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apple-maps-connect

Last week, when we uncovered that Apple Maps had cut deals with at least ten new companies (e.g. Yext, Location3, Yodle, etc.) to provide business listings data, I got a few emails asking what the big deal was. Here’s what I see is going on:

  1. Apple has come to realize that organizing the world’s local business listings information is no small job
  2. Apple has come to realize that relying on big data aggregators is great for getting bulk but not so great for getting quality, particularly when you want real-time info like whether or not a location is open or closed at the moment
  3. By partnering with big local marketing tech co’s and agencies, Apple gets partners to do the heavy lifting in local data for the most popular local businesses, big multi-location brands and SMBs with budgets to hire these partners to take care of their data issues for them. My estimate is that these deals will cover about 1,000,000 listings in the U.S. alone. And with companies like Yext & Yodle expanding globally, over the next year, that number should grow considerably
  4. While I expect Apple to bring more partners into the fold over time, the companies on the initial list get a huge differentiator v. their competitors. To date, Apple Maps has been a virtual black box for most businesses but we are hearing from companies on the list that since we published the post they have been contacted by clients and potential clients who want to get more info on the service. At a time when it’s hard to tell one local digital marketing service from another, a slide depicting a direct pipeline into Apple Maps makes for a pretty sweet pitch deck. I imagine the companies that are not on the list – Moz Local, Local Site Submit, GoDaddy, Local Market Launch, MomentFeed, ReachLocal, Where2GetIt & RioSEO come to mind – have been Facetiming the Apple Maps team aggressively over the past few days.

I think this will be a big win for Apple Maps. If the system works, we should see a dramatic increase in POI data quality quickly. I know that Google has done similar deals like this with Yellow Pages companies in non-U.S. countries. Maybe they have even done them in the U.S. but I haven’t heard about it. Seems like a much better way to go than relying on some ever-shifting algorithm.

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6 Comments

  • Russ Offord  November 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Just FYI…

    I just talked with a Yodle rep and they informed me that they do not offer a standalone service for getting listed in business directories.

    That sort of submission service would be included as part of a larger monthly internet marketing package.

    Reply
  • Andrew Shotland
    Andrew Shotland  November 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Russ,

    You are correct. Yet another reason why these kinds of services are so confusing. Some sell bundles, some sell pure listings management, some sell pure bullshit.

    Reply
  • Mike Blumenthal  November 26, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Andrew
    I would suggest that this isn’t something new but rather a visible outcome of something that Apple has been working on for a long time. It is likely that they needed time to assess which lists and learn how to best integrate them.

    They bought locationary which has had this capability but it takes time for a company that is new to the space to learn, implement and execute. When I was at the European Yellow Page conference last spring Apple was there in a fair bit of force obviously forging relationships with a large number of list providers.

    Clearly their POI data was weak. That was obvious to us and them. Clearly there was a mandate and desire to improve.

    This change has been in the works for a long time. Hopefully it will result in more complete and accurate and timely data.

    Regardless I am sure that they are already working on the next step whatever that might be. They seem to be serious players in the space but want to try to figure out how to do it without the massive human capital that google is employing.

    Reply
  • Bernadette Coleman  December 3, 2014 at 7:17 am

    You are right Andrew. Though we thousands of businesses to submit, this is the recent response we received from Apple.

    Hello Bernadette,

    Thank you for your inquiry. We cannot accept your bulk submission at this time. It’s unfortunate, and we recognize that this might limit some great agencies in the short term. We will be in touch with you as our platform evolves and matures.

    -Maps Connect Team

    I will continue to keep you up to date on our progress…stand by.

    Reply
  • Andrew Shotland
    Andrew Shotland  December 3, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Bernadette, to Mike’s point, my guess is it’s only a matter of time before Apple has a solution that include additional agencies. Of course no way to tell if that means 6 months or 2 years, but they’ll get there.

    Reply
  • Anand  December 29, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Andrew

    This may only be tangentially relevant but I think the reason why Apple is in a hurry is because they may soon be offering app-recommendations based on your location. They had recently filed this patent application which you will find interesting:

    http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=10&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&p=1&S1=(apple.AS.+AND+maps)&OS=an/apple+and+maps&RS=(AN/apple+AND+maps)

    Reply

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