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Here is a roundup of items from the past week, in case you missed any. Click below to read each post in full.

Grayboxx: A Sneak Peek
User ratings and reviews are among the hottest areas of local search (video and mobile being the others) in terms of media attention and funding. But there are still significant barriers to cross and challenges inherent in corralling a user base to participate in a review program. Yesterday I had the chance to talk with Bob Chandra, CEO of Grayboxx, a start-up with a beta product that aims to solve this problem using algorithms instead of humans. The company is very secretive about what’s under the hood, but Chandra was able to explain in conceptual terms what it is trying to do. (read more…) Takes On ServiceMagic, Etc.
Service referral sites like ServiceMagic and Angie’s List have gotten some traction. But by no means are they dominating the business. What will it take? Ashish Mohole, cofounder of start-up, thinks the key is to guarantee that users get a wide assortment of choices when they make a query. Too many queries come up empty or return just one or two possibilities, he says. GetVendors’ solution is to provide seven listings for every user query. (read more…)

Citysearch Expands Menu of Features
Citysearch earlier this week announced it will partner with MenuPages to integrate its menu content into local restaurant listings. I finally got the chance to catch up with Rob Angel, Citysearch VP of merchant products, yesterday to ask what this means for the company, and how it augments other ongoing efforts in what seems like a content-building blitz. (read more…)

Stuart McKelvey on TMP Research Data
I spent some time on the phone this afternoon with Stuart McKelvey, CEO of TMP Directional Marketing, to ask for his key takeaways from TMP’s recent local shopping research conducted via comScore’s online panel of 3,000 consumers. The finding that more of the respondents cite online media (IYP, local search and general search) than print directories as their primary resource for finding local businesses has generated a fair amount of attention. (read more…)

Why Internet Yellow Pages Can Compete for Local Search
Last week, we raised the issue of the potential for Internet Yellow Pages offered by print publishers. In a world where people seem to be routinely going to Google, Yahoo! and a few other sites for all their information needs, how can even the strongest IYP brand compete? In this note, I want to outline a few of the reasons why The Kelsey Group continues to predict that IYP will grow faster than local search over the next few years. (read more…)

Yahoo! Local: Now With More UGC
Amid the many redesigns we’re seeing in local online media, Yahoo! Local today announced a series of functional and aesthetic enhancements. They are mostly meant to accentuate and motivate more user-generated content and social search tools but also include a number of other evolutionary improvements. One is a modification of its relevance engine to include review content in its index and accordingly serve better local search results. This will also serve as a foundation for lots of new directions in which Yahoo! would like to take the product, according to Brian Gil, lead project manager of Yahoo! Local and a five-year veteran of the division. (read more…)

Google Maps Makes It Easier for SMEs to ‘Find Me’
Google Maps will launch a feature next week that will allow any Web site or blog to more easily plant an embedded map anywhere on its site. This will essentially allow SMEs to more easily integrate a “find me” map on their Web sites for customers to navigate to them. This will include the ability to embed MyMap mashups that are personalized or customized by businesses or bloggers in ways that relate to their businesses (i.e., a map of a downtown restaurant that is shown in relation to surrounding theaters, parking garages, etc.). The embedded maps will also have the full functionality of Google Maps, including clicking and dragging and satellite imagery. (read more…)

Ask Gains Ground in Consumer Satisfaction
We’re seeing no shortage of commentary throughout the blogosphere on the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index, which shows Yahoo! beating out Google in overall customer satisfaction for its online network of products. But another notable data point many have ignored is that had the largest increase in its score over the previous year. (read more…)

Wired’s Update on Gannett’s Information Center
Gannett’s “Information Center” project to overhaul its newspapers with user-generated content and data-driven services is making some progress, per this month’s Wired magazine piece by Jeff Howe. Since I first reported on the initiative in November 2006, the company has zeroed in on Mom and College Age/Recent Grad sites – two demo groups that don’t have much use for newspapers, online or off. (read more…)

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