Google Maps: The case of the Missing Citysearch Reviews

Maps Guide Jen has provided an update on the missing CitySearch reviews and the missing CitySearch directory entries in Maps:

 

TOPIC: Restaurant reviews from CitySearch have gone missing

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Date: Tues, Jan 8 2008 9:21 am
From: “Maps Guide Jen”

Hi Mike,

I believe this is a different issue from the Beefeater’s restaurant. As you’ve noted, Citysearch’s content is currently missing from Google Maps. We are taking steps to resolve the system error and repost their listings.

No need to call in the chickens or detectives yet (phew!)

Thanks,
Jen

On Dec 6, 2007 8:04 AM, mblumenthal wrote:

Dear Maps Guide Jen:

I am sure you recall the case of the missing reviews where for 7 months (from Jan 07 until Jul 07) I
struggled on behalf of a client to get his reviews in Google Maps updated. In the end Google Maps updated their reviews of his restaurant.

However I, like several other posters, now find his reviews from
CitySearch gone (Beefeaters Restaurant, Bradford, PA). Given the
struggle to get them into maps, the owner of the restaurant was
concerned about their recent disappearance.

Can you shed any light on the recent turn of events? Need I unfurl the
dreaded rubber chicken? Is Nancy Drew in the house?

Mike Blumenthal

While it may not yet be time to call the chickens (I had enough of those last week), it may be time to call the detectives! If Google can’t find these reviews, where did they go? I wonder if they will show up on those 18 minutes of tape?

Google Search – Just how local can it go?

In a post today, Google Letting Addresses into AdWords? Greg Sterling pointed out that Google appears to be allowing street address as a 4th line in the adwords (see Therapia lower right in image below). As Barry Schwartz points out below he first saw this in early December.

What struck me about the search result page (message San Francisco)was the number of changes implemented over the past year that integrate more local information onto the main search results page. Notice how much closer at hand local information and Google Maps is in general and how many local inflections Google has added to the page beyond just the Local OneBox.

message.jpg

Local Links of Interest

Yahooo Makes a New Play for Ads on Mobile Phones – Miguel Helft, NY times

Magellan Device Adds Google Local Listings – Greg Sterling, LocalMobileSearch

Google’s Lunchtime Betting Game – Noam Cohen NY Times
This has little to do with local but is an interesting research report on the use of prediction markets within Google.

According to the report, “Using Prediction Markets to Track Information Flows: Evidence From Google,” which was presented Friday at the American Economic Association meeting in New Orleans, the strongest correlation in betting was found among people who sat very close to one another, trumping even friendship or other close social ties.

This is tangible evidence, the authors argue, that information is shared most easily and effectively among office neighbors, even at an Internet company where instant messaging and e-mail are generally preferred to face-to-face discussion.

What Does 2008 Have In Store For Local? Greg Sterling, SEL

Google Map’s Business Location Bulk Upload Still Not Working

MapsGuide Jen had noted in the Google Group – Maps for Business that the bulk upload had been fixed as of January 4th. That “fact” was reported here and at SearchEngine Roundtable. However according to recent posts in the Group (here and here) it appears that the bulk upload feature is still not working. This feature has been missing in action since approximately December 20th.

While Google has reportedly been working on changes to the Bulk Upload feature to minmize Mapspam, it appears that MapSpam has also been on the upswing of late.

Which On-line Directories provide details to Google Maps – 2008

Over this past year one of my most frequently read articles was Which On-line Directories provide details to Google Maps (Nov 2006)I decided to revisit the current data (Thanks to Miriam at SeoIgloo) to see which directories Google was using for the restaurant industry and to see how things had changed. I also realized that this might provide some baseline data to answer the question of whether Google’s relationship with CitySearch had changed.Google Maps attempts to gather authoritative details of a local business by crawling & parsing the semi-structured data of on-line directories (see also Bill Slawski’s patent summary). The restaurant industry is one of the industries that clearly benefits from local search. I have analyzed the local listings of the first 16 restaurants listed in the Buffalo, NY market and summarized which on-line directories Google is currently using and compared them to those used in November of 2006. There are some interesting differences.

Directory Jan 2008 # Listings Nov 2006 # Listings
More from 10best.com » 11 3
More from Allmenus.com » 6  
More from ChefMoz.org » 7 3
More from DiningGuide.com » 1 4
More from Frommers.com » 4 2
More from Gayot.com » 9 4
More from JiWire.com » 1 2
Provided by the business owner 1 1
More from RestaurantRow.com » 10 7
More from SuperPages.com » 3 5
More from Talkingphonebook.com » 1 2
More from Wcities.com » 17 7
     
No Longer in Restaurant Listings    
Citysearch.com   10
Hotelguide.net   3
Marriott.com   1
MobilTravelGuide.com   1
Mytravelguide.com   2
Sidestep.com   2
Travelocity.com   3

Some observations and notes and additional findings: Continue reading

Google Maps: Good News Bad News Announcement

Update 7:14 am 01/08/08 MapsGuide Jen to stay!
Hi Mike,
I’m not going anywhere quite yet! You’ll be seeing more posts from Maps
Guide Sirene in the group, but you can’t get rid of me that easily ;o)
Cheers,
Jen

Well Dave, there is a Santa Claus after all!
****

In a surprise announcement today, it was noted that Maps Guide Serene will be answering questions in the Google Maps for Business Group. This appears to be one of those good news bad news arrangements where Maps Guide Jen finally received the help she so desparately needed. However, it seems that Mapsguide Jen is being replaced as our intrepid interpreter and mystic seer of the cryptic meanderings of Google Maps. It appears that Maps Guide Jen has either been promoted or moved on.

I like to think that it is the former. And I will forever more think of Jen as MapsGod Jen. In related news it has been announced that a foundation may be set up in her name.

MapsGod Jen will forever be remebered for her hard work,a steady hand at the helm and equanimity in the face of duress and and an angry mob..

Goog-411 now a speedier option on Thomson/GE phones

Greg Sterling has noted a Thomson/Google deal that adds a one-touch, auto-dial GOOG-411 button into many of its latest GE-branded DECT 6.0â„¢ cordless phones. It should give Jingle’s Free 411 service a pause and it certainly raises questions about when Google will monetize its free DA service. Voice DA services are currently very lucrative and free voice DA services have the potential to be very disruptive to them. LocalMobile notes no firm has been better at converting activity to revenue and profits than Google.

As Greg pointed out from a recent LocalMobile survey 76.3% of respondents (n=671) said they had never used “one of the free alternatives to carrier-provided 411 directory assistance”. And while Jingle 411 has some market share advantage in the remaining 24% of users, it is the larger group that will ultimately decide who wins in the disruptive Free 411 DA market. It is just this market that Google is targeting with the Thomson/GE deal.

The question for Thomson/GE is: why would they agree to the arrangement? Thomson/GE is not a corporation known for its easy going style and one assumes that they did not put the Goog-411 button on their phones for the warm and fuzzies of it. The April introduction date leaves me wondering if we might not see Goog-411 monetization in that timeframe.

The one current drawback to the Goog-411 service in a consumer setting is the lack of residential listings. This consumer driven deal with Thomson might just also imply a move by Google to add residential listings in the same timeframe.

Developing Knowledge about Local Search