David has just created an update to the great chart describing the mishegas that is the Local Search ecosystem. The chart elegantly captures the flow of data from the top tier data suppliers through the directories and into Google and the other search engines. The complete set of charts detailing the relations can be found at A Closer Look at the Local Search Data Providers.
If you ever wondered why it takes so long for a citation to show up in Google, this should answer the question.
Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
David Mihm's Updated Local Search Ecosystem Infographic
by Mike Blumenthal
Mishegas–Yes Its tremendously confusing
Elegant–No…not the graph..but the system…it is very confusing..so I guess one could call this an elegant description of a confusing complicated system. Oi.
The ecosystem to deliver data to google…ugh. Wouldn’t it be nice if Google Places put a lot of reliance on claimed records???
Comment by earlpearl (784 comments) — February 22, 2012 @ 5:01 pm
In your dreams.
Comment by Mike (2503 comments) — February 22, 2012 @ 5:04 pm
First of all thank you for this blog and all the useful knowledge presented by yourself and your readers. I must admit to and apologize for being, up till now, just a follower and not a contributor. Thanks also to both you and David for the info graphic. We all know that a great number of the portals represented are much more elegant and robust than Google places, they’re just not Google.
Frustration with Google has reached an apex. I hear more and more from clients that “Google is a scam” (their words). I’ve always defended Google, apparently in error, because I felt that order and reason were just around the corner. We operate at a high level of integrity in the belief that the truth will always win out so a level playing field is perfect for us. In the grand scheme local business owners have many other more important things to concern themselves with on a daily basis. As for Google places or online visibility they just want to set it and forget it. All of us here know it’s a little more complicated than that but Google seems to want to make a full time proposition out of the equivalent of a well-placed yellow-page ad of yore.
Excuse me while I scrape the egg off my face but how do I explain to a client that since he hired me his page has disappeared? That his categories are still out of order? That all of a sudden his old address is showing again? That his map marker is incorrect? That his photos will be reordered by Google? That it seemingly takes an Act of Congress (God forbid) to fix simple issues on an internet portal. Seems to me Google needs to get over itself as they’re proving not to be the tech behemoth they claim to be.
Thanks for the chance to vent.
Firstly, let me say thanks for taking the time to move from reader to commenter. All hands on deck has been my mantra and seems to be the only way to understand the “beast”. The more people who are looking and reporting, the more we will understand the daily, weekly and persistant vagaries that are there.
Google’s path towards local was based on their presumption that they could automate a method for “triangulating” business data and listings. It is a big data solution that gets it right about 90% of the time. Unfortunately, until very recently, they thought they could do so with NO customer support for the other 10%.. edge cases from their POV.
The solution to “egg on face in front of customer” is customer education. You don’t build or maintain Google and while it can offer great benefits to a customer when it is working correctly, it shouldn’t be your responsibility when it fails or when it changes… other than to prepare for the failure or change.
Actually an Act of Congress (47,230 of the bizarrely named Communications Decency Act) was partially responsible for the mess. It essentially exempted any online entity from having any responsibility for the use of their platform. Thus Google has no legal obligation to take care of spam or remove libelous reviews, even if they are proven to be such. That law essentially created a framework where Google could get away with only changing the things they wanted to, not what they should.
Google, to their recent credit, is finally grappling with the customer support issue. It may be too late to salvage their reputation in local or not, we shall see. They are slowly inching toward a more responsive, accurate product and providing some measure of customer support along the way… you just need to know where to find it..
Comment by Mike (2503 comments) — February 23, 2012 @ 8:52 am
My head spins slightly at the work that David must have put in to that. I’d love to see the same for local results outside of the US – UK in particular. Many of the sources now seem to cross over from region to region, but not all.
[...] it might take 8, 16 or even 20 weeks for a citation to make its way into the search engines. The local ecosystem, a complicated web of relationships and feeds, is to some extent a technology mired in the last [...]
Mike, I posed a question on Davids original ecosystem post but he hasn’t replied. He must be so busy! I’ll repost the question to you here –
Would you now recommend submitting a local business to Localeze instead of UBL? I’m under the impression that Localeze is really going for the chains that have at least 100 locations. Is their free listing for mom & pops really providing great value? I find the localeze website to be a maze of redundant content with no clear pricing or concise product offering for moms & pops. I was a fan of UBL and I thought they were a genuinely professional outfit but recently I saw them get skewered on warriorforum. Now your comments. Can you elaborate on what you’d recommend us to do for our local clients?
UBL’s data and Localeze data go to different places. So I would be hard pressed to recommend one over the other. UBL for example sends their data to Infogrid Axciom and D&B who each have their distribution network that in aggregate roughly approximates that of Localeze.
With Localeze they essentially process paid listings within 14 days. The free listings go into a different bucket all together and could sit for a very long time before they get looked at. This is particularly true if the listings use mobile or voip numbers. The free Localeze website is a mess. Their paid dashboard is better but they really have no offering for the one off listing (well they do but they want $295 for it). They do offer reasonably priced reseller arrangements with the better dashboard for much less per listing. It varies by volume but is often in the $35 to $50 range.
UBL is well… UBL. Too often they over promise and under deliver but I find their basic $39 service to be functional and a reasonable value although slow.
I have a reseller arrangement with Localeze and UBL so I typically will submit a listing to both places.
If only there was something that gave us similar info for the UK. Id love to know how the info filters across and down.
I have a client who has a Google Places page that is managed by someone who also sells enhanced listings for Yahoo. Here in the UK, we don’t get free Yahoo Local. If ever that Places page drops out of the top 3 for the niche, this person is able to put it back – but never using the dashboard that the client can see.
Do you think it is possible to make changes to the enhanced Yahoo listings and have these immediately picked up by Google Places and implemented? Or are they just tweaking a separate GP dashboard to which the client has no access?