2013 has been a great start for YPG again and my role as head of business development. We closed off 2012 with a landmark deal with Yahoo to power their local search, “[FIRST LOOK] Yahoo! Canada Integrates YellowAPI.com for Local Search” and have started off 2013 expanding that relationship along with a number of new deals that are at various stages of completion.
One such deal is our recent announcement to become Canada’s largest Premium SMB Partner of Google in Canada. We are now the only partner of Google who services businesses in every province in Canada and in both official languages which is pretty cool. You can read the official press release, “Yellow Pages Group Selected by Google as an AdWords Premier Partner for Small Businesses“.
As part of this announcement I have done a guest post on LifeInYellow.ca titled; Investing in Partnerships That Benefit Our Small Business Clients. In this post I talk about the importance of a robust partner eco-system to ensure that we get SMB information in front of as many consumers as possible.
Click on the link about or the image below to read my latest post.
This is a follow-up post (I am few months behind actually getting this post up) to an announcement we made in 2011 with our data harmonization deal with FourSquare. Since that time we have done the same thing with OpenTable and TripAdvisor and have launched an internal DealsAPI (soon to be public, check out our DEALS API page) which aggregates local deals.
So what is data harmonization. In a nutshell, it is matching two separate databases and matching the records that are the same. In the case of local, its about mapping business “A” in one database to the same business “A” in the second database. Google was one of the first real data matching pioneers when they were aggregating local content from many sources into their place pages (remember those good old days).
What is really more important is the output of doing this. The output of matching data boils down to a creating a better and more robust user experience by combining presenting information from multiple sources to help users make better decisions.
So in practice here is what the end product looks like.
Let’s take a look at Tipperary’s Pub on YellowPages.ca. As an aside; if you like thick crust pizza, this is one of the best places in Calgary.
Here is an image of the standard information you would expect; name, address, map. Notice right above the map on the right hand side is the first indication that this listing has additional content from TripAdvisor.
When you scroll down the page the user has a couple of sources of reviews to look at. Reviews that comes from YellowPages.ca users and reviews that come from TripAdvisor
To the right hand side on the page, the user also has the ability to look at tips and who has checked into this location courtesy of FourSquare.
The mobile experience is the same thing. If you want to check out the Tipperary Pub mobile page.
On this page you will notice the reviews from TripAdvisor, checkins/tips from FourSquare as well as the photos from FourSquare.
So what’s next.
We are working on bringing more of these content partnerships into place. Soon we will be opening up the ID’s of our partner venue’s through YellowAPI which will then make it super easy for developers to mash up content just like we did on YellowPages.ca. If you have local content that can be mapped to a specific location in Canada that you think might be useful, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
This is a first comparison of before and after screenshots of the new expanded relationship between Yahoo! Canada and Yellow Pages Group using YellowAPI to power Yahoo!’s local search in Canada. Yahoo and YPG have had a pretty long standing relationship in Canada that started with a customized version of YellowPages.ca built for Yahoo! users back in 2007. You can see this in action at Yahoo.YellowPages.ca. Then Yellow Pages Group provided it basic listing data to Yahoo for Yahoo! local property which was located at Ca.Local.Yahoo.com (NOTE; this URL now redirects to yahoo.yellowpages.ca). Then last March – Yahoo! Canada integrated with YellowAPI to provide local results for its mobile users, you can see my blog post, [Screenshots] Yahoo Mobile Integrates with YellowAPI. And rolling out now is the new integration of YellowAPI powering the local search results in Yahoo! web search and with the links going to Yahoo’s customized version of YellowPages.ca.
Click on any of the images below to see the full screenshot.
I also encourage you to visit Yahoo.ca and enter a local search query such as dentists in toronto, restaurants in calgary, etc. and play with this integration yourself.
Dentists in Toronto (Before)
Dentists in Toronto (After)
Restaurants in Calgary (Before)
Restaurants in Calgary (After) – Note the reviews, this is coming from YellowAPI
Lawyers in Montreal (Before)
Lawyers in Montreal (After)
Sushi in Vancouver (Before)
Sushi in Vancouver (After)
So what do you think of this new integration?
Like most Canadians my life is greatly influenced by weather. Knowing the forecast helps me make decisions on what I need to wear, what to pack when I travel and where to select a vacation destination. On the business side, I have always been fascinated with weather because it is one of those really boring businesses (nothing sexy about it), has high user frequency and is a pretty decent way to sell targeted advertising.
In fact, after I sold KS2 Solutions in 2005 I almost joined Pelmorex (known for TheWeatherNetwork.com or MetroMedia.com) to head up their sales in Western Canada. I ultimately decided to join Yellow Pages Group in early 2006. In January 2010 I ended up striking a partnership between YellowPages.ca and TheWeatherNetwork.com, read the post here – The Weather Network add Local Search and YellowPages.ca adds Weather – A Deeper Look at this Partnership.
Bottom line – weather has been an important part of my business and personal life.
My latest venture into weather is an investment in a new Montreal based start-up that is taking precipitation forecasting to a hyperlocal level, called SkyMotion Research. You can learn more about the company at SlideShare. They recently had some write-ups in popular blogs, check them out here:
Currently the application is iOS based with an Android version coming soon. See screenshot below which was a short-term forecast at my office in Calgary. You can download the iOS app here. You can also play with the online version at SkyMotion’s website, just enter your address.
I can definitely say that I am not alone when it comes to the importance of weather. Exactly how big is the weather market in Canada? Here are some stats you might find interesting.
This is 2012.
This is Canada.
This is the age of mobile.
Yet marketing teams continue to waste time, money and effort on deploying useless mobile engagement. The result of poor execution for the company; time, cost and failure to collect valuable user information. The result for the user; frustration.
What is most astounding to me is that during the entire process of building the strategy, mapping out the campaign and the associated collateral that somebody did not test this execution and say, “Wait a minute, this is not functional. We need a different execution”.
So, what has me going. Here is the scenario.
Early this week I met a long-time friend of mine for lunch at Original Joe’s in Kensington. I had the Fish and Chips and my friend had the Cob Salad. All in all the meal was good and the conversation even better. When we received the bill they included the following;
I was impressed that they included a QR Code on the survey. To me this makes a lot of sense to capture feedback at the time of checkout. What also is smart is that by including a QR Code, it gives a person immediate access to the survey on their smartphone. This is definitely going to generate a higher volume of responses than waiting for a person to get to their home/office to complete the survey at OriginalJoesSurvey.com.
As I pulled out my iPhone, ready to provide some good feedback, here is what I encountered. Read More…
In the past 2-weeks some interesting news in the Canadian media space has happened. First, on March 16, BCE announced the purchase of Astral Media for 3.38B and second Borrell Associates has released its 2011 Revenue Survey, Benchmarking Local Online Media. There are 4 Canadian companies listed in the Borrell revenue survey which are Yellow Media Inc, Transcontinental, TorStar Digital and PostMedia and their ranking by north american digital revenues are #7, #14, #21 and #24 respectively. The largest 3 players in terms of revenues where AutoTrader.com, AT&T YellowPages.com and Groupon.
Borrell does some interesting comparisons in their report such as average online revenue per site by operator and average per-market ad revenue for local pure-play internet companies. In the latter category Groupon leads followed by Craigslist.org and AutoTrader.com. However, I wanted to take a more CDN view of this data.
First, I decided to take a look at the past 6-months average ComScore UV’s for each of the networks listed above.
The data is as follows;
Well it feels good heading back to Boston this week for the ILMEast Conference. This is my first opportunity this year to head south of the border after spending the last quarter of 2011 in and out of the hospital.
Looking forward to the conference and hearing from some of the keynotes speakers; I am especially interested to hear what Leslie Berland, SVP of Digital Partnership for American Express. AMEX has really been active in the digital space around the deals segment. Some of other keynotes that should be interesting are Jay Herratti of CityGrid and Michael Silberman of New York Media to name a few.
Of course there are lots of meetings on tap with companies that Yellow Pages Group is interested in, companies we are already doing business with and of course companies who are interested in working with us.
If you happen to be at Kelsey and want to connect, send me a message via twitter @darbysieben.
Since joining Yellow Pages Group as an employee in 2006, I have spent a lot of time in airplanes and hotels. My airline of choice is Air Canada (yes, I am Super Elite) because of the upgrades to business class; which despite what some Westjet loyalists say (you know who you are) is important when you plan to do work. For the most part my experience has been pretty good, but then there are the odd times things get messed up.
I have had allot of firsts in the past 6-years (losing luggage, delays, getting spit on accidentally by kids, seen people get kicked off the plane, seats breaking mid-flight) but this past Sunday I experienced another first. This time, as I was boarding the plane, the attendant pulls me back and says, “sorry sir but you have been off-boarded from this flight by your concierge“. For context, I was on the 9am flight leaving Calgary to Toronto and was seated in 4A. After waiting until the plane was fully boarded the gate attendant spoke to my concierge service. Turns out she made a mistake by hitting the wrong key on the computer which off-boarded me that resulted in the gate attendant giving another person my seat. Anyway, I got my seat back after the gate attendant went onto the plane to tell the person sitting in 4A that they will have to move back into economy.
This day their might have been two firsts; getting off-boarded and being only minutes away from enjoying business class only to be bumped in the last minute. That person was definitely enjoying business case; they had already finished their pre-flight orange juice.
Speaking off travel I am also an avid user of FourSquare. Really interesting usage of the FourSquare API is by a company called tripsQ. Basically you connect your FourSquare account and it provides you with a nice visual of key stats regarding your travel. Since 2010 I have travelled 87% of the distance to the moon.
If I had data going back to 2006, I think I might be at the moon and back twice already.
Click here to see the my tripsQ page - http://tripsq.com/darbysieben