More on Grayboxx & Local ratings

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on October 22, 2006 1 Comment

You may recall my post last week which mentioned the new Grayboxx local service which claims to have developed an algorithm that offers business ratings across hundreds of categories. I scoffed at the idea of using tagged photos as a ranking tool, and CEO Bob Chandra dropped in to reply (thx, Bob) to that specific element of my post, and to explain a bit more about the algorithm grayboxx is using:

“…grayboxx’s PreferenceScoring, which works on various kinds of user data (tagged photos are actually a small fraction of our engine data), generally correlates with both critic’s picks and user rankings in the few categories that users and critics get around to ranking. We then provide ranked results to about 2,500 categories uniquely.”

On the Search Engine Watch blog today, Greg Sterling offers his own update on the service, and hits on what I think is also going to be a key component — grayboxx’s willingness in the future to open up and show how it has managed to come up with so many “ratings” for so many small businesses:

While he wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics, Chandra says Grayboxx compiles data from many sources, some of which are considered proxies for user recommendations. The methodology, however, raises the question of the accuracy and validity of the recommendations.

Grayboxx hasn’t formally launched yet, but it’s still interesting to compare various searches as a way of guessing where the ratings are coming from. For example, why would hair salons in San Jose get vastly more ratings than car washes in San Jose, which also get vastly more ratings than photographers in San Jose?

The things that make you go “Hmmmm….”

[tags]local search, user reviews, ratings, grayboxx[/tags]

Comments (1)

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  1. bobchandra says:

    Matt,

    You write: “Why would hair salons in San Jose get vastly more ratings than car washes in San Jose, which also get vastly more ratings than photographers in San Jose?”

    Let me try to address this. It’s more likely that someone would store a phone number for a hair salon to set up an appointment than the phone number or address of a car wash. As far as photographers, it turns out there are more implicit recommendations for photographers than car washes…one just has to scroll down to see the full list of photographers (we are modifying the correlation between query term and business categories so that these results will show further up). Hope this helps. Look forward to your continued coverage and review of grayboxx.

    -Bob

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