No. 1593
August 29th, 2012

Local Search Ecosystem: Fall 2012 Update

Obviously this space changes pretty quickly…all that work I put into updating this graphic earlier in the Spring had a gaping hole in it by the time summer rolled around, thanks to the impending arrival of Apple Maps.  Whether Apple knows what it’s getting into with Local remains to be seen…hopefully they’ve got a pretty flexible database architecture locked and loaded, in order to accommodate information from so many different providers.

Also, please note a few updated distribution partners of Infogroup.  They’ve always been one of the “Big Three”–and in my experience, the “Big Two,” so these additional references don’t really change their importance substantially.

At any rate, I hope the graphic is now as accurate as I can make it. A few updated comments follow below.

All references for these sources are noted at the bottom of this page.

Evidently I wrote off Acxiom too early

I mentioned in February that I saw plenty of evidence that Acxiom’s influence in the space was waning, via missing public references to usage of their data and research into client clusterf*cks in late 2011.  Whether that perception was inaccurate, or they landed a Hail Mary with Apple Maps, there is no doubt that for U.S. location-based search, Acxiom is still very relevant in this space as of August 2012.

Continued importance of Google Map Maker

I know that a lot of you asked for this in the comments on my last post, and next week I’ll be publishing a little more detailed case study about Google Map Maker, where I think it fits into Google +Local, and how to best take advantage of it to clear up data mismatches for clients.  I remain firmly convinced that Map Maker, and not the Places Dashboard, is the REAL backend for Google +Local.

Whither Twitter?

Well, just when it looked like Twitter might be making a serious move into Local Search and the small business ecosystem by rolling out its ad product for SMBs, they may have shot themselves in both feet in the Local game with their recent API restrictions. How many scores of developers that might have built the latest and greatest local search app using the Twitter infrastructure as a backbone will now look to alternate sources of Local data (Foursquare, anyone, for example)?

And as usual, I regret that I even have to say this, but:

Please respect my intellectual property and do not reproduce this graphic without my permission.  This graphic represents several dozen hours of research, design, and layout.  You are more than welcome to link to the original on, but please, don’t rip it off and republish it elsewhere on the web.  So far, I’ve not turned anyone down who’s asked permission to use it in a presentation to small business owners or other search professionals.