Nothing has evolved so rapidly as Local Search. The year 2013 hasn’t been as eventful as 2012 when Apple maps, Google+ local, and Facebook Nearby all were released within a span of seven months.
From the beginning, when local search was first introduced, Localeze, Infogroup, and Acxiom have been the primary data suppliers in the United States. Although many independent sources claim that Yelp no longer seeks data from Acxiom, it is still one of the two suppliers mentioned on the Google Maps legal notice. Acxiom has also fed data to Apple Maps from the time it was launched.
If ever you were asked which data aggregator is worth paying for managing data the standard answer would be all the three mentioned above. However, if want to prioritize your local spend then this information will help you.
Apart from all the three mentioned above Factual is relatively new player on the scene. It was not on the radar screens of most till about two years ago, however, if you look today almost all local portals like Bing, Yelp, and TripAdvisor are using it globally.
The renewed surge of Acxiom and Factual’s emergence to the data platforms list is encouraging.
Foursquare as data provider
Location based app market is fragmenting and this process is going to speed up. Foursquare, like Factual, is attempting to become a location layer of the internet. Its API is quite reliable for GetListed and a great number of web developers, 40 million to be precise, are using it to provide venue data.
If in the coming year Foursquare is able to expand beyond its traditional categories of food, drink, and entertainment it could become a major player. However, there are chances of it being purchased by one of the biggies. The only deterrent would be its data size, which is growing rapidly, that might prevent a purchase by making it an expensive buy.
There is a lot happening in the traditional directories space. Generally these traditional directories competed with Yelp across several categories. Traditional directories like Superpages, Citysearch, Yahoo, YP.com are a force to reckon with. However, all is not well here. Citysearch recently laid-off a substantial percentage of its staff and Superpages merged with Dex. This indicates that a lot of reconfiguration and consolidation is happening in this space.
In the competitive search categories geo focused directories, verticals, and even unstructured local citation are playing an even bigger role. Most of these local search sites are offering free listing to local businesses and this is going to be their undoing as they will find it increasingly difficult to monetize their search sites.