Local Links of Interest

Google, Yahoo Clash With AT&T, Verizon on U.S. Mobile Phone Ads (Bloomberg)

At stake is a market that may surge 10-fold to $16.2 billion globally by 2011, says EMarketer Inc., a research firm in New York. Google, based in Mountain View, California, sees as much as half of future sales coming from mobile phones. While the U.S. accounts for about 50 percent of global revenue from promotions viewed on computers, the figure drops to 27 percent on phones and may rise to 29 percent by 2011.

TomTom, Google team up on business information (Reuters) -

Dutch navigation systems company TomTom said on Wednesday it was teaming up with Internet search leader Google Inc so users can find and send business addresses to their portable devices.

TomTom, which makes navigation devices for cars and mapping software for handheld computers, said in a statement its users would be able to search for business addresses on Google Maps and transfer them to their TomTom device.

UPDATE: Nokia To Up Services Investment As It Fights Google, Apple  (CNN)

At its capital markets day on Tuesday, Nokia Corp. stressed the significance of its push into mobile services and indicated it intends to make further acquisitions in the field.

Chief Executive Olli Pekka Kallasvuo said Nokia (NOK) , already the world’s largest maker of mobile phones by a large margin, intends to become the No. 1 brand for search, browsing and music…..Nokia transform itself from a pure hardware vendor to software and services giant as it looks for new sources of growth.

As such, it targets companies ranging from traditional rivals such as Motorola Inc. (MOT) to search engine giants like Google (GOOG) , makers of ” converged” devices – which wrap up music, internet browsing and phone capabilities into one handset–like Apple (AAPL) and software developers like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and its Windows Mobile platform.

“We have to have a strategy against each of these people, and we do,” said Kallasvuo.

Has Google’s relationship with CitySearch changed? and other Maps insights

This recently came in from an Anaheim Ca Florist that follows Google Maps closely in her industry:

I can’t speak for a system-wide change, but there have been LOTS of changes when it comes to searching for florists on Google. An update seemed to start on Wednesday of last week and finish on Sunday night.

-Many local florists have had their reviews from CitySearch stripped from their review summaries. Ours have completely disappeared and so have most of the top florists in major cities. I still see a few here and there, but overall – they’ve been greatly reduced. Not sure if it was a fall-out between G and CS or a review quality filter – but the deletions are noticeable.

- The threshold to have review stars displayed in the One Box and Google Local summaries appears to have increase from 3 to at least 5 reviews. Up until last week, it only took 3 reviews to get the stars to show. Most of the One Boxes for major city queries used to displayed stars and now very few do.

The review stars and ratings had a HUGE positive impact on click-throughs and purchases. ….Traffic from the OneBox is down since the change.

- Google also seems to be filtering out reviews left by users. We had a total of 12, lost 3 from City Search, and all but one left directly by folks with Google logins. Our OneBox appearances only show 4 but clicking on the link brings up 5 (4 from InsiderPages.com and only 1 of the 5 written directly there. The other 4 have vanished, too.)

- Remember when Google has displaying only ‘Local’ target Adwords ads in local if there were ‘local advertisers’? That policy appears to have changed, too. Our local ad got dinged for a quality score but I *think* it had more to do with low bid amounts. The ‘national’ affiliate marketer advertisers (FTD, 1800flowers, etc) look to be paying upwards of $3/click and locals could get good placement in Local for about a buck. No more.

We florists are on the forefront of ‘Local’ and we have to succeeding there to be around in the future. Otherwise, we’ll have FTD, 1800Flowers, Teleflora and all the other affiliate marketers taking 30-40%+ cuts of each order we deliver. It’s a matter of survival that we get our arms around ‘local’ search.

This communication brings up several interesting points;

•Clearly, in certain categories Google’s inclusion of local on the main search page is leading to significant online and off-line traffic.

•Small changes in their presentation can have a huge effect in the real world. The impact of the removal of the stars deserves attention.

•Why would Google remove recent reviews that came from Google itself?

•The information about CitySearch might indicate that Google has changed or even dropped their “trusted” source relationship with CitySearch. It was but a year ago that much was made of the CitySearch-Google partnership. I looked at an account/phrase that I track regularly (Restaurants Bradford Pa) and also found that reviews from CitySearch that I had fought with Google very hard to have included are now gone.

Could it be related to this post this afternoon by Greg Sterling: Citysearch and MerchantCircle in Repicrocal Deal?

Have you seen similar changes over the past few weeks?

Google Maps offering limited options to “flag” inappropriate reviews.

Update: Cathy points out in her comments that this is a Google generated review and Google allows this on any of their reviews.

It is not clear if this is an experiment or a very limited move towards user managed content, but Google is now offering an option to flag some reviews as inappropriate. Of the 21 reviews that this restaurant was showing, only the last one offered an option of flagging. It could be that Google was offering this option because the review was from a less trusted source or offered a star rating significantly less than the average.

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Local Links of Interest

Yahoo: Mobile web to overtake PCs in next decade (Gary Price at ResourceShelf.com)

Local Search Guide – IYP & Search Engine Who’s Who
The Yellow Pages Association, along with sponsors eStara and Superpages.com and supporting partners comScore, SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) and The Kelsey Group, offers the Local Search Guide, which profiles IYPs, Search Engines, Search Tools, Mobile Tools and selected Vertical Directories.

Google Maps now supports collaborative map-making (Google Lat Long Blog)

Google Introduces New “My Location” Feature for Mobile Devices (Greg Sterling – SearchEngineLand.com)

Google Alerts: an indispensible tool for Local Search

When I was in college, I had a job clipping articles from newspapers for a professor who was planning a book. It was back in the days when the Federal Government actually provided support for higher education and it afforded me the privelege of reading newspapers and being paid for it.

These days the job of clipping service flunky has been obsoleted and replaced with Google Alerts. It has been one of the indispensible tools in writing this blog. I receive a number of alerts each day with both broad and narrow search terms to keep abreast of writings far and wide in the field of Local Search.

Today I recieved this alert:

More Local Women Hitting Woods In Search Of Deer
WPXI.com – Pittsburgh,PA,USA

PITTSBURGH — While there are fewer hunters nationwide, one group of hunters is growing: women.

I took up golf this summer as my 12 year son wanted to learn the game and needed the ocassional partner. My woods game was nowhere near this accurate.

Salvdore Dali Museum notes surreal nature of Google Maps

This posting appeared today in the Google Maps for Business Owners Group

TOPIC: Address incorrect on listing. Changes requested months ago…

==========================================================

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Mon, Nov 26 2007 8:13 am
From: “ecrispen@salvadordalimuseum.org”

If you search for “Salvador Dali Museum” it provides the incorrect address. And has for a very long time. I have sent more than a year trying to correct this, and even have so called “Active” listings in my business center account, however Google still provides the wrong info to our customers.

What is needed to fix this?

Eric Crispen – IT Director
Salvador Dali Museum

Google Definitions of surreal:
• phantasmagoric: characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions; “a great concourse of phantasmagoric shadows”–J.C.Powys;
• dreamlike: resembling a dream; “night invested the lake with a dreamlike quality”; “as irrational and surreal as a dream”

Add Google Coupons to your main search results via Google Co-op

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Google Coupons now offers the ability to return Coupons in your main search results via the Google Co-op. When you select the above button from Google Coupon search you will be asked to log in and taken to this page at Google Co-op beta for a subscription confirmation:

You can add information created by Coupons to your Google search results pages by subscribing to their Subscribed Links.

Whenever you search on Google in an area of their expertise, the first result you see will be relevant content they provide.

To subscribe to Coupons, select the Subscribe button below. To learn more about Coupons, you can visit their Google Co-op profile page and then subscribe from there.

On the profile page are presented with additional information about the Coupon Subscription from the Co-op (note that currently 57 others have subscribed):

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You are then shown what your subscribed link will look like on the main results page:

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Local Links of Interest: Local Search News goes mainstream

It is fascinating to me to see the emergence of local search & local mobile to be appearing so prominently in the mainstream press. In today’s online edition of the NY Times, the following three headlines from the technology section were featured on the front page:

A Web Tour Will Show Stores From the Inside Out
The Web site EveryScape.com lets a viewer take a realistic tour like the one of Cambridge, Mass., above. Soon, it will go inside to show store interiors, like the Harvard Coop, below.

A new three-dimensional promotional tool will allow Web surfers to venture down streets and inside some local businesses.
Prototype

Mobile Web: So Close Yet So Far

The wireless communications business smacks of a soap opera, with disaster lurking like your next dropped call.

Web Drives More Real-World Purchases

E-commerce purchases are expected to grow a healthy but unspectacular 17 to 20 percent this holiday season over last year’s. But the Web’s influence over what people buy could be growing even faster.

Developing Knowledge about Local Search