Nov 042013
 

The business data interconnections among the players in the local search industry are as complicated as they could be. There are many layers of data and which one would be displayed to the front-end user might depend on the trustworthiness of the source, the completeness of the data, the recency of the data, or simply on how much you pay to the particular business directory. However, in some cases, the relations between data providers and “data displayers” are so tight that they could be called dominated, or one-provider networks. The power of the sole data provider in such networks might vary from “total domination” (i.e. no other player is allowed in any way within the network) to “pay-to-play” (i.e. it might be possible for someone else, including business owners, to infiltrate the network, but they would usually have to pay in some way to do so). But before going into actual examples, an explanation of why it is important to recognize and avoid, if possible, such networks.

Citation building and citation clean-up are naturally time-taking and frustrating tasks, but they could easily become even more so if one keeps stumbling on business listings that could not be updated in any way (this is especially painful if, for instance, you have moved to a new location and hordes of disgruntled clients keep going to the old one because there is your outdated information somewhere out there and you are unable to update it easily). It takes between 5 and 30 minutes for a person that has no experience to figure out how to create/edit/claim/remove a business listing from a business directory, depending on the user-friendliness of the site. However, on average, during my citation audits, I find 20+ business listings that are impossible to be updated, mostly because they are part of some closed business data exchange networks (or simply because they don’t have the technical sophistication or customer support to do so). If this was the first time I was seeing them and I didn’t know better, it would have been taking taking me additional 100 to 600 minutes to do something that would eventually lead to nothing each and every time. There are some easy ways to figure out which sites would be worth giving a try, and which ones would just lose one’s time, although in the majority of the cases you would just have to have gone through it the hard way to obtain the “knowledge”.

1. Local Corporation Network

One of the most prominent networks in the US is the one of Local Corporation (Local.com). Almost all of them have identical layout, which is relatively unique, and feature a footer that says:

“Copyright 2013 Local Corporation – US Patent Number 7,231,405. – Privacy Policy – Terms of ServiceSome data provided by Acxiom.”

Here are some examples of such websites:

http://businessdirectory.aspentimes.com
http://localdirectory.azcentral.com
http://yellowpages.azstarnet.com
http://local.billingsgazette.com
http://directory.broomfieldenterprise.com
http://directory.brushnewstribune.com
http://www.commercialappeal.com/
http://dailycamera.com/
http://daily-journal.com/
http://local.edmondsun.com
http://directory.eptrail.com
http://directory.fortmorgantimes.com
http://yellowpages.gazette.com
http://directory.gjsentinel.com
http://yellowpages.heraldextra.com
http://info.kndo.com
http://directory.journal-advocate.com
http://king5.com/
http://kmov.com/
http://yellowpages.kob.com
http://yellowpages.lajuntatribunedemocrat.com
http://local.mywebtimes.com
http://local.pantagraph.com
http://local.qconline.com/
http://localdirectory.madison.com/
http://local.meridianstar.com
http://directory.newsday.com
http://local.newsfirst5.com
http://directory.nh.com
http://yp.ocregister.com
http://local.pantagraph.com/
http://local.post-gazette.com/
http://qctimes.com/
http://businessdirectory.reporterherald.com
http://yellowpages.santafenewmexican.com
http://www.searchpeopledirectory.com
http://yellowpages.staradvertiser.com
http://localbusiness.starnewsonline.com
http://yellowpages.state-journal.com
http://local.stltoday.com
http://yellowpages.thedenverchannel.com
http://localbizsearch.timescall.com
http://local.times-news.com
http://local.trib.com
http://businessdirectory.vaildaily.com
http://local.vcstar.com
http://yellowpages.washingtonpost.com
http://yellowpages.examiner.net/
http://yellowpages.register-mail.com/
http://yellowpages.rrstar.com
http://ziphip.com

There is no way to update a listing directly on any of these. The only way is to do that via advertise.local.com. Once the information on local.com is updated, it takes between 1 day and a week for it to populate across the network.

2. MojoPages Network

Another network is the one of MojoPages. The sites that are part of it are easily distinguishable by the title “Powered by MojoPages” which is normally found on their homepages. Here are a few examples:

http://linktown.wvec.com/
http://mojo.myfoxchicago.com/
http://mojo.myfoxphilly.com/
http://yellowpages.ny1.com/

Like with Local.com’s network, there is no way to directly update these listings.

3. Acxiom Network

Acxiom, one of the three “old school” major business data providers in the US, is responsible for business data distribution across a large portion of the whole ecosystem. However, usually this data is mixed with other, and it is relatively rare that what Acxiom provides is displayed publicly. This is not the case for a small network of websites, which could easily be distinguished by the footer logo saying “DATA by ACXIOM”. Here are some examples:

http://www.allpages.com/
http://local.brainerddispatch.com/
http://www.courierpress.com/
http://local.dailypress.com/
http://local.herald-review.com/
http://local.onlineathens.com/
http://directory.pe.com
http://local.seattlepi.com
http://local.sfgate.com/
http://local.thebostonchannel.com

Again, as with Local.com and Mojopages, there is no way to update the listings directly.

4. Whitepages Inc Network

This is a small network that consists of just the following properties:

http://www.whitepages.com
http://www.switchboard.com
http://www.411.com

The only way to add or update a listing in this network is via ExpressUpdate (free, in the majority of the cases), or via Yext (not free).

To be continued…

  23 Responses to “Business Directory Networks and Why You Should Be Aware of Them (Part 1)”

Comments (23)
  1. Hi Nyagoslav,

    Thanks for the article and lists! We no longer provide Citation Building (claim or add) for our clients, but we do have a couple of clients that we maintain their listings in order to stay on top of what’s going on and we are also in development of a Citation Project (which I’ll email you separately on).

    I like how you broke out the lists by Networks. Does this mean that each Network actually owns those citations sites? And, are most of what you list industry specific sites? The Network that concerns me the most is Local.com.

    Susan

  2. Hi Nyagoslav,

    http://www.phonenumber.com is a part of the WhitePages Inc network, too. The listing IDs are identical across all 4 websites.

    I have (very) recently had success with WhitePages network in getting a duplicate listing removed using this form:

    http://www.whitepagescustomers.com/contact-customer-service/

    I chose the subject line from the dropdown box:
    Add, Edit or Remove (Business) Information

    ‘Aaron’ from support replied to me saying:
    “Per your inquiry, we have submitted a request for suppression of this business listing. Generally speaking, we update WhitePages monthly, however your request should take effect within five business days.”

    In my support request to them, I mentioned that my client already has a ‘proper’ listing via Yext, and I wanted the duplicate removed. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with their willingness to suppress the outdated duplicate or not.

    They replied using the support@whitepages.com email address, though a different email request that I sent directly to that email address in September 2013 went unanswered.

    I’ll try using the form again and let you know how it goes.

    Sincerely,

    Russ

  3. Thanks, another great article. I appreciate you sharing your research & insights. Just wanted to point our a minor mistake: “1 day and a weel for it to populate” – last line before #2. Should be “week”. Hope all is well!

  4. Great post, as always, Nyagoslav.

    I’ve never paid any mind to those citation sources, just because – as you say – there’s no way to update them directly. Obviously, the sites that “feed” them are important.

    But I’ve always been amazed that a few of those little sites tend to pop up in branded search results from time to time. Sites like AllPages and SwitchBoard. Never figured out why: essentially their directories are clones of others.

  5. One way to get your data into Local.com is via UBL. They also cover Whitepages et. al. They used to supply Acxiom but no longer do.

  6. Has anybody had success with Mojo Pages’ Business Center at http://www.mojopages.com/biz/signup and/or an idea of how fast a new listing takes to propagate across their network?

  7. Very timely post. I am working through some of these issues now. I look forward to the next installment. Thanks.

  8. Another great post Nyagoslav!

    I didn’t realize how all of these sites were related!

  9. Nyagoslav,

    I’m not sure I understand when you say that “there is no way to directly update these listings.”

    Perhaps you meant to express that there is no way to directly… unless updated through MojoPages?

    If one signs up for a free MojoPages account, and updates their listing there, in my experience, the partner sites update immediately.

    Just today, the following sites had instant data update (including URL forwarding) to the new info after updating my MojoPages listing:

    – linktown.azfamily.com
    – linktown.wcnc.com
    – directory.wfaa.com
    – louisville.tmnews.com
    – yellowpages.ny1.com

    Sincerely,

    Russ Offord

  10. Thanks for the very useful research, Nyagoslav! Hopefully you will be telling us more about Mapquest and the CitySearch network in your next installment.

  11. We were recently able to get some action on a local.com network listing via their “Private Label Support” system.

    We emailed the address found in the whois.sc registration info for yellowpages.staradvertiser.com and they in turn forwarded our request to: privatelabelsupport@local.com

    We asked for an update of info on a listing, but since they found a duplicate, they deleted the incorrect listing for us.

    Russ

  12. Good idea. But all these only applicable to U.S businesses? how about for malaysia and singapore’s businesses?

  13. I find all this very interesting. As a service provider for the Midwest I service many cities. Though my home location is Des Moines, Iowa, does that mean I am limited to just my local area? I would like to find a service that could get me consistent listings throughout the Midwest i.e. Omaha, Twin Cities, KC, etc. is this possible? Yext has been at me for sometime but it just didn’t feel right. As a small business owner I understand the need for branding but this citation building is a maze.

  14. I can’t begin to thank you enough for taking the time to put this together!

    Looking forward to Part Two.

  15. Excellent post Nyagoslav, thanks for sharing. We are trying to update our address across the web for a few months now since we changed our address and I can tell you (as you well know) it’s though. From duplicate listings to unresponsive webmasters to being pushed to upgrade to a paid listing, it’s been and still is a rough journey.

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