Perhaps I am being overly-dramatic.
I don’t need to catalog all the ways Google Maps/Places/+Local makes it hard for businesses to figure out how to work with it. Spend a few hours over at Mike Blumenthal’s blog for more on that and you’re brain will likely explode.
This week’s launch (re-launch?) of Nokia’ HERE Maps is a prime example of a consistent trend where online mapping services, in the rush to create the greatest consumer mapping service ever, seem to treat businesses as second-class citizens/after-thoughts.
Earlier this week, I posted How To Add a Business To Nokia Maps (aka Here.net). Typical ignorant American that I am, I had never used Nokia’s maps. Then when they made their big, in-your-face-Apple/Google announcement, I had to check it out. The first thing I noticed was that there was almost no effort to communicate to businesses how to work with the service. In fact, the UI was so lacking in that regard, that in my initial draft of the post, I actually wasn’t sure how to add a business to Nokia Maps, err, I mean Here (HERE?).
Now go back to HERE and check out the home page, the navigation, the FAQ page, etc. and I defy you to find any information on what you can do if your business is not listed on the service, let alone any mention of Nokia Prime Place.
I get it. Consumers come first and all that, but while Nokia’s HERE hoopla might get a lot of people checking it out for a second or two, who do you think is really going to spend time on the service in the first few weeks? My bet goes to marketers trying to make sure they are properly represented.
While they do provide a not-so-easy-to-find FAQ on what to do if the data for a business is incorrect, how hard would it have been to add a “For Businesses” section to the FAQ or the footer which mentioned that you could go to Nokia Prime Place? And how many businesses will figure out that HERE and Nokia Prime Place are even related? Nokia hasn’t even changed the Nokia Maps branding on the Prime Place home page.
Apple Maps is no better in this regard, hence the need for shameless blogs like this one.
And while we are on the snark, a word about the branding – too generic. Let’s do a test. Hey, let’s go to Jumbo’s Clown Room. What’s the address?
a. Hold on, let me check Google Maps
b. Hold on, let me check Apple Maps
c. Hold on, let me check Here