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Data providers: the engine that drives local search
Chicago




msg:1573170
 8:51 pm on Dec 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Local Search Tools and their data providers/ data backfill providers:

Yahoo Yellow Pages: infoUSA
Verizon SuperPages: Acxiom
SBC SmartPages: InfoUSA
Yahoo! Local: infoUSA
Bell South Real Pages: Acxiom
MSN Yellow Pages: Acxiom
AOL Yellow Pages: infoUSA
Switchboard: infoUSA
iWon.com: infoUSA
Lycos YP: Acxiom
Excite YP: Acxiom
InfoSpace: Acxiom
Dogpile YP: Axciom
WebCrawler YP:Acxiom
etc etc etc.

When is the last time you checked the accuracy of your, or your clients, infoUSA and Acxiom data? When is the last time you gave your data a boost?

 

bakedjake




msg:1573171
 2:46 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Data from information providers is often incomplete. For example, it's widely known that most of the info providers have a problem removing data of businesses that are closed, because you don't need to file a form to stop doing business.

The number one issue affecting local search at the moment is data quality issues, IMHO.

Also, many of the engines you've listed Chicago use multiple data sources. A local search engine would not have a good result set using one and only one data source.

Chicago




msg:1573172
 3:20 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

hey jake, good to see you here. maybe your new natural home.

>>Data from information providers is often incomplete.

agreed.

>> businesses that are closed

yep. terrible problem.

>>the number one issue affecting local search at the moment is data quality issues, IMHO.

i agree that it is a critical shortfall. that is why it is critical for businesses to pay attention to the integrity of their business data.

and it is worth noting that there is a new breed of local search engines picking up on this shortcoming.

>>the engines you've listed Chicago use multiple data sources.

well, all of them have advertiser data that sit on top of this backfill data. most all of them all share advertisers. working together as distribution partners helps to further monetize the results pages above the free backfill. many of these distribution deals aren't even made explicit to the advertiser or the public.

<added> there are also some organizations that buy, clean, augment (with things like URLs), and resell this data to distribution partners including even some majors.<added>

regardless the axciom and infoUSA databases are the most often used and referenced local data providers on the internet. the list above is even much deeper than provided. and when one wonders why they can't find themselves in the backfill results or the new local search providers, one needs to start there.

consider this: when you submit your business to google local this is what comes back:

"... If you'd like to add, change, or remove a business listing in Google Local, please reply with: 1. The business' complete name. 2. The business' complete address. 3. The business' complete telephone number. ***We'll forward the information to the directory sources we use. They will work to authenticate the data and make the appropriate updates***

hmmm. we'll forward the info to authenticate? who might they be sending it to?

[edited by: Chicago at 4:02 pm (utc) on Dec. 6, 2004]

Sanenet




msg:1573173
 3:26 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just as an aside to the issue of companies continuing in local directories after they have closed down - in Spain, under the LSSI law, all companies are required to register their main domain name in the central company register.

I haven't seen anybody using this data yet, probably since as it's such a new law the records are still incomplete, but once this data is accessed I'm hoping a couple of good engines will come out of it.

Chicago




msg:1573174
 3:45 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also one need not forget The Dun & Bradstreet Corp (DNB.

jdMorgan




msg:1573175
 4:03 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

> we'll forward the info to authenticate? who might they be sending it to?

And a problem with this is that if your changes don't get forwarded or acted upon, you have no idea how to pursue getting the problem fixed. I have a friend whose local business has been 'missing' from G's local search since inception (over a year), and despite repeated attempts to use this "info forwarding" service, e-mails to the Google contact provided, and attempts to directly update the info database, nothing ever changes.

So these data quality issues are important; they may make or break a small business owner whose Adwords spend is limited and whose site is buried under pseudo-directories in natural results. And the biggest problem is that searchers will never notice any single business missing from the local results, so there is no compelling reason for the search or info providers to fix this problem. Aside from my friend's problem, this is an important 'hole' in the local search business model; Local search helps if a business is included, but can really hurt if it's excluded.

Jim

[edited by: jdMorgan at 4:10 pm (utc) on Dec. 6, 2004]

bakedjake




msg:1573176
 4:06 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

hmmm. we'll forward the info to authenticate? who might they be sending it to?

The raw data from the original information services (infousa, D&B, etc) can't be used in the form it's obtained in - it's too messy, and doesn't have enough of the auxilliary information in it.

I'd venture to say there may be other contributory data sources than just the originals.

jdMorgan




msg:1573177
 4:18 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

> messy

Yeah, the programmers responsible for correlating all that data with the natural search index data (as G claims to do) have a real challenge, IMHO. You've got 'messy' data from the yellow pages-type info providers and 'messy' Webpages (with absolutely no standard for the data presentation therein), and the challenge is to sort it all out and make it look presentable. They've done a remarakably-good job at that.

Jim

figment88




msg:1573178
 4:39 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hope this isn't going off topic, but I want to flip to the other side of the issue.

Has anyone ever approached infoUSA and Acxiom to provide data for websites. Is it feasible as a small niche publisher of regional directories to use them as backfill?

Chicago




msg:1573179
 5:13 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

good questions

Has anyone ever approached infoUSA and Acxiom to provide data for websites.

yes. and there is also many businesses which buy the data add to it, use it, and resell it again. also worth noting is a trend amongst these providers to gather additional meta data on a business. as meta data is a very important growth portion of local search.

Is it feasible as a small niche publisher of regional directories to use them as backfill?

yes it is.

<added> of course there is a cost.

[edited by: Chicago at 5:45 pm (utc) on Dec. 6, 2004]

figment88




msg:1573180
 5:28 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can you elaborate on the resellers.

Who are they? What are their value-ads?

Chicago




msg:1573181
 5:49 pm on Dec 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

there are third parties such as Interchange/ePilot that can provide a local search platform with axciom backfill, with advertisers above using a ppc rev split, with the ability to add your own advertisers in. there are also providers such as geosign which quietly and effectively sell clean, more accurate, and rich data.

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