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Rules/Guidelines/Recommendations for populating a local directory?

Trying to get a local directory started...starting is hard!



4:47 pm on Nov 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hello everybody!

First post! A bit nervous, as I'm impressed with the caliber of people who are here.

At the risk of having RTFM or RTF-Website thrown at me, I'm posting my first question for everybody. I've been searching and reading through WebmasterWorld, and in particular, the Local Search threads. I've been lurking for awhile. I've learned a ton. Thanks!

Anyway, I'm researching about the different sources of information providers for local merchants listings. I'm targeting a widget category and all the SME's that sell these widgets in my metropolitan area. I'd love to get a skeleton of a directory going with basic listings, and then start approaching the SME's for paid listings (I'll be offering extra stuff than just a listing) for their widgets. No ecommerce, just listings++.

While reading through infousa terms and conditions (am I allowed to state their name? I'm a little paranoid about saying too much) it says I'm "renting" their information. I got a quote for the data I'd want but I'm confused. I'd love to get the listing data and just keep it on-hand without renting it again. BUT, it seems like I can't re-use the information in public, but I might not be reading the T&C correctly. I'm not worried about refreshing data regularly, I just need a starting point for the directory.

I'm totally fine with going the manual route, ie. pulling public data about these widget SME's from the web, yellow pages, etc, to populate the directory. It's manual, but I think i've got enough elbow grease. Is that legal? I figured the web and yellow pages makes the data public domain, so I should be able to re-use it, but I'm not a lawyer and don't know if that's the case.

I guess I should look into the other data providers more, too. I guess they don't all have the same type of T&C.

Any guidance to be offered by the Local search guys here?

Thanks! I'll be eagerly awaiting any and all responses given.


12:57 am on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I probably shouldn't have asked a question the week leading up to PubCon. =(


2:05 pm on Nov 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

It appears that a core issue for you is the legality of the solution you choose.

The "legality" would be a function of a) the terms or the licensing of the information (What does the contract say?); and, b) the application of copyright law or other ownership rights law.

No one here can answer those questions for you. We'd have to read the contracts. We'd have to know a lot more detail, which could expose you. We'd also have to be lawyers practicing in the jurisdictions involved with enforcement.

There's simply no answer that you can rely on that can be fashioned in a forum such as this.

Talk to a lawyer in your home state to start.


12:00 am on Nov 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I didn't realize the issue that that level of legality involved. Okay, thanks for the info.


2:01 am on Nov 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

go get the data manually if it as limited in scope as you suggest- if for no other reason than to publish unique and deep geo-vertical content that others do not have and of which is key to your success.


7:43 am on Nov 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks. I'll make use of both pieces of advice. Luckily, I do have a few lawyer friends who might be able to help. And the data I'm going to collecting has a finite end, and luckily, the area I live isn't a total sprawling urban metropolitan city, so i can focus my efforts to a certain geographical locales.

Now where is that elbow grease?


4:00 pm on Nov 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

For a realatively limited dataset, it sure seems the manual approach is easier for avoiding red tape and risk. One thing you might want to look forward towards is maintenance. The YPs have a pretty good churn rate, so you'd neet a machanism to keep your info fresh and accurate.


1:32 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

understand that from my perspective, this is not about the law, it is about building sustainable comparative advantages through the aggregation of deep content that the geographically and vertically horizontal players can't provide. without it you will wither at the vine, with it you have something that is worth a try if you are dedicated to the model, the businesses that you serve, and your users. look yourself in the mirror and ask whether you would find value in your site relative to the competition and please understand infof*usa is not it.

[edited by: Chicago at 1:34 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]


12:50 am on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks for the posts. I do appreciate it.

For competition, I view the IYP's as my competition, and I'm not sure whether I should take on a David/Goliath battle, considering they're well established and have gobs of data.

However, they (IYP) don't seem to have any vertical-specific (at least this particular vertical) value adds to the potential customer as well as to the SME's. I believe I am able to provide value adds to both sides, so I'm definitely moving on this.

Chicago, would you clarify what you meant by vertically horizontal? I'm still learning the vocab for local search/marketing. Do you mean like IYP's, where they have verticals in many arenas (the horizontal aspect).

Thanks again guys



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