A few years ago, the location of businesses became a big question mark, as well as a strategic issue, as people wanted to shop or dine nearby. These “geo-fencing” issues were especially important for Yellow Pages companies.
Since then, search has become more the norm, along with GPS-based phones, which have location baked into them. What hasn’t changed is that you still need the geo-fencing data tied with other meta data for local discovery. You still need to know what subway line is near, where the nearest parking garages are, or what your choices are for dining when you are visiting your friend in Chelsea.
Companies such as Maponics, Urban Mapping, Zillow and others are still licensing or providing their geo-fencing results. And now, the customer base is more universal among companies in the local space, along with key verticals related to schools, real estate and other verticals. Other companies, such as Yahoo, have used such data to introduce Proximity Search.
The result can be a seamless paradigm that integrates local mapping information with coupons, deals and other merchant information. But not everyone gets it.
“Some publishers still don’t get how to have cross platforms,” suggests Maponics CEO Darrin Clement. “They’re still looking for leads in the social world; still bolting on coupons to their results. They’re too intent on protecting the existing paradigm.”
Clement says mobile users, especially, need seamless roaming of information. He notes that some local services will just use the Zillow API. And it works well for start-ups. But Zillow only has 7,000 neighborhoods, he notes. “We have 160,000. Zillow has 100 cities. We have 2,300 cities.”