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?
I am a little late in posting this, however after I got back from Kelsey Conference in Denver, Colorado I ended up getting pretty sick that knocked me out for a few weeks. I am back on the mend.
Alot of people have been asking me for the a copy of the presentation. I have added the presentation to SlideShare, which you can flip through below. I also have an audio recording of the presentation and the Q&A with Matt Booth after the presentation about our API Strategy.
The event itself was probably one of the best Kelsey’s that I have attended. The quality of the speakers was quite good. Typically the DMS conference at Kelsey tends to be more focused on the Yellow Pages industry with a slant towards the print side of the business. This conference really had a very good blend of the traditional side of local along with a strong digital focus. The next Kelsey event in December, in San Francisco (Interactive Local Media West) will be even better as this is the key event for anybody in the local digital space to attend. I will be attending if you are interested in meeting.
The best presentation of the show was the SuperForum: The Social-Driven SMB: Part IV: Social Advertising Case Studies. This was a panel with Will Scott, President, Search Influence and Marty Weintraub, CEO, aimClear. The description of this panel is, “There is no shortage of platitudes about how SMBs are embracing social media. Here, we’ll share real case studies of how small-business advertisers have mastered the art of turning fans and friends into paying customers”. This panel was incredibly dynamic, Marty had an energy level that is contagious and the content of the presentation and the case studies they shared are absolutely incredible. If you really want to understand social marketing you need to check this out.
Below are 2 presentation links. First is the audio portion of the presentation and underneath it is the slideshare slides.
In the audio portion it starts off with Matt Booth giving some details on the state of the market and the challenge for publishers. You can download his slides here.
At the 2 min mark of the audio is when my presentation starts that corresponds to the SlideShare presetnation below.
[wpaudio url="http://www.darby.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/11_kelsey_dms_09.mp3" text="Listen to the Audio Version of YellowAPI Presentation at Kelsey DMS 2011 in Denver" dl="0"]
Here is the SlideShare version of my presentation at Kelsey DMS11.
One of the latest deals to get announced by YPG Canada was 2 days ago with FourSquare, “Canada’s Yellow Pages Group Announces Strategic Agreement with foursquare“. Over the past 48-hours, I have definitely been receiving lots of positive feedback, but a few people have asked me the question – what does this specifically mean for YPG advertisers? Before explaining how this benefits YPG Advertisers, let me explain the deal itself. I am going to grossly simplify this, but in a nutshell, harmonization of data really means connecting the IDs of venue’s listed in FourSquare.com to venue’s listed on YP.ca. Once the IDs are connected, then YPG and any developer using YellowAPI.com can use 1 ID to interface with 2 APIs. Further to our announcement last year with Twitter, in face, usage of the YPG ID is also mapped to venue’s within Twitter, check out “Canada’s Yellow Pages Group Partners with Twitter“.
Why is this important for YPG advertisers? In a nutshell, it means more leads and more business. How is this you might ask? Two things – 1) with the synchronization of venue IDs, you have a scalable way to push future enhanced content to multiple external sources and 2) by adding more value to YellowAPI.com, ie) making developers lives easier, we will see more innovation in the local space which means as more and more applications are created to fulfill user needs, more and more leads will be delivered to local advertisers. In this scenario, the user wins (they have more choices of how they want to interact with local), the developer wins (they can focus on innovative apps), the local advertiser wins (they are getting more business to their location) and YPG wins (as we fulfill our commitment to drive more leads to our advertisers).
In April, I posted the Eco-System in Canada of YellowPages.ca which garnered alot of attention and mostly people commenting to me that they did not realize YPG was involved with so many partners. Here is the updated Eco-System slide, now with FourSquare:
To conclude, the past 48-hours is bring more attention to YPG’s data initiatives. Here is a round-up of the stories covering this announcement.
AboutFourSquare.com – YellowAPI becomes first Canadian partner for foursquare’s venue harmonization project
Direction Informatique – Groupe Pages Jaunes placera votre entreprise sur foursquare
Next Montreal – Yellow Pages Teams Up With Foursquare to Share Data
Kelsey Group – YPG Canada and Foursquare Team Up for Venue Harmonization
If you know of other locations, please post a comment and I will add to the list.
Did you know that 30% of YellowPages.ca traffic comes from mobile? Source: YPG.com. This news actually was announced during YPGs 1st quarter results and today, Greg Sterling did a post on his blog regarding this as well, see “YPG: 30% of Our Searches Come from Mobile“. This number is pretty impressive when you consider that only 2-years ago that number represented well less than 1%.
Another piece of news today is that the new YellowPages.ca application is a featured application in the iTunes store – this is pretty big news as you can’t buy your way to this placement, your application has to be deemed pretty good for the Apple editorial team to pick up.
For this blog post I thought it would be great to take a look back.
Having been with YPG since 2006, as an employee (actually been working with the company since 2001), I managed the team that launched YPG into the world of iPhone applications. Back in 2009 there was not a lot of focus on mobile, but since then the mobile team has expanded and is now under the leadership of Matthieu Houle, a colleague and friend of mine who as we say at YPG, is “rocking da house”. Under his leadership there have been 2 more releases of the YellowPages.ca iPhone application with the most recent only 1 month old.
Here is the evolution of the home page of the iPhone Application for YellowPages.ca
2009 (features included basic search for business, people and reverse, display ads, photos and videos)
2010 (features included hot links to popular categories, streamlined and more intuitive interface, all YP.ca content including videos and photos)
2011 (features include ratings and reviews, type ahead for categories and locations and customizable popular buttons)
Download the latest application here in the iTunes store.
On November 8, 2009, I did a blog post, “Canada’s Yellow Pages(TM) Mobile App, over 1/2 Million Downloads and 3 Reasons for its Success” which in terms of the number of downloads is no longer accurate (we are over a couple of million) but the 3 reasons why I believe Canadians love this application hold.
If you don’t want to read the full article, let me summarize the 3 reasons why back then Canadians loved this app and why it holds true today –
2) Content (even more so today) and
3) Usability (which gets better with every release).
How important is it for a local business to ensure that its basic listing data (name, phone number and address) is included in the YellowPages.ca database?
How important is it for a local business to ensure that its enhanced content (hours of operations, products, services, etc) are also included in the YellowPages.ca database?
Ultimately the above questions boil down to, “what’s in in for the SMB”. To help answer this, I have created the following eco-system slide that shows how/who the data from yellowpages.ca gets distributed across the consumer eco-system in Canada. NOTE: This is a representative sample of partnerships of companies that use portions or all of the yellowpages.ca database to offer a local connection to its audience.
For an SMB this boils down to two main reasons why this is important:
1) Time Saving – by having a central distribution of basic + enhanced listing data a SMB does not have to spend time to manage their data in multiple locations.
2) Consistency of Information – having the same information appear in a consistent manner across this eco-system allows a SMB to manage and control their message in a more manageable way.
If it is true that the users will continue to splinter into more consumer platforms it will become more and more critical for a centralized hub that can distribute that information.
In Canada, YellowPages.ca is a very important hub for the SMB market.
What do you think?
The last couple of months have been extremely busy on the business development front at Yellow Pages Group, hence my lack of posting. However, one integration that we have completed and launched is with Yahoo Mobile where we integrated YellowPages.ca data through our YellowAPI platform. This is a great win for Yahoo users and a great win for YPG advertisers.
Here is a walk through:
If you have not already, check out Yahoo on your iPhone. You can do this by typing in Yahoo.com or Yahoo.ca or going directly to m.Yahoo.com. You will land at the following home page:
If this is the first time you visit this page, Yahoo will ask you to use your location. If you select yes, it will use your current default location. Now you have two search options –
1) type in any local query, such as Dentists or
2) type in Dentists, Location if you want to search outside of your location.
Next you will be presented with the local results. Note: yahoo did a great job of detecting local intent queries, meaning, that in the above example for Dentists – the local results are at the top of the page, whereas if you searches for Britney Spears, you would not see any local results provided by YellowPages.ca.
At the search results level you have 3 options. First option is to click on the company name to get more details (see screenshot below), second option is to call the business directly or third option is to see more results.
If you select the first option you are automatically redirected to mobile.yp.ca (which is the mobile enhanced version of yellowpages.ca) where all the content, ad, video, pictures, maps, etc. are mobile optimized.
So what do you think of this integration?
One aspect of my job I really enjoy is that I get to experiment. Part of my role as the head of business development for Yellow Pages Group is to manage Traffic and Distribution which is about generating 3rd party traffic to YellowPages.ca. This gives me the liberty of working with most of the major Canadian online brands. Being a number’s guy also gives me the ability to clearly see what does and what does not work in the marketplace and how users react.
Although I can’t share specific numbers, I often like to ask people’s opinions as to what integrations they like or dislike. Many times the correlation between what people perceive as the best type of integration is consistent with the performance of an integration. Other times, what people believe is the best integration may not be the one that produces the best numbers.
So for today’s poll, I have 3 integrations of YellowPages.ca on major players in Canada, CBC.ca, GlobeandMail.com and TheWeatherNetwork.com. My question, which integration do you prefer?
The poll is located below the examples with the associated links.
CBC.ca on the My Region Page
Contained within CBC.ca is a section called MY REGION. This is an aggregated view of all the news, weather and information about your particular market. At the bottom of each of the MY REGION pages is a “What’s Nearby” section. If a user types in a search query, they are redirected to the “What’s Nearby” page on CBC (powered by YellowAPI.com) or if they click on any of the hotlinks, they are redirected to YellowPages.ca.
Check out the Montreal My Region to play with it yourself. Here is a snapshot of the integration:
Globe and Mail
For the Globe and Mail there are 2 integrations. One integration is part of their main search navigation, options there for Globe users include search for NEWS, QUOTE (this is stock quote), WEB, BUSINESS (this is yellowpages.ca) and PEOPLE (this is canada411.ca). The second integration is located on their content pages, on the right hand side, where a user has access to mini-search brick that contains, BUSINESS, PEOPLE and DEAL search.
To see a working example, check out the REPORT on BUSINESS Section on Globe and Mail to test both of the integrations above. I have also included a screenshot.
The Weather Network
Contained on every city page on TheWeatherNetwork.com is a YellowPages.ca search with links to popular categories. Of course everything is geographically relevant to the user so all clicks go to the appropriate place. The brick is located towards the bottom of the page under long-term forecast.
You can see a working example on the Toronto Weather page details. Here is a screenshot.
Now to the poll question, which integration of YellowPages.ca do you prefer?
Well the last 7-days have been nothing short of a great week for YellowPages.ca mobile.
- 1.8M downloads of its mobile applications
- 20% of business looks-up are coming from Mobile by the end of 2010
- launch of the Windows Mobile 7 Application, first local search application for Windows Mobile 7 (read press release)
- integration on one of Canada’s largest mobile news applications and mobile website, The Globe and Mail
- launch of AutoTrader.ca application for Blackberry (check out the Blackberry App World to download)
All in all, the momentum of YellowPages.ca is pretty impressive and is generating massive value for users and businesses a like.
In case you missed it, here is the screenshot of the Globe and Mail integration:
Download the Globe and Mail application from iTunes.
For the full list of mobile application provided by YellowPages.ca, check out YellowPages.ca Mobile.
In case you are wondering what the reach of Yellow Pages Group is on the web, check out my post from last week; Yellow Pages Group is Canada’s Largest Canadian Internet Company! Is It True? Yes, Here’s Why [Part 1]
Over the past few years I have blogged often about news in the Canadian Space regarding mobile. Up until this point in time, I never stated explicitly that mobile was a necessity for SMBs in Canada but, we are at the tipping point in Canada of mobile usage (especially SmartPhone usage) and it is now very important for SMBs to start thinking mobile and most importantly make sure their content is mobile friendly.
What is mobile friendly content from a SMB? In a nutshell, it is when you can view your content on a mobile device (Apple iPhone, Blackberry, Android, etc.) in a native format by which the user does not have to zoom or pinch the screen (for all your iPhone users). For this example, I am going to use my personal Dentist, Optimum Dentistry in Marda Loop to demonstrate the difference between Mobile Enhanced Content and Rendering on a Mobile Phone.
This is Rendering on a iPhone (and is not mobile enhanced content):
Hours of Operations Page:
This is Mobile Enhanced Content:
Hours of Operations Page:
As a user – which one your you prefer to land on?
Mobile enhanced content basically means rendering for the native device in which the user is viewing, which really means that your website designer need to put some specific code on your website that detects the users device and serves up content formatted for that device.
Normally, mobile sites will consist of less content than website. Keep in simple – a) what you do, b) hours of operations, c) map and driving directions (you can usually use the native device for this), d) what you sell. Keep all the enhanced content, flash, massive photo galleris and in some cases if you have advanced forms or e-commerce off you mobile site; devices are too small and in mobile, LESS = MORE.
1) If you don’t own a iPhone or Blackberry, find somebody who does and type in your website URL on the phone’s browser
2) If your site looks like the first example above, it is not mobile enhanced, call your web designer and if he/she can’t help, fire them and find somebody else
3) If your site looks like the second example above, then you are good to go
What About Mobile Marketing in Canada?
Well this is where it gets very easy. There are really 2 key places that you need to be concerned about when it comes to mobile marketing in Canada. Google and YellowPages.ca. NOTE: if you are a client of YellowPages.ca, all your business listing information gets syndicated to Google (as well as MSN and Yahoo). If you want a quick snapshot of syndication in Canada, check out an old blog post titled – Directory Assistance in Canada – Paid and Free DA – Facts Every Consumer and Small Business Owner Should Know.
Both Google and YellowPages.ca are completely mobile enhanced web properties. See examples below for looking at data on Ramanda Hotel and Suites in Vancouver.
To learn more about Google Mobile click here.
To learn more about YellowPages.ca Mobile click here.
The above are mobile web. In the application space, Google does not disclose its download numbers, but YellowPages.ca has now been downloaded over 1.8M times, which by all accounts makes it the most downloaded local application in Canada. At this point, any content that you have on YellowPages.ca is automatically ported over to YellowPages.ca Mobile + YellowPages.ca Mobile Applications, so SMBs are getting growing coverage.
In March of this year, I posted the following blog post which shows you some screenshots of the iPhone application by YellowPages.ca – New YellowPages.ca Mobile Application Available. In June, I followed up with the following post introducing the iPad application for YellowPages.ca – First Look – YellowPages.ca iPad Application which managed to become #1 within 24-hours of its launch and has consistently stayed in the top 50 downloaded applications.
Screenshot of iPad Application Search Results:
Enhanced SMB Content on the iPad:
Lastly, back in April I did a comparison of the top mobile applications in Canada, from a SMB perspective – the voting is still open if you want to vote for your favorite mobile interface, please do so.
In Conclusion …. 3 Tips for Canadian SMBs on Mobile Thinking
1) Make sure your content is mobile enhanced on your website URL (talk to your web design company)
2) Make sure your content is distributed in YellowPages.ca and Google (this will give you the majority of coverage and at this point is included in both offerings, no need to pay extra)
3) In your analytics, track the number of mobile views (you will probably be surprised at the increasing number of your customers who are accessing your basic business data via mobile).
Overtime as the mobile space heats up, this simplified strategy will change, but for now, keep it simple, prep your content and start to monitor usage.