Google Maps Australia Now Showing User-Created Photos from Panoramio

Recently noticed that Google Maps Australia is now displaying user generated photos alongside map search results. Some of these photos are sourced from photo searching/geo-tagging tool Panoramio, which Google acquired last year. Cool feature – see below

And with Australian geocoded photos overlaid over a Google Map:

There’s a fair amount of Australian user content that Google Maps Australia could index from government and user generated content – weather, videos, audio etc
Posted in geocoding, geotagging, google maps australia, local search, panoramio, photos | Leave a comment

Sensis to Offer Video Advertising to Premium Businesses..Following the Global Trend

Sensis recently signed a deal with KIT digital to offer video technologies to Sensis’ brands/businesses. Following the likes of Idearc Media, who launched video for online business directory, Superpages in October 2007 last year, Sensis will

“… publish, manage anddistribute video content for its key brands. KIT digital
will also providehosting, customer support and maintenance services…”

Amusingly, the press release mentions that Sensis will be:

” blazing a trail that we expect to be replicated globally “.

Not sure that Sensis will be pioneering this in any way – YellowPages in Canada launched video advertising in January this year and several other US online business directories have been trialling this service since mid-2007. Vishal Sharma in fact recommended this recently in his paper on local search in Australia (disclaimer: I contributed to certain sections of this document)

That aside, it is good to see Sensis exploring new technology. This is also an area that Google are in, albeit a self-service model.

No doubt locally Sensis will partner with a professional video company in order to film ads for SMEs on-site – I don’t see Google getting into that space, at least in Australia anyway.

Update: Found some interesting comments on ITWire (who also reported on this Press Release)

Posted in KIT Digital, Sensis, Video Advertising, google australia, local search | Leave a comment

Yabble- New Business Review Website Soon to be Launched

Ross Hill, a Geelong-based 20-something enterpreneur, (with a few start-ups under his belt!), has launced Yabble:

“Yabble is an online community for discovering and sharing Australian businesses
through photos and written reviews from people you trust”

Ross has made a comment or two on this blog before and he seems pretty interested in the local search space, so it’s good to see him getting a local search startup off the ground :)

Will update this when Yabble has launched and I’ve had a look around!

Posted in Yabble.com.au, local business reviews, local search | Leave a comment

Ourpatch – New Australian Hyper-Local site

Recently came across a new hyper-local site,OurPatch, which is kind of like a 2.0 version of CommunityGuide, which has been around for a considerable amount of time, with large traffic figures to match (quoted traffic figures of 400k visitors/month).
It’s got a clean interface – the home page is similar to that of another hyper-local site, Nook in terms of ‘Questions/Answers & Reviews’ type content.
I’ll write up more on their business model later – but it looks like they are going for the fre-mium listing approach.
Posted in CommunityGuide, Ourpatch, hyper-local, nook | Leave a comment

Sensis and the Australian Search and Directories Market

Vishal Sharma, creator of the ‘Australian Startups Carnival 2008′ has published a very comprehensive report on Sensis and the Australian Search and Directories Market
with the main focus of the report being:

“…on Sensis and its competitors and how it can reinvent itself in a rapidly changing local market…”

Worth reading if you’re interested in the local search space in Australia – (some contributions from myself and Meg Tsiamis from dLook).
To me it certainly highlights how far the scene has come since we started up Rave About It approximately 18 months ago.

Posted in Australian Local Search, Sensis, Vishal Sharma, directories, dlook.com.au | Leave a comment

ReachLocal…Local Search is Sexy..

Found this amusing advertisement for SME local advertising service ReachLocal. ReachLocal have received a hefty US $70 million in VC funding to date and are using a sales force model to tackle the increasing numbers of SMEs that are interested in online advertising. Here’s an excerpt from one of Australia’s ReachLocal’s advertised job descriptions for a pole dancer, er sales executive:

“…You’ll sell online marketing solutions to small and medium sized businesses in an untapped and booming market. It’s a product that works, is in high demand, and has absolutely no direct competition.

We’re #1 in the USA, and we’re about to take Australia by storm. We’re looking for people with a passion for outbound lead generation and fire in their eyes. If this is you, you’ll see the opportunity in a competitive base salary, uncapped commissions and a 100% market share that’s yours for the taking…”

Locally, ReachLocal signed a deal with Google Australia to become an authorised seller of Google Adwords using a sales force model. Interesting also that ReachLocal is also connected to News Ltd through Australian technology firm netus (60% News Ltd owned).
Given the Google Maps/Truelocal deal last year, you could expect some Truelocal/Reachlocal collaboration in the future to combat Sensis’s BidSmart/Sensis Network?

Posted in Reachlocal, Sensis, google maps australia, local advertising, truelocal.com.au | Leave a comment

Local Search Optimisation – How NOT to go about it

Amusing post from Bruce Clay on spamming Google Maps with reference to one unfortunate Melbourne Mechanic (soon to become inexistent on-line no doubt ;) )
Still, can’t believe Google hasn’t got around this duplicate content issue yet..

Posted in Australian Local Search, google maps spam | Leave a comment

Clickfind – $0 to $26 mil in a year?

I recently read an article/Press Release on the valuation of Clickfind, a recent entrant in the online business directory space. In theClickfind highlights that:

“…The appeal of Clickfind, which focuses on a specific niche, namely business products and services, lies in a number of unique selling points, Fleur said. The company has a flat subscription rate, only lists genuine Australian businesses with ABN numbers, and carries no advertising. It applies strict quality controls with every listing manually evaluated. Clickfind also allows listings of products, as well as services, so it is more than just a simple directory, Fleur said…”

The article further speculates about the potential investors that would be drawn to a business directory like Clickfind, mentioning Sensis and News Ltd. According to the site founder Taco Fleur, it would “make sense” for Sensis to invest in such a company, however I cannot see a logical fit for Clickfind in Sensis’s stable of products because:

a) Sensis does not make a substantial income from giving away business listings or selling them at $19.95/month. To do so would completely undermine the existing premium services that they offer to their customers

b) Sensis have chosen to keep the content of YellowPages out of the reach of all Search Engines, in order to maintain control over their IP.
The model proposed by Clickfind would only work for a search engine optimised business-directory – to create a destination business directory site takes a lot of branding $. Sensis, however, do not subscribe to the theory that their YellowPages content should be found by Search Engines.
When ninemsn decided to partner with Sensis, in order to gain access to YellowPages content, it would have been on the condition that ninemsn not open their search results to the Search Engines, which they did with the following noindex tag:

meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”

Fleur does however mention that

“…The right investors would be marketing or IT services companies..”

Which is my opinion, would be a more likely investor – the estimated 65,000 subscribing businesses would form a decent cross-section of small to medium size businesses, which any large sized marketing company would be salivating over :)

So that makes two ITWire Press Leases in less than the space of a month – Clickfind certainly want to make themselves heard..

Update 20/02: In addition to commenting on this post, Taco posted a response on the Clickfind blog, to which I responded as well.



Posted in Clickfind, Sensis, Yellow Pages, ninemsn, noindex | Leave a comment

Tell Sensis What You Really Think

Sensis are currently in the middle of upgrading the White Pages site (ETA unknown), but SMH have provided an outlet for you to offer your opinion about the Sensis White Pages .
With 171 comments to date, there is certainly some (mostly negative) feedback that Sensis should be taking on.
On a more positive note, they have cleaned up the interface of yellowpages substantially and the search results have improved significantly.

Posted in Sensis, Yellow Pages | Leave a comment

Rayv.com.au..The Sincerest Form of Flattery…

1st post for 2008 – Happy New Year all!

Very short post – just discovered a new Australian business review scraper/aggregator website, which launched in mid-December last year with an interesting, yet strangely familiar name, Rayv.

Rayv.com.au also see themselves as Australia’s long-awaited answer to a ‘Yelp Down Under’ ..leave you to make your mind up on that one.

With the addition of Rayv.com.au, this space is certainly becoming crowded..including Rayv.com.au, we’re now approaching 10 business review websites in Australia..we’ll soon be due for a (proper) website review aggregator..

Posted in Rayv.com.au, Yelp | Leave a comment