Archive for October, 2012

Apple Maps Adding Missing Locations Quickly

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One of my first experiences with Apple Maps was mapping a route to an address in the next town over that was not yet in Apple Maps’ database – 4465 1st St. in Livermore, CA. I reported the problem and about within a week or two, the location was added and live.

Seems like fixing the missing POIs is a high priority, as it should be.

As you can see from this thread, a lot of people are seeing this too. Also interesting how many people are submitting recommended fixes. While I don’t want to underestimate the scale of the problem, hundreds of millions of crowdsourced fixes can improve things rapidly.

Probably not soon enough for the soggy folk of Gronant, though.

Gronant, Wales Apple Maps

Reputation Management for Apple Maps

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Outside of your business not even existing on Apple Maps (see How To Add a Business To Apple Maps), probably the worst thing that could happen at the moment is that your business is listed but it presents a negative image.  This week at SMX East, I gave a talk on How To Optimize Your Business on Apple Maps and covered the two basic type of reputation management issues I have seen thus far:

Bad Photos
The business profile screen on Apple Maps plays a pretty cool slideshow made up of photos from your Yelp page. If you don’t have photos on your Yelp listing, then the satellite view of your location is shown. The problem is that if you have a bad picture, like say a cockroach in one of your hotel rooms, it don’t look too good:
Cockroach Photo Apple Maps

If this is happening to you, you definitely want to upload some more photos to your Yelp business listing to push the cockroach down in the list. There’s no guarantee you can make it not show up, but if there are a lot of photos for your business, it’s less likely the bug will be seen.

Bad Reviews
The “Reviews” screen on the Apple Maps business profile shows the most recent three Yelp reviews for your business (sometimes I have seen them display in a different order – this is likely a data synchronization issue that will fix itself over time). Because there are so few reviews displayed so prominently, having even one negative review up there is not a good thing. For example:
Alberto's Cantina Pleasanton Yelp Review

In cases like these you’ll want to get some good reviews right away to push these bad ones down. There doesn’t seem to be a review “diversity” algorithm that favors display of different opinions, but at some point I am sure that will happen. For now though, a couple of good reviews can get rid of that asap. Remember that in order to avoid getting these good reviews filtered, you should make sure the reviewers have some connections on Yelp to other reviewers, particularly Elite reviewers in your area/niche.

A Tip About Yelp Tips
If you can’t get the reviews on Yelp.com, you can leave a “Tip” via the Apple Maps profile. New tips get immediately added to your profile on the Yelp mobile app and may eventually show up on your Apple Maps profile, pushing the bad stuff down. That said, my initial tests show that reviews from Yelp.com show up pretty fast on Apple Maps.

That’s all for now. Let me know if you figure anything else out. As I discover more about how the system works, I’ll let you know.

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How To Add Your Business Listing To Apple Maps

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Source: OMGDroid

Want to know how to get your business listed on Apple Maps?  Too bad.  You can’t.  Not directly, anyhow.

UPDATE 10/22/14: Apple launched Apple Maps Connect to allow businesses to add and update their listings on Apple Maps! Check out my Apple Maps Connect FAQ.

But there are some rudimentary tools available for you to optimize your business presence on the maps as much as possible and add a location if it’s missing.  Here’s how:

Search for Your Business
Get your hands on an iPhone or iPad that has been updated to iOS6.  Open the Maps app and enter your business name and location in the search box.  Make sure you use the location.   In its current state, Apple Maps can get easily confused if the query is not precise.  In fact, because the app suffers from quirky data consistency issues, I recommend you do the following searches, just to make sure your business shows up for all of them:

- business name + city
- business name + city + state
- business name + street address
- business name + street address + city
- business name + street address + city + state
- business phone number

If your business listing does not appear for any of these queries, it’s possible that you may have one of the following issues:

- Apple Maps does not have your business in its database
- Apple Maps is confusing your location with a different location (e.g. Miami, FL v. Miami, OH)
- Apple Maps does not have your location in its database

Here are some ways you can try to correct the situation:

Adding Your Business Listing To Apple Maps Database

There are three main ways to currently add a US-based business to Apple Maps:

    1. Report Your Location to Apple Maps
      i.     Search for your location
      ii.     In the location detail click the “Report a Problem” link
      iii.     Choose the appropriate problem
      iv.     Choose “Other” on the Report a Problem screen
      v.     Add your business data via the various fields and submitIt’s unclear how often Apple is updating the maps based on user-submitted data, but my guess is they are furiously figuring out how to do it asap.

    2. Add Your Business to Yelp
      Yelp syndicates reviews and other content to Apple Maps.  If your business has been verified on Yelp, there’s a good chance that it will show up on the maps.  If you do not already have a business listing on Yelp, check out How To Add Your Business Listing To Yelp.Again, it’s unclear how often Apple updates the Yelp data, but my guess is this is some of the more frequently updated data on the maps.
    3. Submit Your Business to Localeze
      Localeze is the core U.S. business listing data provider for Apple Maps.  If your business is not listed on Apple Maps, go to this URL to check if your business is in Localeze’s database.  If not, you can submit your information to Localeze for free.  That said, the free submissions can take a while to make it into the database.  Depending on how complex it is to verify your submission, the premium submission ($297/year) can take 1-2 weeks.  Localeze provides updates to Apple on a regular basis, although we don’t know how often Apple is updating the Localeze data.  Note: Localeze Premium listings retail for $397. I can get it for you a lot cheaper, so get in touch if you need a submission.
    4. Submit Your Business to Factual
      Factual.com is another key global business listing data provider. You can submit your listing here.
    5. Submit Your Business to Acxiom
      Acxiom is yet another global data provider to Apple Maps. You can submit U.S. listings via My Business Listing Manager.
    6. Add Your Business to OpenStreetMap
      OpenStreetMap is kind of like the Wikipedia of maps. Anyone can contribute to it. It’s a bit complicated but once you figure it out, it’s pretty easy. Apparently Apple was using an old version of OSM, but it may have been updated by now.

In the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple creates a formal business claiming process, but I wouldn’t expect that for at least another year.  I doubt Apple is going to create its own data verification process.  Working through a system to allow business claiming while running verification through its various data partners is likely less of a priority than making sure the mapping functionality works.

If you are asking yourself “how can I add my business to Apple maps?” and you don’t have a good answer, feel free to contact me and I might be able to help.

UPDATE: I am now offering a service to help get your business listed on Apple Maps. More info here.

Apple Maps Suck, But You Know What Doesn’t Suck?

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1,000,000,000 iOS devices in use by 2015.

Source: Asymco.com

So even though Apple Maps is getting a huge amount of crap dumped on it right now (even my father is under the impression that they suck), that doesn’t mean that millions of people won’t be using them to find things, including local businesses.  That’s where this blog comes in.  As Tim Cook and co attempt to unsuck their maps, we will attempt to chronicle what you can do to make sure that your business has the best chance of being seen by your potential customers.  And we will also remind you about the time Google Maps lost La Jolla

Stay tuned!