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 [...]


Local Search A Multi-Site, Cross-Platform Affair — Report

Google may currently "own" search, but local search is a different story. Mapping sites, specialized local sites, general search engines and deals, as well as mobile browsers and apps constitute the distributed landscape of local, according to a new report, "The State of Local Search," released yesterday by the Local Search Association (LSA), with data compiled by comScore. Entitled "The State of Local Search," the report looks at search trends and traffic over 2010 and into 2011. Billions of Local Queries In January there were roughly 2.3 billion local queries on search engines according [...]


WhitePages Gets “Localicious” With Android Search App

WhitePages.com has launched a couple of new local search products this morning. Both are focused on neighborhoods and "hyper-local" information (hate the term). One is effectively a neighborhood-based social network called WhtePages Neighbors. The other, the subject of this post, is a new Android search app called "Localicious" I won't go into WhtePages Neighbors except to say it's prepopulated with WhitePages "people search" data, which covers most of the US. So when you search or look around your neighborhood you'll already see extensive contact information for the people who live near yo [...]


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 [...]


Survey: Print Yellow Pages More Trusted Than Search Engines & Social Networks

Screen shot 2011-06-13 at 7.05.11 AM Who still uses yellow pages? San Francisco has even banned delivery without permission, assuming no one wants them. But a yellow pages industry group has a new survey saying that yellow pages are more trusted, more widely used and perceived by consumers to be more accurate when it comes to local information than search engines and social networks. The San Francisco Ban San Francisco has effectively banned print yellow pages delivery. The city recently passed an ordinance that requires residents to "opt-in" to receive print yellow pages. In other words, if they don't ask for the books, they [...]


Apple Moving To Close Gap With Android On Speech, Navigation

Screen shot 2011-05-07 at 8.09.53 AM As a long-time Android user I can tell you two specific areas where Android beats the iPhone's otherwise superior user experience hands down: speech and navigation. All text fields on Android devices are speech-enabled, including email, SMS and the search box on any site. The iPhone offers "voice control commands" that allow users to initiate a call or play music with speech. But the breadth of what you can do on the iPhone with voice is much more narrow. There is of course voice search on the Google and Bing apps, but that has to do with Google and Microsoft's own technology and nothing to [...]


AT&T: 43 Percent Of Local-Mobile Searchers “Walk Through The Door”

There are a number of studies (e.g., Pew, Forrester) in the market that question how interested or engaged users are with "location based services." Those studies tend to narrowly focus on Foursquare, Gowalla and mobile check-ins. They tend to miss the larger point about the importance of location on mobile devices. A new study from AT&T Interactive and Nielsen, conducted this March, validates that location is a key part of the mobile-user experience. The study also reflects the often-superior performance of local-mobile ads. Restaurants the Top Local-Mobile Category AT&T VP S [...]


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