There’s too much “noise” with SMB information, and no one knows which businesses have up-to-date and fully populated information. Many SMBs, for instance, will have two or more sets of profiles, featuring different types of information. Think, for instance, of all the directory sites asking SMBs to “claim” their listing. The frequent result is a mishmash that doesn’t help the search engines, or consumers, and even may mislead them.
Now Localeze, a big 3 listings provider alongside InfoUSA and Acxiom, has developed a standardized format that reports “confidence scores” for 500,000 SMB listings under management. It hopes, of course, to gain many more.
As managers of hundreds of listing accounts for large and regional chains (among other things), CEO Jeff Beard and Director of Business Development Gib Olander know firsthand how the mess builds up. What happens is that businesses don’t tend to change their information when they add or delete locations, features or services. That point is especially driven home with so many recently vacated storefronts.
Some of the mess is also caused by SMBs gaming the system. For instance, a horde of locksmiths in Manhattan have entered multiple entries in a manner that has overwhelmed their entries on Google Maps. “Everyone is a publisher,” says Olander. “There are hundreds of thousands of Locksmith spams on Google Maps.”
The confidence scores are designed to quell the problem by providing a unique fingerprint for every business. The scores are meant to give users more to go on than what they currently have: simple alphabetical listings, and how far away they are located.
The scores go from 0 percent to 100 percent, and are based on reconciling the information that it sees from multiple profiles. It standardizes the info, deletes multiple entries, and adds criteria such as recent updates, etc.
A company that hasn’t changed any information for eight months won’t be scored as highly as one that constantly maintains the listing. “Time and frequency are very important,” says Olander. Most active businesses change at least some of their information every month.
Not every Localeze affiliate will use the scores. But Beard says that their development shows his company’s evolution from a “simple database shop.” The company is now involved in a much broader part of the marketing mix, he says.