Category Archives: YellowPages.ca

Holy Data Harmonization Batman : What Does That Mean Again?

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.

[FIRST LOOK] Yahoo! Canada Integrates YellowAPI.com for Local Search

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?

Data Harmonization: FourSquare and YPG Canada Round-Up

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

TechCrunch – Yellow Pages Teams Up With Foursquare For “Venue Harmonization Project”

Kin Lane – Canada’s Yellow Pages Group Joins Foursquare to Harmonize Data

Scribbal – Foursquare, Canada’s Yellow Pages Announce Strategic Partnership

Techplz – Yellow Pages and Foursquare team up in mutually beneficial deal

WashingtonPost – Yellow Pages Teams Up With Foursquare For “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

Tech Vibes – Yellow Pages Group announces Strategic Agreement with Foursquare

TD Waterhouse – Canada’s Yellow Pages Group Announces Strategic Agreement With foursquare

If you know of other locations, please post a comment and I will add to the list.

[SCREENSHOTS] Evolution of YellowPages.ca Mobile (2009-2011)

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.

YellowPages.ca Application Featured in the iTunes Store

YellowPages.ca Application Featured in the iTunes Store

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)  

YellowPages.ca iPhone Application From 2009
YellowPages.ca iPhone Application From 2009

2010 (features included hot links to popular categories, streamlined and more intuitive interface, all YP.ca content including videos and photos)

YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2010
YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2010 Search Results Page

2011 (features include ratings and reviews, type ahead for categories and locations and customizable popular buttons)

YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2011
YellowPages.ca iPhone Application 2011 Search Results Page

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 –

1) Simplicity,
2) Content (even more so today) and
3) Usability (which gets better with every release).

[Screenshots] Yahoo Mobile Integrates YellowAPI Data for Canada

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:

Yahoo Mobile 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.

Yahoo Mobile Search for Dentists

Yahoo Mobile Search for Dentists in Calgary

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.

Yahoo Mobile Search Results for Dentists in Calgary

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.

Mobile YellowPages.ca Page for Pineridge Dental Clinic

So what do you think of this integration?

[POLL] Best Integration of YellowPages.ca – CBC, Globe & Mail, or The Weather Network?

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:

CBC Integration of YellowPages.ca

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.

NOTE: there is also a mobile integration on the Globe and Mail iPhone Application, you can see screenshots here.

Globe and Mail Integration of YellowPages.ca

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.

The Weather Network Integration of YellowPages.ca

Now to the poll question, which integration of YellowPages.ca do you prefer?