Local & Franchises: Why is the data locked?

28 Jun

The most popular specific searches across our local properties are always brand names – Sears, [local grocery chain], McDonalds, etc etc.

What has always boggled my mind is if you visit a franchise/national brand store (eg Sears or McDonalds), they all have a franchise locater. It is an obvious feature that people would like.

But what absolutely boggles my mind is why this data is locked? If I was McDonalds, I would want to make sure everyone knew where you could find McDonalds. I would want to make sure all closed down stores were not listed. I would make this data available for free.

The reality is, no matter how much they may want to crawl back into their cocoon, people use other sites to find their brands. Even niche players get a significant enough chunk of traffic. Sure, McDonalds may talk directly to SuperPages.com. And YellowPages.com. You can argue that it isn’t profitable enough for them to have a direct relationship with everyone – fine. But is it really in their interests to allow

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other companies to publish bad data? Of course not.

If I could sit down the responsible for their internet operations, I would just have one question to ask: “Why don’t you allow anyone and everyone to download a list of all [insert name here] locations? All these people are doing is *promoting* your business”

There is a lot of talk about walled gardens of data, and how web 2.0 is suppoused to change that. There are some legitimate reasons for walled gardens, but for franchise data? None.

1 Response to Local & Franchises: Why is the data locked?



June 30th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

I totally agree with you Boss. The local search will become more interesting and more natural if the franchises open their data to public. Its a win-win situation between local search and data provider like you and those franchises companies. I do think you have to meet up with these folks and negotiate when you’re reaching millions of users and they will find no reason not to meet you.