Archive | December 2007

Google Responds To Privacy Questions

Very interesting article on Google’s response to privacy by US Representative Joe Barton sent Google a letter with 24 questions relating to privacy — along with a week to answer them.

You’ll find the responses in this PDF file. Click on read more to see the responses in html – this post was originally found at Search Engine Land. read more | digg story

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Taking a Look at Local Merchant Pages in Canada

I thought it would be interesting to run a blog post comparing different ways to present information on local businesses in Canada. Most local business sites present information in a standardized way, so the following examples will give you an idea of what some of the most common players in Canada are doing. By the way – there are many small regional players in the local space, however, for this particular post I wanted to focus on sites that the majority of Canadians who recognize.

Lastly I had to reduce the images to fit within my blog post – so for a real comparison, please click on the images to load the full page.

YellowPages.ca has recently launched a new look merchant page – see screenshot below from Martin Grove Volkswagen in Toronto.

Martin Grove Volkswagon on YellowPages.ca

Here is a screen shot of the same company on Google Maps

Martin Grove Volkswagen on Google

Here is a screen shot from Yahoo Local

Martin Grove Yahoo Local


Can “OpenSocial” Bring Friendster Back into the Canadian Mainstream

Friendster

Remember Friendster? One of those early social networking sites. Well as of this week, they have made a couple of key announcements that could help bring friendster.com from the depths of the Canadian Internet space to – perhaps a competitor to facebook? Well – let’s not get carried away, but they have announced opening up a developer network as well as integrating with OpenSocial – both positive steps in the right direction, however, probably a little late – at least in the Canadian market. For the full story please read, Friendster developer platform goes live with over 180 apps.

From a local business perspective – your best bet is still facebook.com as a vehicle to communicate with your customers and friends. With the launch of facebook’s business solutions – there is a very viable solution for local businesses to get involved in the social space.

However, what about friendster? You know, at one point, they had a great service but what they are doing now is reactive not proactive. They, like myspace, are in reactionary mode to facebook and this is a touch position for any business to be in.

Anyway, as a FYI – here is a 12-month media trend comparing facebook.com, myspace.com and friendster.com in Canada – the graph speaks for itself as to what Canadians are using and where local businesses in Canada need to be.

Social Networking Graph in Canada

SMS Local Business Search Service in Canada

SMS (short message service) is a really easier way to access information on your mobile device such as cell phone or blackberry. In light of the recent announcement on November 29 by Yellow Pages Group in Canada, ” With the hectic holiday shopping season underway, finding a product or merchant is now easier with the new Yellow PagesTM directory on Short Messaging Service (SMS), better known as text messaging. For those looking for local businesses anywhere in Canada, the information is now literally at their fingertips using their mobile devices. Read the rest of this press release at YPG.com, I thought now would be a good time to give you a quick lesson on text messaging.

So how does SMS work? I will use the example of Yellow Pages Canada SMS using a cell phone:

1) First – you will want to go to your messages area on your cell phone (all manufacturers are a little different) but typically they have a message area with an option that indicated “Create Message”

2) In the “Create Message” area, make sure you select “Message” – some phones will give you the option of creating a voice mail, email, etc.

3) In the “Message” area, enter the following – taxi, toronto

4) After you enter your search query, typically in the bottom right or left corner you will see “Send To” – select that

5) Enter 935569 (YELLOW)

6) You will instantly get a response, via text, open up the response. For the search taxi, toronto – I received 9 found businesses – it will then list the names, via number, with the company names beside them.

7) When you find a business that you want to get more information on hit “Reply” (sometimes found within options) and type in the number of the business. This will send a reply back to the SMS service asking for more information on the business that is related to the number that you selected.

8.) The information that you get back from the system is the company name along with the phone number and address (if applicable, for example a search for a retail location will give you an address, some searches like taxis may not return an address).

9) Finally, complete your transaction by selecting Call – it will pre-populate the number for you so that you don’t have to dial-in.

SMS is a great service that can save you time and if you are roaming – usually text messaging is quite a bit more cost-effective than calling 411 or making a call back to the office. Remember there is a charge for SMS – for example, I pay 10 cents per message, but some plans offer unlimited text messaging – just check your carrier first so that you understand what you will be charged for this service.

Yellow Pages SMS:
935569 (YELLOW) for English
528637 (JAUNES) for French

Enter keyword or category followed by a comma and the location (city or postal code). You can also perform a reverse look-up by texting a business phone number.

Search examples:

* taxi, toronto
* pizza, M5V2T6
* pizza, M5V
* tow truck, vancouver
* 416-412-5999
* 4164125999

Finally – if you prefer to get your weather updates via SMS – check out the service from The Weather Network, however, they charge you a premium of 15 cents over your regular SMS charges.