Why Do Map Services Not Give a S%#! About Businesses?

Why Do Map Services Not Give a S%#! About Businesses?

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Here Maps Logo

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?).

Chris Sheehy of Sidewalk Branding was kind enough to save my credibility by pointing out to me that you could add a business to HERE via Nokia Prime Place.

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

 

  • Daryl Osswald

    Its all Google’s fault. They created a self-service platform to keep from hiring massive amounts of staffers to make a worthwhile service. Now the rest of the world is modeling after the Goliath Why? Well, they see a GOOG stock rising in a declining market, so why not copy a successful behemoth?

    And why wouldn’t you? GOOG has shown that by creating a platform where the general public can append listings, can provide businesses with phone calls and leads. With this platform they have hundreds of Googler’s (not employed by GOOG) sitting in their homes, spending hours on Map Maker, becoming entrusted Googlelites. Once GOOG Knights them with their Google power, they become empowered to achieve great things within the Map Maker world. I actually have contacts within that world and they have helped me rid the Google Maps/Google Places/ and now G+ of spammy listings. But the road to Google G+/Google Places success was long and hard. In the beginning we all saw the infamous Locksmith spam take place. In the beginning GOOG’s platform was so wide open that you could load files with 1000′s of addresses and take over cities. The door was wide open then, GOOG quickly rescinded this power.

    GOOG could farm out this information for lots of money, but why would they, they rode a long hard road to get to this point, they have enough cash to weather any more storms, so let the copycats swim in the deep end with the big fish and we’ll see who can make it. So far, everyone’s sinking.

  • Howard Lerman

    The best business data is first party, and the best maps will recognize this.

    • Andrew Shotland

      Agree Howard. And while the management of first party data is tricky – good idea for a start-up no? – it blows my mind that these big multi-million dollar services don’t even make token moves toward business owners.

  • Tom Bickel

    Upon having read about Here, it seemed logical to go check it out. All it did was validate your observation. It looks a lot like most of the business registration interfaces I have visited over the past several years (half-assed). In the process of registering my business (which is a pest control company), I realized that Here does not offer a category for my type of service. Since a category is required, it was a wasted exercise. To take it further though, I could not even find a suitable category for Jumbo’s Clown Room.

    • Andrew Shotland

      In all fairness Tom, Jumbo’s is beyond mere categorization…