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Who Will Claim the Throne in the Game of Local Commerce? (Infographic)

throne of commerceI spend a good portion of my day writing about either TV or online marketing. Sometimes those two passions collide. Like today, when I opened my email to find this wild infographic from Matt at 8coupons: Game of Local Commerce 2013.

8coupons is (according to Matt),  “the largest consumer hub and b2b platform for local deals with hundreds of content and distribution partners.” Pop in your zip code and you’ll see a neatly composed list of everything from all the major daily deal sites, flash deal sites and  sites that specialize in local coupons such as Restaurant.com.

Google Places for Business Category Tool Update

Google Local ResultAs part of our service here at Marketing Pilgrim we like to bring tools to our readers attention that will help them do their online marketing chores. As we all know, SEO is an interesting art / science but it can be a bit tedious and it is certainly a “what you don’t know can REALLY hurt you” proposition, especially in the world of local SEO.

One of the continuing mysteries is the true understanding of Google local search. There are always updates and more than a fair share of confusion as to what is or is not acceptable or considered a ‘best practice’ at any given time.

An area that Google created some confusion in (one of many) is the ability to categorize a local business accurately. Google requires that you use at least some Google categories to put your business in the right class but oftentimes the available categories are not sufficient.

What we have learned over the years is that if you have a problem with local search you can look to Mike Blumenthal and his merry band of followers for some good answers. The latest is the update of his Google Business for Places Category Tool. Simply put it can save you a lot of hassle. Here is a screenshot and a description of the update just released yesterday.

Google Places Category Update

Google’s Local Product Gets a Partial Lift

In cosmetic surgery, if you don’t want to do a complete overhaul or aren’t terribly confident that doing everything at once is the best idea there is an option to a partial ‘insert procedure here’. Now, for the record, I had to Google this while concept since cosmetic surgery is not my thing and at this point for me the only viable option is a trade-in but I am not sure that is possible.

google-places-dashboard-new

Now take this concept to the Internet space. Its common for companies to do things in a more piecemeal fashion to help manage the changes to a product or service. This is what Google has decided to do with its traditionally horrific Local product.

In Google’s Case, April Fool’s Cuts Both Ways

google-logoLooks like Google has outdone itself this year huh? Hiiiilaaaarious stuff about treasures on maps, blue email, searching with your nose and YouTube closing. Oh stop Google! My sides are hurting!

There was one that I actually did chuckle at which is the Google Apps Levity algorithm. Here’s the video for you to get a little, uhh, levity from, I guess.

The best April Fool’s joke that I found, however, came at Google’s expense. It plays off the idea of just how ridiculous and unbelievable it would be to see an announcement that Google had released local business products that work, make sense and have support for them.

There are no fancy videos just fanciful thinking of what an actual working product on the local level would be like from Google. It happened over at Mike Blumenthal’s blog and the post’s title alone, “Google Local Announces New Local Product and Promises Better Communications” says it all. Here’s a sample for you.

Google Close to Deal With States On Street View Charges

It’s likely that Google will never be out of the woods with its Street View product. It is close to reaching an agreement with states that have ‘issues’ with how data is collected etc.

According to Bloomberg it looks like the fines are mere pennies relative to Google’s ‘bank’.

Google Inc. (GOOG) is close to an agreement to pay about $7 million to settle allegations that the company improperly collected personal data for its Street View product, a person familiar with the matter said.

The company has reached an agreement in principle with more than 30 states, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The resolution could be announced as early as next week, another person said.

Here is the Bloomberg TV report if interested.

Google Maps Update for iPhone Released

Maps Blog iPhone App UpdateRemember back in the day when Google Maps wasn’t even available on iOS and the new Apple Maps was received with such vigor (-ous contempt)? All those long months ago in the Ice Age of the Internet (October 2012 or thereabouts) people from around the world were singing the praises of Apple Maps……not.

Oh how times have changed. Here we are now in the future, some 4 Internet months or so and now all is well with the world again. Google Maps, the app, is allowed in the walled garden that is the Kingdom of Apple and today even announced some upgrades for its iPhone apps. Oh joy.

The Google Maps blog (formerly the LatLong blog) reports

Yelp’s Review Filter According to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman

Yelp is one of the more interesting Internet stories there is in the market today. All at once revered and hated it is an important piece of the SMB and more directly, local Internet marketing landscape.

Yelp’s review filter is one area that gets a lot of attention. In this video, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman tells Yelps’ side of the story (hat tip to Greg Sterling). Ironically the video is on YouTube which is a Google property which is supposed to be Yelp’s arch enemy in the local space. That is unless of course hosting the video elsewhere wouldn’t get as many views, right?

So this is a nice point of view of the filter and the wonders it does. On the other hand, it’s quite easy for one to discover the dark side of Yelp and some of the supposed abuses it dishes out to business owners.