Local Search APIs For Fun & Profit

I am not afraid to admit I am an opportunist. We all rooted for Julia Roberts when she persevered for years to win the big case in Erin Brokovich, but let’s face it, do any of us really want to work that hard? Me, I would have taken the settlement right after I coughed up […]

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I am not afraid to admit I am an opportunist. We all rooted for Julia Roberts when she persevered for years to win the big case in Erin Brokovich, but let’s face it, do any of us really want to work that hard? Me, I would have taken the settlement right after I coughed up my first organ and then started scanning the classifieds for clinical trial ads.

Being egrets who makes their livings sitting on Google’s head waiting for a half-eaten carcass to fall out of its mouth, we online marketing types need to always be on the lookout for the new thingy that’s going to make us a lot of bucks fast before everyone else figures it out. And I am here to tell you that thingy, that thingy, that thingy-ingy-ingy, is the onslaught of local search APIs.

For the past year I have been predicting how yellow pages apis and local search monetization apis are going to be big areas of opportunities for enterprising folks. These APIs will allow developers to quickly and cheaply create new local search applications. The release of CityGrid by CitySearch a few weeks ago is likely the beginning of an onslaught. It only makes sense that companies with a lot of data and advertisers will use APIs to get in front of as many eyeballs as possible. And APIs that pay you to use them tend to be popular. I heard through the grapevine that when CityGrid came out it quickly became Mashery’s top API.

So I thought it might be helpful to point out some of the more interesting local-related APIs out there:

Alcatel Lucent Open API Service
Tap into network data to pinpoint a user’s location via their mobile device, enable geotargeting of ads & offers and finding friends nearby.

CityGrid (CitySearch)
15M+ business profile listings. 3M+ user & editorial reviews. 500K+ local advertisters (in other words they will pay you to use this API!).

Earthmine
3D street level imagery to make your maps and local pages look really cool.

Foursquare
Become the mayor of your own money-making application. Create strange new ways to check in at places at all over the globe.

GoWalla
Like Foursquare’s but with a twist. I particularly like the LunchVote feature that helps you decided where to eat for lunch.

Hoovers
Access 65 million company records and 85 million people records. That’s an insane amount of data. Includes historical financial performance, executive contact information and a lot of other stuff to make a sweet local business directory.

Outside.in
Easily integrate hyperlocal news into your application.

Praized API
Create a social local recommendations service.

TownMe
Find and share local info. Gives a set of points of interest close to a lat/lon. These guys are creating an open platform for local.

Trulia
Get geolocation data like lat/lon on neighborhoods, cities, counties, states and zip codes. Also provides a lot of real estate related data like the average price of a homes listed on Trulia.

Twitter/MixerLabs
Do I really need to provide more info on this one?

Yahoo! Local
Search for businesses near a specified location and return lat/lon and Yahoo! user ratings of the business.

Yelp API
Retrieve business review & rating info, neighborhood name and pictures for a particular business or businesses in a particular geographic region or location.

WhitePages.com
Allows you to add Whitepages’ people search to your site.

Zvents
Restaurant and event venue listings, local events & performers. Zvents users and tags.

If you have any other great local-related APIs please add them to the comments below.


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About the author

Andrew Shotland
Contributor
Andrew Shotland is the proprietor of Local SEO Guide, a leading local search engine optimization blog and consultancy.

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