How Sausage Is Made

Source: British Premium Sausages (Yum)

Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext, just unleashed There’s No Such Thing As A Permanent Record, one of the best posts I’ve seen in a long time about why local business listing data is so damn screwed up.

“A common misperception in the local search and data industry is that publishers have a single “permanent” or “master” record for a given business listing. The misconception goes deeper: many people think that claiming a business causes a publisher to update a permanent record for that listing.”

On the process of trying to fix the data at the source:

“Historically, to manage a businesses local data, experts have advocated a “spray and pray” approach. The strategy behind this approach is that, since the public has no real idea which sources any given publisher uses, and no idea how those sources are ranked, the best idea is to simply “spray” your local data to every known aggregator, update your web site, claim your business, file with all gov’t agencies, etc. Then you “pray” that you guessed every source a publisher uses, that their matching process works, and there is no idiosyncrasy that causes your listings to show wrong data.”

Looking forward to the emails from InfoGroup, Acxiom, Neustar Localeze, etc. telling me why this will never happen, but I love this:

“I will leave you with a controversial idea: I actually think Google could solve a lot of their problems by implementing a similar program to the Yext and charging a reasonable monthly for businesses who wish to directly control their data. Who wouldn’t want to pay Google a bit every month to guarantee that their listings were up to date?”

Full disclosure: I publish The Yext Quarterly for which Yext offers me my choice of currency

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