I recently had a conversation with Doyal Bryant, one of the founders of Universal Business Listing.
Universal Business Listing is attempting to establish itself as a single stop for businesses to create one listing for use across the local internet. They want to become a business resource that providesÂ “internet fresh data”Â to the various consumers of business data for local search. They charge up tp $30 for a business to create a listing with them and manage and track the listing for one year. They then provide these listings at no charge to the data collators like Axciom & InfoUsa, to the 411 providers like LLSI and to the Local engines like the YP’s, Yahoo and Google.
While the conversation was wide ranging, it helped me understand some of the “back story” on how data is handled across the internet and provided a few other interesting factoids:
â€¢ The primary data suppliers like InfoUSA and Axciom will often prioritize 6 or 9 month old telco data over “internet fresh” data.Â This has implications for any business changing their address or updating their DBA.
â€¢He noted that Yahoo and Google will prioritize their ad system’s address over other sources for that address. I wonder what would happen if there was a conflict between the the Local Business System and adwords.
â€¢ For one national rental company with 4000 locations that had actively attempted to manage their on-line listings there were still 200 that contained critical errors at any point in time. In other words there was a 5% error rate on basic information such as phone, street address etc. even when the company was engaged and attempting to keep them correct.
â€¢ He relayed a story about a major national insurer with agents & branches in most cities. By the insurance company’s calculations between 40% and 60% of all inquiries and contacts came via local search.
The takeaway? Local search is playing a huge role in local marketing for national firms but the current system for collecting and distributing data across the net to the end user guarantees that there will be errors in the data and delays in information propagating.Â