Teeth Hurt? TrueLocal suggests McDonalds … or Midas!

Filed in Local Search by Matt McGee on April 24, 2007 7 Comments

I was just updating the Local Search Marketing Guide — you know, checking to make sure links aren’t broken, etc., when I stumbled upon a funny results page on TrueLocal.com for dentists in Los Angeles, CA.

TrueLocal mess up

Yikes! Anyone at TrueLocal home? Seems like a bug in the database somewhere. I’m just saying is all….

[tags]local search, truelocal.com, humor, funny[/tags]

Comments (7)

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  1. sheseltine says:

    Hmm, looks like more of a problem. The actual results are showing up below the ‘featured listings’, but those ‘featured listings’ are sometimes appearing out of context. Besides what you show up there, a search on doctors returns a church, and a search on opticians returns a real estate office, a linen store, and the local post office…

  2. ExposureTim says:

    lol – I never found TrueLocal to be very relevant. In my area, a search for “marketing” turns up the “Boston Market” restaurant, Tupperware, and the Sheraton hotel in the top three results. (The rest of the results aren’t better, but I won’t bore you.)

    It’s a shame, there is a real need for a site for local consumers to trust and there is plenty of opportunity for a vertical to be better than the majors are at local.

  3. Colin Carmichael says:

    I could try to justify why someone looking for a dentist might be interested in a burger or a muffler, but I’m not sure anyone would buy it. 🙂

    In a recent data update, we had a wee glitch that was complicated by a simultaneous change to our algorithm. The end result being the strange search results shown here – and those that Simon mentioned. The problem was diagnosed immediately but because we’re dealing with 14 million business listings the solution takes a bit of time. TrueLocal takes data quality very seriously so we’re taking a cautious approach versus rushing to apply a band-aid solution. We expect everything will be resolved by the end of the week.

    I’d also like to clarify that those logoed listings aren’t ‘featured listings’ in the sense of paid advertisers but are a by-product of TrueLocal’s FranDat (Franchise Dataset) product that allows us to collapse multiple nearby locations into one listing in the results. I should also mention that this problem is limited to TrueLocal.com and does not affect our Data Services products.

    Colin Carmichael
    Director, Product Development

  4. Matt McGee says:

    Colin – thanks for the detailed explanation on this. Makes perfect sense to me. I’m glad you dropped by to clarify what we’re seeing, and hope you’ll do so again in the future!

  5. ExposureTim says:

    It’s great to see feedback directly from TrueLocal, and may be possible for the dentist results in the post… but the sampling that I mentioned is nothing new at all. It’s been occurring since I first checked them out back in 05-06.

    The folks at TrueLocal should realize that people search for themselves or industries that are familiar with first.

    Thus, marketers might run a test for the word “marketing” and the results should NOT include the Boston Market despite that it’s a great place to have lunch and discuss marketing!

    Hopefully this is taken as constructive criticism. I wish them well.

  6. sheseltine says:

    Tim, I can understand why those results are showing up for marketing. Getting the right context when looking at words and their roots in a local search environment is a challenge.

    The company that I work for has a couple of different local search IYP products used by quite a few publishers, and we’ve hit some of the same challenges. For example, one advertiser – an insurance agent would show up when anyone searched for schools. After scratching our heads for a minute, we looked at the data and saw that the YP ad talked about how one of his specialties was that he would “school the uninformed about insurance”. Great, but not what you want when you’re looking for the local elementary…

  7. ExposureTim says:

    I can understand it too, I just don’t think it’s good enough.

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