Kelsey’s Drilling Down on Local 07: Data – what?

22 Mar

I’m finally back, and right on the cusp of exhaustion.

So – data.

Learned a lot of interesting stuff over the time. Some points to note (going to adopt this format for various topics):

  • InfoUSA claims 14 million listings, but the online system only shows roughly 11.5 million – what gives?
  • Acxiom rep threw out ’19 million’ at me. Their official sales only claimed 15 million – disconnect?
  • Amacai is mentioned, but seems to be staying afloat because of their parent company
  • TrueLocal is out there, but they have multiple brands. Especially confusing is FranDat (listings of all franchises) vs BranDate (listing of all brands). Why not just merge them? Whats the definition of franchise vs brand. Is there overlap?
  • Again mentioning TrueLocal, they claim 5 million URLs. Taking a high rough estimate of 15 million, are you telling me 33% of businesses have their own website? As a user – think of your own experiences. Searching for XXX online – did you find a URL? Color me skeptical
  • Yahoo! claimed 22.5 million businesses. 22 million were local, and about 300k (my memory may be fuzzy) are regional-local (eg In-N-Out Burger is only in the west
  • Quicken claimed 29 million businesses. Of them, 19 million are single-employee businesses.
  • Quicken also claimed 6 million new businesses a year, 5.5-5.7 million fail (I wonder how many previously-established ones fail)
  • Kudzu’s (owned by Cox) Atlanta site is nothing like their other sites. They buy meta-data for Atlanta that they do not for the rest of the cities
  • There is a lot of meta-data services companies out there. Some of them are big fans of us, some of them not so much. We will be expanding into some other areas where we (again) let users contribute. This is an especially micro-local play, and might not even be a part of iBegin (superficially)
  • Taxonomy databases are abound. They basically help build relationships between (seemingly) unrelated items. A simplistic one is where you define ‘furniture’ to include anything related to ‘chairs’ ‘couches’ ‘sofas’ ‘bed frame’ etc. This is a huge gap that local search has right now, and improved taxonomy will help greatly. But will it happen soon? I’m leaning towards no
  • There is no concept of accuracy. I might as well be asking their mother’s favorite prime number (answer: “no clue”)
  • (potentially tipping my hat here) but a lot of work has to be done using census data. Demographics are key
  • The rise of partnerships are accelerating. It is almost like newspapers are slightly transforming into conduits for users to express themselves, and other companies then provide technological poweress. It isn’t about raw data – it is about the access to that data (XML, pre-built solutions, etc)
  • Yahoo! rep scoffed at San Diego Tribune’s usage of low-cost open source solutions. It actually grated my nerves.

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