The iOS App Business for Retailers is About To Get a Little Crazy

June 4th, 2014

MacRumors reports that iOS8 features the app for nearby retailers showing up on your phone’s lock screen. For example, if you are in a Starbucks, the Starbucks app icon will appear on your lock screen:

ios8 location alerts


“It appears that Apple will also suggest apps that are not installed when visiting certain locations. For example, a Twitter user who did not have the Costco app installed had a Costco app icon pop up when at local Costco, which took him to the App Store where he could download the app. “

If you are a business with a physical location that customers visit, be prepared to be hounded by app developers.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Apple Maps
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Everything You Wanted To Know About Duplicate Business Listings…

May 22nd, 2014

…but not really.

I mean who really wants to understand how duplicate business listings are created and how the problem can be solved? It’s not exactly cocktail party conversation.

But if your business is affected by them, like every business that relies on local search traffic is, perhaps you might want to take a few minutes out of your day and read the white paper I wrote for Yext, The Definitive Guide To Duplicate Business Listings.

Here’s the fancy graphic they made for it:
Yext Duplicate Business Listings

Click to enlarge

And if you’re really interested in the subject, check out Why Duplicate Business Listings Are Like The Walking Dead.

→ 4 CommentsTags: Local Data
Posted by Andrew Shotland

The Top Marijuana Directories & Citation Sources

May 12th, 2014

You’ve got a marijuana dispensary or related business. You want to build awareness, rank well in Google for local cannabis-related queries and you want more customers. A good place to start is making sure your business is listed on the following sites:

Top U.S. Local Directories That Allow Marijuana-Related Businesses
Top U.S. Local Directories That Display Marijuana-Related Businesses But Not Categories
Top U.S. Marijuana Dispensary Directories

Top U.S. Local Directories That Allow Marijuana-Related Businesses
The following are top national Internet Yellow Pages (IYPs) sites that have categories for marijuana businesses. All of them allow you to add your business listings for free:

  1. Citysearch
    CitySearch Medical Cannabis
    Categories: Alternative Medicine > Medical Marijuana Dispensaries > Health Clinics
    Example Profile: THC Medical Doctor
  2. Dexknows.com
    DexKnows.com Logo
    Categories: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
    Example Profile:
    First Hemp Bank Cannabis Club
  3. Foursquare
    Foursquare Cannabis
    Categories: Marijuana Dispensary > Drugstore/Pharmacy > Smoke Shop > Medical > Lab > Shop
    Example Profile: Rocky Mountain Medical Marijuana [

→ 19 CommentsTags: Local Search · Medical Marijuana
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Is That A 5″ Screen in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

May 5th, 2014

That was the proposed name of the awesome panel I am going to be moderating at Street Fight Summit West in San Francisco on June 3rd:

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 2.52.56 PMGrinder Logo

Hot, Local Action
Sure, smartphones are great for finding a nearby restaurant or getting an Uber car, but the true innovation was making it easier for all of us to hook up. In this panel, two of the most popular location-based dating apps get up close and personal, exploring the exploding $2B+ local, mobile personals industry — and what other local marketers can learn from their successes. Find out how these apps are spreading the local love.
Andrew Shotland, Proprietor, Local SEO Guide (moderator)
Jonathan Badeen, Co-founder, Tinder
* Steve Levin, Global Head of Sales, Grindr

This is one local search panel you will not want to miss. Still trying to convince my wife those apps on my phone are for research…

→ 2 CommentsTags: Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland

You Don’t Need a Website to Rank Well in Google Places

April 25th, 2014

sushi pleasanton


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→ 5 CommentsTags: Google Place Pages
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Connectivity.com Takes a Shot at Local CRM

April 24th, 2014

Connectivity.com Logo

Whenever I run into the guys from Yellowbot (aka Solfo) at a local search conference, the exchange is typically something like “hard to believe we are at another one of these things…”.

In other words, ErronEmad and the gang have been at the Local game a long time.  I was surprised when Matt Booth jumped the BIA Kelsey ship to join as their CEO. While I had always thought that the Yellowbot team had done some quite interesting stuff with reputation monitoring, their services had always seemed to me to be just another local digital marketing thingamabob.

Today, they announced that they raised a bunch of $, have rebranded as Connectivity.com and now according to Matt Booth:

“We are building a CRM / messaging tool that comes with pre-populated customers for every location in North America. The data is auto populated from any unique handle mobile number, check-in, email. We can do this because the company has assembled a very robust data that includes typical reputation monitoring data but also what consumers touch each business on every location in North America. 
Down the road, we will allow business to add transaction data to the tool like a POS.
Having all of this allows you to do all sorts of interesting things like: (1) We have not seen you in 30 days. (2) Profile best customers (3) Create look-a-like lists to get new customers (4) Loyalty….
And on and on….”

Now that sounds like a pretty cool local digital marketing thingamabob. Local CRM functionality is one of the biggest opportunities in Local IMO. Should be interesting to watch it play out.

Check them out at Connectivity.com 

→ No CommentsTags: BIA/Kelsey · Yellowbot
Posted by Andrew Shotland

The Pleasanton Drought

April 19th, 2014

California Drought Map
Source: Why California’s Drought Isn’t Going Anywhere

I am posting this page as a resource for Pleasanton residents seeking both information on the how the drought is affecting the area and resources for how we can all help the situation.

On April 18th, the San Jose Mercury News quoted Daniel Smith, Pleasanton’s Operation Services Director, saying that the outlook for the drought is “very grim”. The key points of the article:

  • Pleasanton gets 80 percent of its water from the state water project and 20 percent from groundwater. Right now, the state has said the city will get a mere 2 percent of its water allotment. There’s a chance the allotment could drop to zero.
  • Residents have been asked to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 20 percent, but usage has actually increased 14 percent in recent months.

[

→ 8 CommentsTags: Uncategorized
Posted by Andrew Shotland

You Just Can’t Trust Google Maps, At This Point, To Produce Either Relevant Or Accurate Results When Much Of It Is Just Pure Spam.

April 15th, 2014

Fantastic interview by Nyagaslov Zhekov with Dan Austin on Google’s ineffectual response to map SPAM, including Bryan Seely’s spoofing of Secret Service listings earlier this year. Money quote:

“The “newest” ploy, which has been in development for several years now, is to use real estate listings on sites like Trulia, and have the PIN card sent to homes for sale or rent, and then go to the post office and have the PIN cards diverted in transit, through a change of address card to a central location, which the Post Office is more than happy to oblige. There’s nothing on Google’s PIN cards to indicate that it should only go to the address in question. Mail fraud, incidentally, is a federal crime punishable with up to 20 years in prison. Since the spammers are inputting the PIN code into Google’s system, they’re also engaging in wire fraud, another federal crime. This doesn’t get Google off the hook, either, since they’re facilitating this system, knowingly or not, and have made almost no effort to verify whether a business is legitimate or not, even though it takes all of 30 seconds or less to do so, using existing public government and trade group databases on the web.”

and this:

“I think there’s another reason that Google should care: they’re facilitating a highly organized criminal enterprise. PIN card verification is mail and wire fraud; bait and switch PPC and click-to-call are wire and consumer fraud. This is a multibillion business, and that’s just the illegal aspect of it. Google is profiting from it by taking their AdWords tax from the spammers, and since Google is the primary means of marketing for service businesses, spammers are doing everything they can to get at the top of the search results, and naturally, Google is positioning their own Maps products for Local searches at the top. They have not only a legal responsibility to ensure the integrity of their products, but an ethical one as well.” 

Let me repeat: Google is facilitating a highly organized criminal enterprise. If John Gotti had been a programmer, this is the kind of thing he would have built.

Read the whole piece here. It’s really great. And by “great” I mean “depressing”.


→ 2 CommentsTags: Google Maps
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Yext Launches Store Locator Pages

April 14th, 2014

Yext Pages

Today Yext announced the launch of Yext Pages – a store location finder service that complements its Powerlistings local listings management service. Pretty cool stuff if you are local brand manager who can’t seem to get your IT department to get around to updating/building location pages.  And automatically keeping your onsite location pages in sync with your business listings data on the Powerlistings network is a nice bonus.

Yext asked me to put together a white paper on location landing page optimization which you can get here.


Disclosure: I do consulting for Yext and I think they are doing some cool stuff.

→ 6 CommentsTags: Yext.com
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Who Owns Customer Reviews of Your Business?

April 10th, 2014

Mike Blumenthal just posed a question about this on G+ and I thought it was worthy of posting here.  The TL;DR answer is:

1. On G+, Yelp and most other review sites, the reviewer typically owns the content of the review (this is to shield the review sites from liability) while the review sites own the right to do whatever they want with the content.

2. Third parties typically cannot use the reviews on their own services without consent from either the service or the content owner (aka the reviewer). Yelp has an exception for non-commercial use, whatever that is.

3. So if you have a business you should probably include in your TOS something like “You agree to give us a perpetual, royalty-free license to use any content, such as a review, that you create related to our business, however and wherever we want.” or something legalistic like that.

→ No CommentsTags: Google · Online Reviews · Yelp
Posted by Andrew Shotland