December 31, 2007
As noted in WRAL.com there is a new local search engine, WhatsOpen.com that is now open.
WhatsOpen is an intriguing service with an even more intriguing about us page. Their approach to local search is not the standard who, what or where but rather what and when. They ask a question that even folks familiar with their own local scene frequently ask.
Just type in the name of the store youâ€™re looking for, and your location….Results are displayed on a Google Map mashup, with listing of stores, their hours of operation, their phone numbers and their distance from the city center appearing in a left-hand column.
Users choosing to sign up for the full beta of the version get access to information from the U.S., the European Union and China along with mobile phone applications Google Android or iPhone.
An interesting report of agressive marketing & billing practices in the Local SEM space in the Google Maps for Business Group.
In Restless Pursuit of Craigslistâ€™s Success – Bob Tedeschi, NY Times
The NY Times writes a glowing report about The Kijiji unit of eBay in their pursuit of Craig’s List. At the end of the article Kijiji’s opportunities were put in perspective by Greg Sterling:
Even without such features, though, Craigslist added nearly seven million users during the last year. That should be enough to give pause to Kijiji and other competitors, according to Greg Sterling, of Sterling Market Intelligence, an advertising consultancy. â€œThere are other sites, like Google Base, with nicer features for users, but they havenâ€™t dented Craigslist,â€ he said.
Windows Live Expo from Microsoft, another free classified ad site, has also struggled to gain an audience. â€œThe more competition there is, the more it reinforces Craigslistâ€™s users,â€ Mr. Sterling said. â€œSo Kijiji is going to have to take a long-term view if they want to gain any traction.â€
December 30, 2007
Some days it seems like the World and Google Maps are going to hell in a hand basket with intractable problems; Global warming, end of oil, the war in Iraq, mapspam etc… but I am one of those folks that is a pessimist of mind and an optimist of heart about world affairs. I see the problems, note them (perhaps too often for friends and family alike) but firmly believe that humanity can solve them. At least I have hope that we can.
The same goes for Google. I may seem like a classic kvetcher when it comes to Google. Complain, complain, complain you say, never anything good to say… However the complaints that I have noted about Google Maps just reflect my desire for them to succeed. I really want local to work and I (in my heart of hearts) am rooting for Google to be one of the companies* that sucessfully pushes local into our lives.
In fact, it was but a little more than a year ago that Bill Slawski and I did a little “Jane, you ignorant slut”** two step where I took the side that (Google) Local would improve in accuracy over time while Bill contended that the task was too daunting and that data accuracy would not significantly improve.
I really do want Google Maps to succeed so I am making a New Years Budget Resolution for Google: Hire MapsGuide Jen some help! Heck what does a good customer service rep cost in San Jose? $60,000 a year? That’s but 100 shares of Google stock. Alternatively they could ground the plane for a week. It would go a long way towards showing that Google does intend “goodwill toward small business people and peace on (Google) Earth & Maps” for 2008.
December 29, 2007
Update 01/04/08 According to MapsGod Jen this has now been fixed. Jen has apparently been on leave and yesterday returned to the Google Maps for Business Group with a vengeance!
In today’s Google Maps For Business Owners another bug in the Local Business Center seems to have been confirmed. This time the bulk upload procedure seems to have broken and has been so since at least Dec. 20th:
TOPIC: Error 504
== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 28 2007 10:08 am
I believe you are also refering to my recent question with the same problem. Has anyone else experienced this, and are there any recommendations on what could be causing this?
On Dec 27, 3:24 pm, “m.storagefacil…@gmail.com”
> I noticed around the 22nd of Dec that I haven’t been able to upload
> bulk feed as well. I keep getting this Error. It isnt Just me, as
> im seeing that others are experiencing the same problem. Is there a fix?
== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 28 2007 10:30 am
Oh Im wrong it is a 502 server error. Whats the fix? I dont know
but I hope someone from google looks at this blog so that we can get
back to work.
== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Fri, Dec 28 2007 2:54 pm
I am having the exact same issue – I have been trying to upload my unicode text file since Dec. 20th without success.
Perhaps the Google Local Business Center is undergoing renovations, perhaps Mapsquide Jen is on an extended holiday break (she deserves it) but the problems of customer service, mapspam, broken coupons and now the broken upload feature seem to be piling up in the forum and have gone unanswered for an extended period.
December 26, 2007
Our newest blog, Small linux deployments, is all about the technical side of operating a local linux-based hosting and web design company and is written by Erek Dyskant.
Erek is our System analyst, sys admin, programmer, hardware and general technical guru, a sort of Renaissance man of the Linux world. He has worked with us, off and on, since he was 16 and is both a great co-worker and a good friend.
He is a unique package that emdodies the big view of technology, the detailed view of the hardware & software and the ability to communicate about it to geeks AND small business folks. He’s a good coder to boot, studies biology and has a detailed understanding of national and global politics. If you run a small linux based hosting company or just are interested in the details of doing so take a look at Erek’s blog, you will find it an interesting read.
December 25, 2007
This Google Local Business center coupon bug was reported today in Google Maps for Business Group. I have not verified this but there have been a number of reports of coupon problems.
TOPIC: Coupon post
== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Mon, Dec 24 2007 7:50 am
From: The Refinisher
I asked a similar question yesterday. See this link to my
I found out that if you do not choose an expiration date for your coupon, then it will work. It is a Google Bug. I know this is not the
answer you are looking for, but it is all I could find. I had to manually add my own expiration date on my coupon.
On Dec 23, 11:21 am, “t…@rrlawncare.com”
> How do you get the coupon to show up on your business map?
> What I did or tried;
> 1). I went here http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter?hl=en-US&gl=US
> 2). Clicked on the coupon tab, filled in all required fields, pressed
> continue at the bottom.
> 3). Read all the Editorial Guidelines.
> And it still dosn’t show up in MY Local Business Center, Locations
> Control Panel.
December 24, 2007
This came in today from a reader:
I ran across this new twist with InfoUSA & Google Maps and thought I’d pass it in. Do you recall when Google Local/Maps added a photo provided by InfoUSA to many local business profiles? It’s the default image for most companies.
A couple days ago, I clicked on one of the photos (trying to check out a phony address) and got a redirect to what I thought was a hijacked, spammy page offering a credit report. This morning I finally realized every InfoUSA photo redirects to one of those pages on Credit.net with ‘an InfoUSA company’ in very light gray text at the top left. The linked photo is in thumbnail size but surrounded by an offer for a credit report on the business. Each is a lead generator since no data about the company is actually provided. Each ‘click to view’ link launches a pop-up box to register. User registration required with an offer of ‘the first 25 reports for ‘free.” Here are the TOS -
They’ve basically got ad links for InfoUSA credit reports on every business listing. Even with a business’s own uploaded pictures, the one from InfoUSA still shows under “Photos”. To experience this for yourself click on the last photo of the business (see screen shot below) in this Google Maps search example for Chelsea Fower Market in NYC..
I wonder if this is quid pro quo between G and Info (and planned all along) or a unilateral switch to better monetize the InfoUSA data. Would love to find screen shots from the old daplus.com since I seem to remember small links offering credit reports.
It is not clear why or how those photo links are there but the links sure appear inappropriate, don’t they? Now that is a link campaign!
Read on to see a screen shot.. (more…)
December 23, 2007
For all of you that are hot on the trail of Mapspammers this post might help to speed things up :
Hack Google (Maps) URLs for Quick Searching
Basically, the multi-step process of going to Google [Maps], typing in an address, clicking submit, etc., can be avoided by just putting all your info directly into the URL. For example typing this works:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=1683 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA
So for example to find Cathy’s florist that she reported last week to Google Maps for Business Group you would simply type in the URL:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=flowers with gifted elegance
To receive your secret decoder ring send along your recently found Mapspam.
(this would also work for those of you who just use Maps a lot and are not interested in joining the Columbo Mystery Squad)
Techcrunch has a good summary of the unique visitors to each of Google’s services comparing this November to last. It appears that Maps, by Comscore’s measurement, has 17% as many unique users as Google Web Search has. This % is significantly higher than last year.
Greg Sterling has a good analysis of the numbers. However given that Google Maps data is pushed out over a number of different technologies, the Comscore count may be underestimating the number of unique users of the data set and the overall usage of Maps. Those technologies include Google SMS, Goog-411 and Google Maps for Mobile. The extent to which users of Google Maps is undercounted is unclear but it strikes me that the undercount is greater on Maps than any other Google property as it uses more distribution technolgoies than other Google products. Regardless the number of unique users of Maps is starting to take off.
From the goog411 Google Group
== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sat, Dec 22 2007 4:43 pm
Goog411 has been sending me the same text message every 15 minutes for
2 hours now at 10 cents a message. This is the first time I have experienced this problem when receiving text messages from goog 411.
Who do I contact to stop the messages??
Thanks for your help in advance,
If it takes this poor fellow as long to resolve his problem as it is taking (9 months and counting) for this school to solve theirs (where you will also find some earlpearl’s of wisdom), his cell phone bill will roughly equal the national debt of Kazikstan by the end of the upcoming holiday week.