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June 22, 2010
Issue 617
 
 
Google Increased Its Search Dominance in May - June 22, 2010
The first batch of search market share numbers for the previous month was confusing enough due to the automated searches on both Yahoo and Bing. Now, stats from Experian Hitwise only make the...
(Full article at Softpedia)

Are Yahoo and Bing Rushing Integration? - June 22, 2010
We recently sat down with the combined Microsoft/Yahoo teams to further discuss platform integration. Early in the conversation, I found myself frustrated by the change because of the lack of...
(Full article at Search Engine Watch)

Google Plans Music Service Tied to Search Engine - June 21, 2010
Google Inc. is preparing to roll out a music download service tied to its search engine later this year, followed by an online subscription service in 2011, according to people familiar with the...
(Full article at WSJ.com)

Microsoft signs search deal with Opera - June 17, 2010
Microsoft has signed a deal with rival Opera to feature Bing as one of the default search engine options in the latest version of its desktop browser, Opera 10.60 - released this week in beta.
(Full article at Bigmouthmedia)

 
 

Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security Challenge

Local business listings began with a basic business directory more than a decade ago. Chances are, your business has a local listing wherever you have a physical address location.

Check it out --- go to Google, type in your company name. You'll probably see a map locating your business and an address. Of course you may find other information too.

Local business listings are treated passively by many businesses. But that could be a mistake. You've probably read that prospects have something specific in mind when they are shopping.

So try this test. Go back to Google, type in the name of a product or service your business provides plus your hometown. Did your business show up? If it did: congratulations. If it did not: you're missing a major marketing opportunity.

Times have changed

From a marketing standpoint, the use of local business listings has exploded with the increase of social media and mobile devices. Consumers not only use these interactive yellow pages to locate a business, product or service in their area; they are also posting reviews of those products and services.

Today, there are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories. They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and that age-old business directory.


 


 

You can no longer be passive

To make your interactive yellow pages listing a stronger marketing tool, you must first "claim" the listing with all the search engines, social communities, websites and organizations that lead people to it. Once you prove the listing is really yours you can update it with your business marketing material.

Businesses are realizing the importance of this claiming process. Once you have claimed your local listing you can update information with text, keywords, business descriptions, products, services, photos, videos, coupons, and more. Some websites, such as Google, allow you to use all these options while others charge a fee for enhanced listings making this information present for local consumers through web or mobile searches.

So what's the "security challenge"?

The claiming process is crucial to security because if the wrong person gets access to your business local listing they can direct customers to a different location by phone or website address.

Additional damage can include incorrect information on photos, videos, coupons, and more. Because consumers are using local business listings to locate a business, product or service in their immediate area, the security around local business listings must have a high priority for any local listing website.

Remember phishing?

Phishing was described in 1987 before the Internet was a commercial boom. The first recorded use of phishing was in 1996. The question is whether the business industry is going to wait for something similar to occur using Local Business Listings.

The security holes are quite evident with Local Business Listings and I don't think it takes a genius see what could happen if businesses do not "claim" their listings -- the first step in closing those "holes."


 


 

When hackers capture a Local Listing it's called "high-jacking"

It is absolutely important that businesses not passively wait for local listing websites to put the appropriate security in place before you claim your listing.

Installing security starts with the obvious claiming process, but many sites allow data to be inserted from other databases on the Internet and I am not sure there's good security around this later process.

If someone wanted to hijack a local business listing, they could easily insert the wrong information through a low level business directory that sells its data upstream or inserts its data directly into a higher level local listing website.

While the top search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo have "some" front-end security; their API's (Application Programming Interface) make them vulnerable through the back door.

Data is provided to their local listings from 3rd party sources including "get listed" services.

Additionally, if someone cannot claim a listing easily, the process within these local listing websites allows for additional listings with the same address to be submitted by anyone.

About the Author: Melih ("may-lee") Oztalay is a 16 year veteran of the Internet. He is the CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing located in Birmingham, Michigan, providing Internet marketing solutions and services to businesses. The agency's recent focus on local business listing management services helps small and local businesses reach local consumers through web and mobile searches. Some of SmartFinds' clients have included Delphi, Flagstar Bank, Guardian Industries, Soave Enterprises, Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau, McCann Erickson, Wendy's and others.


 
















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