Local Search News Roundup

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on November 29, 2007 0 Comments

Search-related companies always seem to make newsy announcements when there are industry events going on, and this week is no exception: The Kelsey/SES Local show is going on down in Los Angeles, and there have been a bunch of local search-related announcements.

CitySearch is partnering with Merchant Circle, which is no surprise given IAC’s recent investment in MC. (IAC owns CitySearch.) The two companies will be sharing access to each other’s platform and customers. The press release is kinda funny where it says, “MerchantCircle has successfully engaged over 300,000 proactive merchants to build out their profile page, upload photos, create coupons, and interact with millions of local customers online.”

What it should really say is that Merchant Circle has successfully scared a couple hundred thousand small business owners by calling them with a warning that a negative review has been posted online, and making them create a Merchant Circle account to see it — and often, there’s no negative review to be found. Any claim of business signups that Merchant Circle makes has to be taken with a chunk of salt. If this is all new to you, click the link earlier in this paragraph, or read Rae’s rant about them, or Peter Krasilovsky, who says the “vast majority” of their merchants “may have been duped”, or just read the overall roundup on ValleyWag. Yep, I don’t like the way Merchant Circle does business; it’s not friendly to small businesses. And I don’t appreciate their blog comment policy, either.

In other news… Google and Hearst-Argyle have a new agreement that they think will help bring the joy of AdWords to small businesses in local markets.

This is kind of interesting, though who knows if it’ll work: Where2GetIt introduced a new product called “Search Locator” that the company says will help national brands do better in local search — it “includes development of locally optimized Web pages for national brands’ locations.” In theory, that’s the way to do it. I guess time will tell if they get the execution right.

As far as conference coverage is concerned, there’s a lot, but let me recommend a few. You’ll call me a homer for linking first to my employer’s Local Point blog (where I post not often enough), but you simply must read Matthew Berk’s thoughts on the Google model of local search (which is crude, offering a search box and a set of results) versus almost every other local search site out there (which offers categories, refinements, and more). Great thought piece there. These other Local Point posts are also excellent:

Andrew Shotland also nicely sums up the Facebook presentation. Sounds like a fun and interesting conference so far to me, and there’s still one day to go.

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