US stores the frenzy began last night at 10 pm or midnight (as opposed to the normal 4 am door-busting start time). People barely had time to overcome the sleep-inducing effects of L-tryptophan before getting out into the melee. And the word "melee" aptly describes the scene in a Southern California Wal-Mart store as one woman unleashed pepper spray on her fellow shoppers to prevent them from getting in her way. Today and for the next few days people will be using a wide range of tools and resources -- hopefully not pepper spray -- to help them [...]


The Dealmix Promotes Search As A Differentiator

Screen shot 2011-11-21 at 7.47.40 AM One of the complaints often leveled against email-delivered daily deals is that they're not "relevant." A refrain I've heard repeatedly is, "How many 'main-pedi' deals do I need?" To combat this "deal fatigue," a range of sites, including Yipit, Groupon and Google, among others, have introduced personalization. But some would argue search is a better cure. Now a couple of Google engineers have launched The Dealmix to bring Google-like search and mapping functionality to daily deal shopping. The site offers a map view, as well as a list view. There are also numerous ways to filter dea [...]


Foursquare Redesign Creates Expanded Opportunities For Users, Advertisers

Screen shot 2011-11-16 at 5.22.08 AM Once upon a time Foursquare was a mobile app that allowed you to "check in" places and tell your friends you were there. That seems like a long time ago now. Foursquare has evolved into a local discovery tool and loyalty platform for businesses. It has effectively won in its "check-in" segment and has moved on to bigger and better things. It's no longer simply a mobile app either. The Foursquare website was effectively an afterthought for a long time. But now a redesign makes Foursquare.com a full-blown destination and generally a much more interesting and useful place to explore. Th [...]


Report: 32 Percent Of Users Do 5+ LoMo Searches Per Month

Local mobile ad network xAd has released its first quarterly report detailing traffic trends and user behavior on its network. While all mobile ad networks offer geotargeting, xAd is one of a small number of  mobile networks that specializes in local (search and display). CPM rates are considerably higher than on more conventional mobile ad networks. The company says it serves 10 billion monthly ad impressions. The data in the report were collected between July and September. Here are a few key points: 37 percent of general mobile consumers use their devices for local search, while 75 [...]


Apple Maps Inevitable As Company Acquires 3D Mapper C3

apple-maps-featured Apple has apparently bought its third mapping company, the Sweden-based C3 Technologies. The company's site has been taken down. C3 provides 3D mapping (a la Bing Maps or Google Earth) for a number of other publishers such as Nokia (Ovi Maps) and UK directory publisher Yell. (In the wake of this transaction Nokia will probably need to shift to Bing's 3D mapping.) I was given a demo of the product in Europe early this year and from what I could tell it was every bit as good as anything that Microsoft or Google are doing with 3D imagery on maps. Here's Nokia's description of C3 and its techno [...]


Search Dominates Other Sources For Local Information — Study

Screen shot 2011-10-27 at 7.05.12 AM A new survey from Harris Interactive, sponsored by CityGrid Media, confirms what many already know: Search is the dominant way people look for local business information -- online. On mobile devices, review sites have equal influence. The telephone survey was conducted in August among just over 1,000 US adults. Slightly less than 60 percent (59 percent) of survey respondents said that search engines were the first place they go when researching local businesses. That number increased to 83 percent for those under 35 years old. Less than 10 percent (8 percent) said they visit the merchant's [...]


Waze Craze Brings $30 Million For Growth, China Expansion

Waze is a somewhat unlikely success story. The social navigation and traffic app has just passed 7 million users globally and also announced another $30 million in funding, bringing its total to nearly $60 million. It also said that one of its new investors is Hong Kong magnate Li Ka Shing, who will help the company as it navigates (pardon the pun) the challenging and difficult Chinese market. The other investor in this round is Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Mary Meeker joins the Waze board as a result. Waze has successfully created a community of engaged drivers with its crowdso [...]


Telmetrics Introduces Call Tracking Without Tracking Numbers

Call tracking has long been criticized by Local SEOs and others as violating the sanctity of what Localeze's Gib Olander has called the "NAP" (name, address and phone number) -- the central currency of all local business listings. The concern was and is that the rented tracking numbers (metered phone numbers) would be crawled or otherwise distributed out across the internet and pollute the key listings data. Now call measurement firm Telmetrics has introduced a solution that may satisfy call-tracking critics: "m.Call." Intended initially for mobile publishers and developers, the approach [...]


Pew: 58 Percent Use Geosocial And Location-Based Services

smartphones-mobile-featured Pew has released some new survey findings showing that roughly 58 percent of smartphone owners use what Pew is calling "geosocial and location-based services." There's a mix of activities and applications grouped under these headings, including maps & directions and sites like Yelp and Foursquare among other things. Pew data reflect that 35 percent of mobile subscribers have smartphones. This is in general agreement with comScore, although Nielsen now says that smartphone owners represent 40 percent of all mobile phone owners. While only 12 percent of smartphone owners use Foursq [...]


Yelp CEO: 50 Percent Deal Margins Unsustainable

Following the elimination of daily deals (though not check-in deals) from Facebook's lineup of products, Yelp followed suit this week by scaling back its daily deals program. Many people incorrectly interpreted the news, presented in a Bloomberg article, as Yelp's total exit from the space. Some have also seen it as an indication that the segment as a whole is beginning to collapse. One person remarked to me today, "The bottom is starting to fall out isn't it?" Neither interpretation is correct. Deals are alive and (mostly) well and Yelp is still in the game. Here's what Yelp CEO Jeremy [...]


Clever Sense: A Mobile Search Engine That’s Like “Pandora For The Real World”

cleversense-featured I suspect someone is going to successfully build Google's "contextual discovery engine" before Google does. The newest company to make a run at what Marissa Mayer was talking about is Clever Sense with its new app "Alfred" (formerly called Seymour). Intended to be a demonstration of Clever Sense's underlying data extraction and machine learning technologies, Alfred creates a personalized "interest graph" that then serves up local recommendations for places you'll like. But you can also search in a more conventional way. Of course Clever Sense isn't the first company to create a "recommen [...]


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