Now I’ve Seen Everything in Local Search

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on May 18, 2009 15 Comments

Have a look at what I came across while poking around on some local search queries last night:


That’s a search for “seattle italian restaurant” and, nope, I’ve never seen a TinyURL link used in a local business listing on Google (or any search engine, for that matter). This isn’t Google’s doing — the business owner has claimed this listing, added photos and business information, etc.

But he doesn’t seem to have a web site. The TinyURL link, interestingly, links to the restaurant’s business listing on Yelp, which has 48 reviews and a 4-star average — not much different than the 36 reviews and 4-star average right on the Google Maps listing.

Have you ever seen a TinyURL used like this in a local business listing? What’s your guess on why the business owner is doing this?

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  1. SearchCap: The Day In Search, May 18, 2009 | May 18, 2009
  1. Duane Brown says:

    I would assume they want to track how many people are looking and click on the ad from that link. But Google’s account can tell you that. If they setup a few listing this would make sense.. so I’m not sure. It’s interesting.

  2. Todd Mintz says:

    If there is no rule against it, it’s actually pretty smart though redirecting a branded domain name to Yelp would be a better play.

  3. Backup says:

    There might be some rule in the AdWords program that prevents you from using a url that you do not own yourself in an ad? In some countries you are not allowed to use brand names that you do not own so I think there might be a similar rule for sending traffic to a url you don’t own?

  4. My guess would be that it ties back to reporting as Duane mentioned. If I remember correctly TinyURL has an API that could be pulled into a reporting interface. Yes, Google shows clicks in the LBC, but has no API to export to a client reporting dashboard (ie for an agency, etc). Again, just a guess.

  5. Miriam says:

    I have seen Western Union as a url for a bakery, so at this point, I’m beyond surprise, I think. That, too, was a case of the business having no apparent website, but apparently having something to do with the bakery being one of those businesses where you can send money to Mexico. Ah, Maps!

  6. Mike says: is a company that use short url ( redirects to a site with a long url. This customer does not have a website, and just to give the impression of a web presence they are are using their profile page on yelp as a kind of microsite, but don’t want to display the super long + extension as their site.

  7. Matt McGee says:

    I think we all know what tinyurl is, Mike, but thanks. The thing is, Google doesn’t show long URLs in Maps — they only show the domain, so he could put his Yelp URL in the system and it would only show as And that seems more enticing to click on to me than a tinyurl.

    But if Alex is right that there’s an API where some stats could be had, it starts to make a little more sense.

  8. Not seen this one yet. Maybe they just can’t afford a site.

    This is another I saw recently:,-2.197894&view=text&hl=en&gl=uk&q=Emma%27s+Occasions+Newtownards&ie=UTF8&sspn=0.006295,0.024952&latlng=54592218,-5691767,18443105795571432786&ei=UJEVStH3Ec2TjAfHwdn1CA&cd=1

    Seems to be a large printing company using fake profiles to clean up with geographic terms. It’s first result for “Greetings Cards Northern Ireland”

  9. Allyn says:

    No no no, you guys are missing the real point here. It is a breakfast choice on the menu, the “Tiny Url” (pronounced ‘earl’) with eggs, bacon and parm cheese! LOL

  10. David Hopkins,

    I see many spam flower/florist business listings showing up in local searches. Primarily for smaller cities. Google is not making it very easy to report these.

  11. Carl says:

    I have a different take on why he is using his yelp profile page as a website. Many small business owners don’t like to spend money. They see things (advertising) as an expense, and I bet he sees a website as another expense, with no chance for any ROI. So he does the next thing he can think of, use his YELP profile page as his website. It does have all his important information, address, phone number etc. However, in his quest to save some money, he has now lead every prospective customer to Yelp where they will start looking at other options, and he might lose these customers. If he would have sent them to his REAL website, then he has their FULL attention. They still might not go to dinner there, but atleast his chances of converting then to paying customer is greater, then the yelp idea.

  12. Turundus says:

    I think that this business owner heard that one of his friends is using internet for business promotion. He said: I got to have this also!. So he logged into Yelp as his friend an put his business information up. Wise friend suggested that he should promote his Yelp account and Tinyurl was the best solution. So he has a website, its in Yelp. Soon there will be Internets in THE Internet, and maybe some of them will be bigger Internet than THE Internet…. spooky

  13. Joe says:

    Could be one of a couple reasons but two particularly come to mind…
    1.) He is a small shop not in need of a website when his massive number of reviews online do the talking for him. Look at the pics on the profile…the place is smaller and kind of a mom and pop feel…why waste advertising dollars on a site? (in his mind not mine)
    2.) He knows that by having TINYURL on the map results he automatically stands out in comparison to those with traditional URLS. Just a thought. Great observation though!


  14. Marc Liron says:

    They have stopped using it now.

    Just the default

    Wonder if they were asked to stop using it?


    Marc Liron MVP

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