VIENNA, Va. (June 21, 2011) – Aiding location-based app and site developers’ quest to create the most engaging, highly-adopted user experience, Localeze, the largest business listings identity management provider for local search, today is sharing its best practices in building a foundational Place index utilizing local business listing data.
“With competing streams of data sources, developers must layer different types of data on a stack to create a truly useful and rich set of accurate business points when they build mobile apps, social sites or local search directories,” said Gib Olander, vice president of market development, Localeze. “People or companies often have a bias when creating a business identity and user-generated content, check-ins and advertising influence the findability and utility of a business listing. This poses a challenge for developers trying to use this information to produce a complete user experience.”
As business data is the foundational component to creating a location-based solution, app and site developers should consider the following:
1) Anchor Business Listing Identities Are Critical – Oftentimes, application developers fall into the trap of solely using advertising listings to build their data set. While advertising listings can be a source of supplemental content to layer on the stack, be aware of the tradeoff. If an advertising listing is the basis for a business representation in an index, then the local search platform is dependent on that business being an advertiser. If that business stops advertising, the listing and associated descriptive content like reviews, ratings and check-ins may disappear, damaging the usefulness of the app and breaking user trust.
2) Standardize Your Category Structure – A standard category schema allows for efficient browsing and sharing of content. Data needs to be either mapped to industry standards or segmented and shared via common category buckets. While developing unique naming conventions might enhance your presentation layer, make sure you are mapped to a consistent hierarchical classification system within the index. Also, the layer needs to work well with other data in the ecosystem and give developers the best opportunity to utilize all geo-specific content available including advertising, user-generated content and more.
3) Don’t Confuse Crowd-Sourced Data with an Anchor Identity: Using crowd-sourced content has proven to be a good way to gather unstructured content from popular geographies and categories, but it has limitations. Keeping these data sets current, complete and accurate is difficult by utilizing user-generated content alone. This type of content takes on the bias of the creators and typically does not generate a large amount of detail for categories beyond entertainment, travel and health/beauty, especially in less populous geographic areas. Instead, app developers should rely on a complete set of normalized data to ensure they are categorizing all relevant businesses on the map, no matter the geographic area.
Working with a broad range of mobile applications like Facebook, Twitter, Fwix, WHERE and Foodspotting, Localeze has experience navigating the challenges using the varied and growing sources of data to build a location-based solution.
Localeze is the largest business listings identity management provider for local search. As a trusted partner, Localeze maintains direct, authorized relationships with local search platforms, national and regional brands, channel partners and local businesses. The company provides businesses essential tools to verify, manage and enhance the identity of their local listings across the Web. Through these relationships and access to authoritative local business information, Localeze is the largest provider of trusted, enhanced online local business listings in the local search industry. Localeze is a privately held company headquartered in Vienna, Virginia. For more information, visit www.localeze.com.