Authority In Local Search

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Local Search is plagued by issues related to the authoritativeness of mapping, business listings, geocoding and search taxonomies. In this presentation, we point out several weaknesses in the Local Search System related to the mismatches between the intent of searchers and the quality of search results presented to them. We suggest the development of alternative content sources to enhance the authoritativenss of Local Search Systems.

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  • At our blog Exploring Local (http://blog.telemapics.com/), we have been exploring the concept of authority in mapping, business listings, geocoding and other areas of importance in Local Search. The presentation that follows points out several weaknesses in the local search system related to mismatches between the intent of searchers and the quality of search results presented to them. We suggest the development of alternative content sources to enhance the authoritativeness of Local Search Systems.
  • Authority In Local Search

    1. 1. Authority In Local Search Michael W. Dobson PhD President TeleMapics LLC [email_address] 1 949 305 7156
    2. 2. Authority And Location <ul><li>Authority </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Of acknowledged accuracy or excellence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly reliable, trustworthy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A place where something is located; a site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A position </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Local Search <ul><li>An attempt to search a database of business listings to determine the location of those businesses meeting the conditions stipulated by someone trying to find one nearby </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Connecting the location of the business with the searcher is the ultimate goal of the process </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Local Search Services <ul><li>Will be advertising or fee-driven </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advertisers and users will expect the process to be authoritative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People can find what they are looking for in the listings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>People can find the location in the real world </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The location provides the good or service desired </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Authority?
    6. 7. Is Local Search Authoritative? <ul><li>No – far from it </li></ul>
    7. 9. Error Sources In Local Search <ul><li>Map/navigation database </li></ul><ul><li>Business listings database </li></ul><ul><li>Geospatial functionality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geocoding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mapping techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Projection selection/translation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Datum selection/translation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Search functionality </li></ul>
    8. 10. So, Who Are The Authorities? <ul><li>Mapping </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Navteq? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TeleAtlas? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>US census? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ESRI? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OpenStreetMap? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google Map Maker? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business owners? </li></ul></ul>
    9. 11. Authoritative?
    10. 12. Authoritative?
    11. 13. Authoritative?
    12. 14. Who Are The Authorities? <ul><li>Business listings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>infoUSA? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Axciom? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>D&B? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amacai? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business owners? </li></ul></ul>
    13. 15. Who Are The Authorities? <ul><li>Geocoding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Navteq? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TeleAtlas? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>deCarta? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ESRI? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microsoft? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yahoo? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business owners? </li></ul></ul>
    14. 16. More On Geocoding <ul><li>Geocoding errors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average in residential areas is 25 to 168 meters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major errors common </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendor address match rates (98%,82%, 81%, 30%) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Average error distance in meters (1809, 748, 704, 228) </li></ul></ul>
    15. 17. In Other Words <ul><li>“You have no idea how bad these data are.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John Hanke (product director Earth/Maps/Sketchup – Google ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>During his presentation at ILM conference in 2007 </li></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 18. What Is Authoritative? <ul><li>Search functionality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Classification of business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specialization of business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What search terms should be used to find the business? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What details about the business should be presented to the searcher? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service and product taxonomies/folksonomies </li></ul></ul>
    17. 19. Who Are The Authorities? <ul><li>Search functionality </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yahoo? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microsoft? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Companies that data mine their search click streams? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business owners? </li></ul></ul>
    18. 20. Sources Of Error
    19. 21. Who Knows More Of The Answers Than Anyone Else? <ul><li>Business owners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Know where they are located (street address, next to bank of America, at the intersection of, mall entrance 2 east, etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know their business specialties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Know the client they want to attract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And can provide relevant keywords and information to do so </li></ul></ul></ul>
    20. 22. Where Is The Business Owner?
    21. 23. Why Do Business Owners Care About Local Search? <ul><li>Local search and mobile local search are replacing the yellow pages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Listings information is not being controlled to benefit the business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Correcting listing information requires significant effort, if it can be accomplished at all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lost connects result in lost business </li></ul></ul>
    22. 24. How To Improve Process? <ul><li>Owner generated content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Substitute owner-informed positioning for geocoding. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Involve business owner as curator of name, address, contact information. Product/service specialization and location. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Create a business registry - partner with the business owner </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now, let’s talk about how. </li></ul></ul>
    23. 25. Financial Considerations <ul><li>Many of the major companies that currently license business listings data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collect/generate business listings as a sideline made possible by other data collection activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Business listings internet revenue appears not to be a viable method of creating a company based solely on business listings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are there UGC alternatives? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Unlikely </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    24. 26. Alternatives <ul><li>Create an enterprise that partners with the business owner to perform these functions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business listings registry (authoritative) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business listings registry distribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Eventually real-time </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business listing SEO </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business website Geotagging </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring, assistance, hosting, SEO, advertising, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
    25. 27. Alternatives <ul><li>Revenue Sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business owner subscription </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tiered subscription depending on services </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Subscriptions both a revenue source and a measure of “time to live” for contact info. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>periodic contact </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modest distribution fee from online advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Possible additional services. </li></ul></ul>
    26. 28. Who Is Going Take This Challenge? <ul><li>Intuit? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acquired BooRah </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has a relationship with business owners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Already provides accounting and web services to SMBs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intellistry? </li></ul><ul><li>infoUSA? </li></ul><ul><li>Amacai? </li></ul>
    27. 29. One Final Note <ul><li>In some ways working with the business owner to create a registry of business listings is the correlate of driving the streets to create navigation databases. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data mining is not sufficient to create navigation databases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data mining is not sufficient to create authoritative directories of business listings </li></ul></ul>
    28. 30. For More <ul><li>See our blog Exploring Local </li></ul><ul><li>http://blog.telemapics.com </li></ul>

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