VIDEO + SLIDESHOW: The Place Of Humans In Local Marketing

The Future of Local Search and The Human Algorithm by Justin Sanger Say goodbye to local search as we know it. We have entered into a period of the human algorithm. The future of local search marketing and social recommendations can be summed up in two words -- collaboration and trust. From the Marketing Land Digital Marketing Summit at SMX West 2014. Local & The Place of Humans Speaker: Justin Sanger, Founder & CEO, SupportLocal Follow along with the presentation slides below: [...]


Yelp Introduces Free Restaurant Reservations

yelp-featured Yelp is getting deeper into transactions. One manifestation of this is restaurant reservations. In July of 2013, Yelp bought reservations provider SeatMe. Today, it's announcing free restaurant reservations: Business owners can set up the free Yelp Reservations capability through their Yelp Business Owners Account and start filling tables with the millions of people that come to Yelp looking for a great business to try. Consumers can book straight from the Yelp business listing on mobile or desktop and get a text message reminder, as well as the option to cancel or change a reservation by t [...]


In 2014, Google Aims To Train 20,000 Third-Party Sales Reps To Sell Local

Kristin Colt When small businesses see Google as the "Wild Wild West" of confusing marketing opportunities, Google itself sees working with third-party companies as crucial to cutting through that confusion and fueling its growth. Google provided training to 13,000 third-party sales reps last year and aims to train 20,000 this year. The figure came during a talk by Kristin Coit, Google's head of directories and web hosting partnerships for Google in North America. She was speaking at LSA 2014, the annual conference of the Local Search Association. "We understand small businesses don't want to do [...]


FTC Discloses Small Business Complaints Against Yelp

yelp-featured Many small businesses continue to feel that Yelp is unfair or complain that Yelp salespeople are using strong-arm tactics to get them to buy advertising on the site. Claims of "extortion" against Yelp have persisted though never been proven with evidence and the company has successfully defended a number of lawsuits on those grounds. These "extortion" claims again resurfaced in two articles published this week. One in the Wall Street Journal, focused on a lawsuit brought by Hadeed Carpet in Virginia over anonymous, critical reviews on Yelp. The business owner claims that the reviewers we [...]


Infographic: Winning Local Through Search Engines, Yellow Pages, Maps & Reviews

local puzzle Virtually all consumers turn to the internet to find local products and services. Are you positioned to win them, as a local business? There are four key steps to consider: search engines, internet yellow pages, map services and reviews. The folks from Kenshoo Local have put together an infographic with these four key areas, along with specific tips and statistics: You can get the infographic yourself here: Solving the Local Search Puzzle. Related Articles Time For SMBs To Tackle – Or Be Tackled By – Online Reviews 10 Local Marketing Myths Hamstringing Your Business Google [...]


Google Celebrates The Web’s 25th Birthday With Plea To Keep It Free

25th Web anniversary birthday cake image " Today's Google homepage includes a small birthday cake image with a "25" candle on top to celebrate the web's 25th birthday. The image links to a post on Google's blog penned by the inventor of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, asking that everyone "fight to keep it free and open." Berners-Lee writes: On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more and speak up for the sort of web we really want [...]


Alex And Ani Begins Full iBeacon Rollout To Track Visitors In Its Retail Stores

Alex and Ani You may or may not have noticed the Alex and Ani Super Bowl commercial but it was effective (see below). Now the company is in the news again with the first full retail rollout of iBeacon (Bluetooth) indoor location technology in all 40 of its stores nationwide. While others are testing indoor location, no other retailer has completed such a rollout to all its locations. American Eagle previously announced a full-store deployment of iBeacon with ShopKick but that has yet to be completed. Alex and Ani is doing the rollout in partnership with Swirl Networks. Swirl deployed the hardware [...]


Coming To Google: Click On Ad, Get Free Ride To Merchant Or Restaurant?

Google self-driving car logo The day may be near when AdWords advertisers can offer customers immediate transportation to bring them to their locations right from an ad.  Google has been awarded the patent for "Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions" US 8630897 B1 which essentially allows advertisers to show a sort-of transportation ad extension offering free or discounted travel to their stores. A hair salon could include free or discounted transportation in its ads displayed during lunch hour to nearby office parks. Or as in Google's own example illustrated below, a restaurant could offer a lunch offe [...]


Hyper-Local Opportunity: 100 Billion Monthly Ad Impressions

local-maps-featured Earlier this week, AOL sold patch off, retaining a minority stake in a joint venture with Hale Global. The latter will now operate the Patch network of approximately 900 community sites. Hale has a history of taking over troubled companies. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed. What happens now is anybody's guess. Perhaps a workable model and cost structure for Patch can be found. Perhaps other assets that make Patch a better advertiser proposition can be acquired and combined. My guess is that Patch simply disappears over time. Absent a radical turnaround at Patch, its name will b [...]


Google: Aware Of Large-Scale Hotel Listing Hijackings, Working To Fix

google-plus-local Google is working to clean-up a situation where thousands of hotel listings in Google+ Local have been "hijacked" or had links leading to their official sites changed to lead to third-party booking sites. Thousands Of Hotel Listings Were Hijacked In Google+ Local is the story at Search Engine Land sister site that covers the situation in more detail. Initially, Google had no comment about the discovery. However, after publication, it confirmed that it was aware of the issue and working to fix it. [...]


Google Now Adds Walking & Biking Miles Accrued Over The Month

google-now-walk-bike-miles-1385991466 Google has quietly added a new feature to Google Now that tracks and reports on the miles you've walked and/or biked over the past month. Google Now users on Android have been noticing the new Google Now cards showing up at the beginning of this month, showing how far they've walked or biked in the past month. Supposedly this feature came out a month ago, but not many noticed. Now we are seeing the social networks light up about the new Google Now cards. Google calls the cards the activity cards and they say the numbers are "very rough approximation of how far you've walked or cycled [...]


Google Places For Business Rolls Out Review Inbox, Listing Customer Ratings & Reviews All In One Place

google-plus-local According to today's post on the Google and Your Business blog, Google Places for Business is rolling out a new Review feature. Now, businesses with a verified listing can see their customer ratings and reviews all in one place with the new Review Inbox that has been added to the Places for Business dashboard. Google says not only will all of a business's customer reviews and ratings be listed in the inbox, but businesses can respond directly to reviews, as well as encourage customers to leave a review on a Google+ page. From the Google Places for Business blog post: If you feel your b [...]


Google+ Invades The Android 4.4 “KitKat” Phone App: What It Means For Businesses & People

google-kitkat-nexus5-featured Practically no one has a phone with Google's latest Android 4.4 operating system on it yet. But the system, nicknamed KitKat, will shortly be spreading beyond the Nexus 5 launched last week. When it does, people with Android 4.4 will discover that their phone's dialer has become integrated with Google+. That'll have a big impact on how business and people are found, plus how things appear when calls come in. A primer on the change. What's The Phone App & The Dialer? The "phone" part of "smartphone" is about making voice calls. Remember those? The Phone app is how you make those calls i [...]


Microsoft’s New “Bing Offers Card-Linked” Aims To Streamline Local Deals For Merchants, Drive New Customers

bing-offers-logo The name "Bing Offers Card-Linked" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but there are several aspect's of Microsoft's latest iteration of the Bing Offers local deals aggregation program that will appeal to both merchants and consumers.  The move, along with the formation of the new CardLinx Association, puts Microsoft among the big league players in the local deals game. Here's a scenario: You're online and findan offer for $10 off at a local restaurant. Instead of printing out or downloading the offer, you link the offer to one or more of your credit or debit cards -- making it "card link [...]


Yelp More Likely To Filter Extreme Reviews & New Accounts [Study]

yelp-featured Yelp keeps the details of its review filter algorithm secret, for obvious reasons, but a new study suggests that there are some things about the review and the reviewer that are more likely to trigger the filter. Michael Luca and Georgios Zervas recently published a working paper, Fake it Till You Make it: Reputation, Competition, and Yelp Review Fraud, that's based on a study of more than 316,000 Yelp reviews of Boston restaurants. Their study covered more than 3,600 different businesses. They found that Yelp's review filter had hidden more than 50,000 of those, or about 16 percent of a [...]


Foursquare Launches Self-Serve Promoted Listings For Small Businesses

FourSquare Today, Foursquare announced the launch of self-serve promoted listings for small businesses. The company started testing promoted listings with a handful of local New York City businesses in early June. The new ads don't rely on user check-ins. Local businesses can promote their listings and offer specials to nearby users. Foursquare says they have been fine tuning their targeting technology during the past year of piloting their ad programs. The self-serve ads rely on the same algorithm that powers Foursquare's Explore recommendation engine. Below is an example ad from the Foursquar [...]


Apple Buys Locationary To Clean Up The Location Data Mess

Apple maps Reported earlier by AllThingsD, Apple has acquired Toronto-based location-data management startup Locationary. Apple was seeking both the company's data management capabilities and the expertise of CEO Grant Ritchie and his team. The application of the technology is relatively straightforward: it's an investment in making Apple Maps and its local data much better. In my experience, Apple Maps has not been as "bad" as the criticism. Indeed, I've found a number of errors in Google Maps recently, which I tend to use more often than Apple Maps on my iPhone. Locationary and its "Saturn" pl [...]


Google Retires Latitude, Pushes Google+ Location Sharing Features

With the announcement of the new Google Maps app release today came news that Google will be retiring Latitude in all of its various forms on August 9. The tool that allowed Google Maps users to find friends and share their location will no longer be available. No more Latitude for Google Maps on Android, Latitude for iPhone, Latitude API, Latitude public badge or iGoogle Gadget. The Latitude website at maps.google.com/latitude is also being shut down. Retiring Latitude is part of Google's efforts to push Google+ and the location sharing features now included in Google+ for Android. Whil [...]


New Google Maps App Offers More Search Functionality, Navigation Features & Dedicated Tablet Design

Google Maps logo Google is rolling out a new Google Maps app for Android devices starting today, with iPhone and iPad versions on the way. The new app will include more search functionality, updated navigation features, Zagat reviews and discount offers for specific destinations. Among the new app features, users will be able to find locations without typing by tapping the search box to see cards displaying eat, drink and shopping options. There are also two new navigation features, including one that reports road problems along with incident details, and another that lets users know if a better route is a [...]


Yelp Platform Brings Transactions To Local Business Pages

yelp-logo Yelp has formally announced a new tool called Yelp Platform that turns its local business pages into a platform for consumer transactions. It's somewhat similar to, but not to be confused with the call-to-action product that Yelp recently began offering to advertisers. Today's launch is narrow. It's focused specifically on the restaurant category, and allows consumers to order food for delivery or pickup from about 100 restaurants that are supported by Delivery.com and/or Eat24. Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman told the MobileBeat conference today that Yelp will handle most of the experience f [...]


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