Data: Processing and more Processing

24 May

Pretty soon the mailman is going to be a pretty good friend of mine – every other day he seems to be bringing me something that needs my signature (usually a DVD/CD with more and more data).

What people often miss is that for maybe every record you see, there are 3-5 behind keeping everything aligned up. From timestamps on everything, to IPs on everything, to user IDs, reasons, sources, referrers, logs (a biggie) etc etc – it is of critical importance that everything be tracked.

A multitude of reasons too – from hack attempts, to backups, to bugs in the system – it is extremely important that we know (if we need to) what is going on at the microlevel. Just as important are macrolevel trends – important when keeping an eye out to make sure things are working fine.

In the case of iBegin Source, each state has six tables (the data dump portion is half of one table). These tables are all important to make sure everything is lined up and synchronized. This does not include any of the raw data (which spans untold amounts of gigs and tables) or even the dev area. Heck the search database has ~40k tables and 150 million entries – not the most effective, but it has reasons inherent in scaling purposes.

And to be sure – there is a ton of manual verification going on. From entries mis-spelt (cheap data-entry?) to condensing multiple entries to one – the business of data is not a fun one.

BUT – it is a double edged sword (in a good way). We sell the data. And we utilize

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the data. I was on the phone today with someone who was very interested in our approach – I keep telling everyone that we do local (and thus – all of our ‘products’ are us doing local). I think other data providers (in fields not even related to local) are going to start following this lead – instead of just being a enterprise provider, why not also click with the consumer directly? The recent move by Yahoo to take its mapping in-house is a perfect example – it is exactly what we did. Instead of relying on a provider, we are going to the raw sources and amalgamating on the data ourselves. This of course leaves the enterprise provider in a sickly situation – enter the consumer market, and piss off the enterprise customer. Don’t enter the consumer market, and hope the enterprise customers don’t leave you.

I’ll touch on this more in-depth later.

4 Responses to Data: Processing and more Processing


May 25th, 2007 at 11:22 am

Quite the operation you’ve got going on Ahmed… Thanks for sharing details like this – it helps to put things in perspective…

I’m still interested in your iBegin Source data for Canada – any updates with regard to the release date?



May 25th, 2007 at 11:34 am

No ETA yet – the major data acquisitions are in process. I am looking at early July (as we need the Canadian data ourselves before we can roll out iBegin v3).


May 25th, 2007 at 11:37 am

Cool, sounds good. I’ll check back then. We will definitely be licensing it when it becomes available – looking forward to having the most accurate and comprehensive information out there.



May 25th, 2007 at 11:55 am

Sounds good :)