Archive for October, 2012

Fixing Bad Yelp Reviews on Apple Maps

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A reader writes:

I own a small business and I am struggling with Yelp. We currently have 12 reviews from reviewers. 10 are positive, 2 are negative. We can easily identify 11 of these reviewers as being real clients of ours. However, Yelp has chosen to “filter” every single one of our positive reviews and none of the negative. When I contact Yelp, they just hide behind that blanket of the “filter software” or whatever. Now, when people use the Apple Maps app, they locate us and immediately beneath our name are the 2 negative Yelp reviews.  It is my opinion that Yelp is only showing the positive reviews of businesses who advertise with them. What can I do? Thoughts?

Negative Yelp reviews are a problem.  Negative Yelp reviews that also show up on Apple Maps make the problem worse as Apple shows the most recent Yelp reviews for your business on the profile screen:

Alberto's Cantina Pleasanton Yelp Review

So even if you are a five-star restaurant, three recent bad reviews can make you look bad on Apple Maps.  Normally I would tell a business that they just need to get some more positive reviews and that will push the bad ones out.  But in the case above where Yelp’s filters are hiding the good reviews, what can you do?  To help figure this out, I consulted Matt Siltala of Avalaunch Media.  Matt is probably one of the top Yelp marketing experts, so what he says, goes.  From Mat:

First she needs to make a page on her website that will drive people to review on Yelp.  Not just have Yelp, but have all main review sites (link directly to them on this page) and then direct her customers to that page to leave reviews – Don’t ask for them to go there and leave a “Yelp” review. … let them pick what place they want.  This way you will get the users of the right groups to leave reviews on the places they use and thus eliminate the chance of them getting filtered.  This will also help distribute the wealth.  I don’t give a rats ass what Yelp says about not doing this.  You are simply showing people where they can review you because you “love” reviews … it is up to the user to leave a review wehre they want.  Yelp is stupid and two faced about their “amazing” review filter and service.  They are gonna do whatever they can to extort the most money out of business owners via their paid programs options (talk about two-faced), so business owners NEED to do all they can to get legit reviews to show up.  This example you share is my point exactly of why this is needed – they need to seek out and find active Yelp users by guiding them.

In short, you need to figure out which customers of yours are active Yelpers.  Then you need to figure out how to get them to write something nice about you on Yelp.  Finding your customers on Yelp shouldn’t be too hard, particularly if you already are connected to them on Facebook.  You’ve got a Facebook strategy right?  You can then use Facebook Connect to connect with your friends/customers on Yelp.  Of course, you could also just search Yelp.

Solving these types of problems is rarely simple, but if those bad reviews are hurting your business, they need to be solved.  Some bedtime reading for you:

Yelp Review Filter Explained
Your Business & Yelp
How To SPAM Yelp 

 

 

Acxiom Business Listings Are On Apple Maps in Canada

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UPDATED: I have received confirmation from people who would know that Acxiom data is in fact being supplied to Apple Maps for Canadian business listings.  I have updated the title of this post accordingly.  Hopefully they will inform their customer service people :)  Sorry for the confusion.  The post below should now be treated as mere entertainment.

Last week I published a list of the Apple Maps Business Listings Suppliers by Country.  I should have qualified that post as very much a work-in-progress.  I put together the list based on the data providers noted here and then researched which countries each vendor serves.  I have also reached out to each supplier to confirm my assumptions, but thus far none have gone on the record – some have refused while others have agreed to talk, but I have yet to follow up.  It’s likely that those I do speak with won’t say much anyhow.  Apple partners are justifiably tight-lipped about their relationships with Cupertino.

In the case of Acxiom, I suspected that they were supplying Canadian data as they do offer Canadian business listings and I had seen some speculation from some Canadian SEOs that Acxiom was being used there.  I asked Acxiom to confirm this, but they did not want to go on the record.  Of course, I could have just picked up the phone, called Acxiom customer service and asked like Dale Butterfield:

Blame Canada Acxiom

Note: This doesn’t necessarily mean that Acxiom is not being used in Apple Maps in Canada.  It may just mean they haven’t told their customer service department.

Why Isn’t My Business Showing Up On Apple Maps?

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I have been looking into the case of the missing Didgeroo on Apple Maps.  Didgeroo, Ltd, a London SEO & Web Marketing shop, has done everything by the book (a still-mostly-unwritten-book of course) – they have a Yelp profile and they have submitted their business data to TomTom (about two weeks ago), but they still are not showing up in Apple Maps.  While I haven’t finished my investigation, there are two potential issues that seem like good candidates for Didgeroo’s snafu:

1. Address Issues
When you search for their address in Apple Maps (86-90 Paul Street London England) you get a marker that says only “Paul Street”:
Apple Maps No Street Number

But when you change the query to another address on Paul Street like “10 Paul Street London England”, you get the street number:

Apple Maps With Street Number

This makes me think that Apple Maps either has a problem with complicated address numbers like 86-90 or, more likely, it does not have this address in its dataset.  Which brings me to my second thought on TomTom Places:

2. TomTom is Overloaded With New/Updated Business Listings
As far as I can tell TomTom is the primary business listings data provider for Apple Maps for a large number of countries.  When you submit your business info to TomTom Places, before they ship it over to Apple Maps, or anywhere else, they probably have to go through a verification process which means they need to prove that the data you have submitted is correct.  Since there is an overwhelming amount of incorrect data and an equally overwhelming amount of attention being given to Apple Maps, I’ve got to believe that in the past few weeks, TomTom has received millions of new submissions/updates.  I don’t care how many people you have in the Philippines doing your grunt work, it’s going to take more than two weeks to get through a lot of these verifications.  When I think about what they must be going through, it kind of reminds me of this:

There may even be a third issue related to the underlying geo-data about the address that could be harder to solve than putting Lucy and Ethel on the line…

There are some other potential issues mentioned in my discussion with Didgeroo’s Chris Skitch here. If anyone has any other thoughts on this problem, please add to the comments. I am sure Didgeroo would appreciate it.

Apple Maps Business Listings Data Suppliers By Country

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Note: This list was last updated on 9.26.16 and is very much a work-in-progress.

I have noticed a lot of confusion about how to add listings to Apple Maps for different countries. While you can do so via the “Report a Problem” screen on Apple Maps, all businesses should also make sure their data is up to date on the relevant data supplier for their country. Failing to do this could mean that your business info gets overwritten when Apple gets a new update from a supplier whose data it trusts more than the data you have submitted.

I have put together this list of data vendors by country to help make it easier to figure out where to go to update your data:

Business Listings Supplier Country
Axciom Global
Apontador Brazil
Booking.com Global
DAC Group United States
Das Örtliche Germany
Factual Global
Foursquare Global
GasBuddy Canada & United States
GreatSchools United States
Herold.at Austria
iPeen Taiwan
LinkMercado S. A. (TeleListas.net) Brazil
Neustar Localeze United States
Location3 United States
Mobilsoft SPRL Global
MomentFeed United States
NavAds BV Netherlands
PagesJaune S.A. France
Parkopedia United States
PositionTech United States
Rio SEO United States
SIM Partners United States
Swisscom Directories Switzerland
Tabelog China
TripAdvisor Global
Where 2 Get It (Brandify) United States
Yellow Pages Group Corp Canada
Yellow Pages Turkey Turkey
Yelp Global
Yext United States & Europe
KingWay Technology China
Fonecta.Fi Finland
Quandoo Europe & Asia
DTG BV Netherlands

This list is based on information found in the Apple Maps Acknowledgments page.  I’ll keep this list updated as I get new information.  Feel free to ping me if you have any.

How To Add Your Business To TomTom

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TomTom MapShare Reporter

Tom Tom, the in-car navigation service, is a data provider to Apple Maps.  While it’s unclear how much business listing data Tom Tom is providing, my sources tell me they suspect that Tom Tom is supplementing listing data provided by other sources in the following countries:

Austria
Belgium
Canada
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Ireland
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
Russia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

While in many cases, TomTom appears to source its business listing data from third parties, it also provides the ability for businesses in the above countries (except for Canada and Russia) to add their listings to the TomTom database or update an existing listing.  To do this go to Tom Tom Places and search for your company.  If it’s not in TomTom’s database, then you can add it by entering your information here.  Be sure to categorize your listing correctly when prompted.

If your business is displaying the wrong location on Apple Maps in one of the TomTom countries, you can try to correct the situation in TomTom’s database by using TomTom’s Mapshare Reporter.  Mapshare Reporter allows you to enter an address and then file a report about what you think is wrong with the address.  Warning: It does not appear to work with Chrome browsers.

At this point, it’s unclear how quickly TomTom updates its data, and how quickly TomTom updates make it into Apple Maps.  Stay tuned…

Another 1% Of Apple Maps Users Jump Off The Empire State Building

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Mike Blumenthal just pinged me about a survey about consumer interest in the iPhone5 AppleInsider published today.  According to the survey:

Apple Maps v Antennagate

“Despite the media attention surrounding both the Apple Maps issue and the Apple Lightning port issue, neither has had an impact on the massive numbers of buyers queuing up to buy the iPhone 5,” said Dr. Paul Carton, ChangeWave’s vice president of Research. “Rather, the survey results show both issues hardly rank as bumps in the road.

ChangeWave also asked respondents running iOS 6 if they had experienced problems with Apple Maps, and the survey found that the new mapping software has not been a major issue for users. Among those polled, 90 percent reported “no problem at all,” while 3 percent said iOS 6 Maps are a “very big problem,” while 6 percent said the issue is “somewhat of a problem.”

The data shows that any perceived issues with iOS 6 Maps are less of a concern than the “antenna-gate” controversy with the iPhone 4.”

The 90% no problem number matches up well with Mike’s Google Survey which showed that 91% of iOS 6 Users didn’t have a problem with Apple Maps and were not going to jump off the Empire State Building.  For that extra 1%, it’s going to be a long way down.

Unofficial Apple Maps Frequently Asked Questions by Businesses

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WTF Apple Maps?

Chris Skitch has put together a nice little Apple Maps FAQ for businesses. I thought it would be helpful to repeat it (and update it a little – in italics) here:

Q: How do I add, edit or update my business listing in Apple Maps?
A: No official answer currently exists. Best guesses:
- Use the “report a problem” link in the maps app and follow the instructions
- Add a new business entry to Yelp
- Add a new business entry to Tom Tom Places
- Read How To Add Your Business Listing to Apple Maps

Q: How do I fix my business location in Apple Maps?
 If your business is located in the wrong spot on the Map, in the “Report a Problem” section, you can either drag the map pin to the right location (which is not very accurate) or you can submit a recommendation for updating the location info.

Q: What is the verification process for changes to listings?
A: No official answer currently exists. In the U.S., my best guess is to use Localeze’s Premium Listings service. It’s likely to be faster than whatever internal process Apple is using.

Q: How do I monitor the progress of a listing amendment?
A: No official answer currently exists, but check for it in Apple Maps daily

Q: Can I take ownership of my business entry and have access to analytics data?
A: No official answer currently exists. My sources tell me that this is likely a year away.

Q: Will I be notified when my listing is updated?
A: No official answer currently exists. Evidence to date suggests if a change is made then the person reporting the problem is not notified.

Q: How will I know if my listing is rejected?

A: No official answer currently exists.

Q: How long can I expect it will take to have a new business listing added to the maps?
A: No official answer currently exists. Some reports suggest within 24hrs. Others have waited 18+days and still can not see their listing.

91% of Apple Maps Users Are Not Going To Jump Off The Empire State Building

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But 9% Will

Mike Blumenthal surveyed iOS6 consumers about their satisfaction with Apple Maps and the iPhone.

Apple Maps Survey

“It would appear from these results that most users have little or no opinion about the change and that the level of dissatisfaction is very low. Despite the many, many negative reports in the press, it would seem that most users will not become less loyal or use the iPhone any less because of the mapping app.”