Unaffiliated with Apple, Inc.

Changing Business Name? Don’t Forget About Apple Maps! Changing Business Name? Don’t Forget About Apple Maps!

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Bozo The Clown

 

 

 

 

Today a retailer client, let’s assume they are called “Bingo’s”, pinged me because they had sold one of their locations, let’s say to “Bozo’s”, and their brand was still appearing on the business’ Yelp profile. So when you searched “bingo pleasanton ca” in Google the Bingo’s Pleasanton Yelp profile showed up as the top result. The problem was that Bozo’s had created a Bozo’s Pleasanton Yelp profile but Bingo’s had never shut down or changed the name of the old Yelp profile. And this was happening across all of their local listings on various sites such as YP.com, MerchantCircle, etc.

The Google solution was pretty simple – we used Yext Powerlistings to instantly change the names on all of the Bingo’s Pleasanton profiles in Yext’s network and we updated their Google My Business page and the information at the main data aggregators. In some cases this involved closing down the Bingo’s listing at the data aggregators. Most SEOs would stop there and think that their work was done. Wrong.

A quick search for “Bingo’s Pleasanton” on Apple Maps revealed that there was both a Bingo’s Pleasanton listing and a Bozo’s Pleasanton listing. Even though we had fixed the issue at the data aggregator level which in theory would find its way eventually to Apple Maps, that still doesn’t mean that it would get fixed in Apple Maps. So we used the “Report a Problem” feature and marked the business information as “incorrect” and submitted the name change to the Bingo’s listing. Alternatively, we could have marked the location as closed, but I wanted to see if Apple Maps could figure out to merge the two listings based on the name change. We’ll see.

The moral of the story is that because Apple Maps data does not show up in Google, marketers are likely to forget about it when doing big things like changing brand names, changing addresses, etc. Apple Maps is one of the most used local search services on the planet. Ignore it at your business’ peril.

Apple Maps Pin Location Updates Getting Faster Apple Maps Pin Location Updates Getting Faster

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Apple Maps updating system appears to be getting faster. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have started to see more submitted updates go live. And I just noticed one case I had been watching for two years where a business’ map pin was displayed across the street from its actual location is now correctly located. So six days ago, when I noticed the Apple Maps pin for my company, Local SEO Guide, Inc., was about 50 feet off base, I used the Report a Problem tool to move the pin and voila, today it’s now in the right place.

Cornea Associates Apple Maps Wrong LocationCornea Associates of Texas Apple Maps Right Location

Wrong Location – Dec. 2012                       Right Location – Sep. 2014

And if you’re interested in more Apple Maps updating news, according to this Reddit thread, for the past couple of months Apple Maps has been making daily updates at 3:00am Eastern Standard Time.

New Apple Maps Data Providers in iOS8 New Apple Maps Data Providers in iOS8

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Apple, Inc. Cupertino

With the launch of iOS8, Apple has finally updated its list of data suppliers on its “attribution” page:

2014 Apple Maps Attributions Page

2013 Apple Maps Attribution Page

None of the previously listed vendors have been removed so presumably their data is still part of Apple Maps. Three new vendors have been added:

Hexagon
“A leading provider of design, measurement and visualizations technologies.” I am presuming they are providing some whiz-bang new stuff in the updated Apple Maps.

Kingwaytek Technology Co., Ltd.
“The only map provider in Taiwan that concentrates on producing digital maps at present.” I am guessing Apple Maps Taiwan just got a lot better. If you need to fix a Taiwanese listing, I am thinking this is where to look.

http://data.linz.govt.nz
The Kingwaytek of New Zealand.

So no new sources of U.S., European or South American data. There are still a lot of countries that don’t have business listings.

I am still puzzled over the old copyright dates for Acxiom (2012), Factual (2012), Localeze (2012), Yelp (2013) and Open Street Map (2011, 2012). It’s unclear if this means that this data is basically frozen in time, meaning no need to update these sources to get your data updated in Apple Maps, or if Apple just didn’t care enough to update the info. It is September 2014 after all and we’re just getting the 2014 update.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Business On Apple Maps? Got A Year? How Long Does It Take To Get A Business On Apple Maps? Got A Year?

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rip-van-winkle apple maps

Image appropriated from StoryNory.com

On September 25th, 2013 I was contacted by the owner of DC 9 Nightclub about getting the business listed on Apple Maps. After doing a quick review, it seemed like a fairly straightforward issue. DC 9 was not listed in a number of the key business data suppliers to Apple Maps like Neustar Localeze and Acxiom and their business name and phone number was incorrect on Factual. Within 24 hours we had fixed all of these problems and reported the missing listing to Apple Maps via its “Report a Problem” feature. And that’s when we found that when it comes to Apple Maps, nothing is ever straightforward…

Often when we fix Apple Maps issues we can see it take effect relatively quickly (60-90 days is what I usually tell clients but we’ve seen faster, and slower of course). But after 60 days the business still wasn’t listed and the Factual data had not updated. I figured this was the issue. Because of the way Factual works, it wasn’t enough to update the data at Factual (where I have a “power” account), we had to fix citations that Factual relies on to triangulate the data. So we did a citation clean-up which took about three months for Factual to acknowledge and update. But still DC 9 was nowhere to be found on Apple Maps.

It was then I realized that I had neglected to take into account the “geo-spatial data”, or whatever the map geeks call it, that Apple uses to create the maps. This data is stuff like streets and buildings and lat/longs, etc. that businesses get mapped to. So I popped DC 9′s address into TomTom/Tele Atlas, one of the underlying mapping data providers, and lo and behold, DC 9′s address of 1940 9th St NW Washington, DC 20001 did not exist in these systems. And when you just searched the address in Apple Maps, the pin showed up at 1938 9th St NW, the building next door, which had originally been part of 1940 until the building was split in two, which probably is why these mapping systems couldn’t figure things out. So even though we had fixed the citation issues, there was nowhere to put the business on the map.

So I went over to TomTom and Tele Atlas‘ sites and submitted edits to their maps to add the address. Within one week the edits had been approved and then I waited…til yesterday.

Last night (September 10th, 2014) I got an email from DC 9′s owner, who had long given up hope, that DC 9 was now on Apple Maps!

DC Nine Apple Maps

Now we just need to figure out what to do about that duplicate listing :P

So if you are trying to add your business to Apple Maps, make sure you’ve got at least five months of patience, but be prepared to wait a year.

For further reading on Tele Atlas and Apple Maps, check out Mike Blumenthal’s Good News, Bad News in the Apple Mapping Business Listing World.

Apple Maps Overtakes Google Maps On a U.K. Carrier Apple Maps Overtakes Google Maps On a U.K. Carrier

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From the recently released 4GEE Mobile Living Index which analyzes mobile data use and 4G trends on the EE Network (a British carrier) in the U.K. since 2013:

Mobile mapping

Traffic on the new Apple Maps now represents 70% of mapping traffic on the 4G network, from 60% in the second half of 2013, taking market share from Google maps, which is down 7ppts. This difference is even more marked over 3G where Apple Maps is up 19ppts and Google Maps is down 15ppts.

EE may push iPhones over Androids so this doesn’t necessarily mean this data applies to all carriers across the board, but every day Apple Maps is getting better and every day thousands of people get a new phone with Apple Maps pre-installed. Apple Maps is for real. You might want to pay attention to it.

Apple Maps’ (Lack of) Acknowledgements Apple Maps’ (Lack of) Acknowledgements

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Apple Maps Attention To Detail

Greg Sterling posted today about Apple Maps’ “new” expanded list of data providers which you can find at http://gspa21.ls.apple.com/html/attribution.html. Unbeknownst to Greg is that this list was updated sometime around the launch of iOS7 in the latter part of 2013. Here’s a November 2013 snapshot from the Web Archive.

It’s not surprising that Greg was not aware of this. It’s an obscure page after all that only the few geeks interested in Apple Maps pay attention to. But what is surprising, as I said in the comments on Greg’s post, is:

  1. The copyright for Open Street Maps data is 2012. This implies that updated OSM data is not being used in Apple Maps. If that is the case, then making edits to OSM should not have any effect on Apple Maps.
  2. Why are we in May of 2014 and still seeing “Copyright 2012-2013″? Where’s the 2014 update? This does not speak well to Apple’s much-vaunted attention to detail and it makes me wonder what’s going on over there. It’s a small thing to be sure, but doesn’t Apple always sweat the details? Perhaps Apple Legal has been too busy suing Samsung to pay attention to this stuff.
     

 

Is Apple Maps Working Directly With Retailers? Is Apple Maps Working Directly With Retailers?

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I heard a rumor recently that a U.S. retail chain has been providing Apple Maps with a spreadsheet of its locations and in exchange has been getting information back from Apple on their business listing data in Apple Maps. I am trying to get this verified (either on or off-the-record). If you have any information about this, please contact me here.

I am not looking to out anyone, just would like more detail about the program, if it indeed exists.

No Business Claiming for Apple Maps for iOS8? No Business Claiming for Apple Maps for iOS8?

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Apple Maps Transit Directions

9to5Mac reports that a major upgrade to Apple Maps is in the works for iOS8, with public transit data being the big feature. The report also mentions that “Apple is also working on unique ways for integrating indoor mapping views and enhanced car integration for future versions of iOS. Sources say that Apple has also begun work on augmented reality functionality that leverages the iPhone’s compass hardware to visually see nearby points of interest.”

These sound like worthwhile consumer-focused applications but they aren’t going to do businesses with screwed-up data or missing locations any good. I wouldn’t have expected Apple to use a leak like this to pre-announce a business claiming feature – consumers wouldn’t care and it would do nothing to get people excited about iOS8, but I hope we are pleasantly surprised by a business claiming feature when the update comes out. It is sorely needed.

Apple Maps May Be Using Phone Verification for Businesses Apple Maps May Be Using Phone Verification for Businesses

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I just saw this in the Apple support forum:

“We have been trying to get our location corrected for over a year. We finally got a call from Apple about 6 months ago and they said they are aware of the wrong address and would have it fixed in a couple of months. It is still incorrect. Our business name is The Orchard. We are a wedding venue and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday we have from 200 to 400 guests trying to find us. “

This is the first I have heard of Apple Maps calling a business to verify the location data. Has anyone else been called by Apple like this?

Sorry Wrong Number Poster