Unafﬁliated with Apple, Inc.
Looks like Apple Maps is starting to roll out reviews from more sources attached to business profiles. I am surprised it has taken this long. I would not be surprised if by the end of the year we see a lot more data sources in the maps. It has been Yelp’s playground for way too long. Wonder when GasBuddy and GreatSchools will go live?
Yesterday, Apple Maps Connect started allowing businesses in Italy, Mexico & Switzerland to claim their profiles in Apple Maps. Check it out:
You can get the latest on how to get your business in Apple Maps by checking out our Apple Maps Connect FAQ post.
While we had previously discovered that Yext* and a number of local search agencies were going to be providing data to Apple Maps, it looks like Apple made it official some time this past month by adding Yext as a supplier of “Business Listings Data” to Apple Maps’ Acknowledgements page.
The following companies are also new to the Acknowledgements page:
GasBuddy/OpenStore (GasBuddy.com): I assume this is to get gas prices attached to gas station profiles, but I don’t see this data on Apple Maps yet.
GreatSchools (GreatSchools.com): I assume this is to add school reviews and other school data to the maps, but I haven’t seen this data on Apple Maps yet.
National Land Survey of Finland Topographic Database: Might help finding your way around Helsinki.
This should be a big deal for these companies as they can now officially tout to customers that they have direct feeds into Apple Maps. Most of the companies I outed in November were unable to even mention to most of their employees that they were working with Apple because of Apple’s NDA. My understanding as of the end of 2014 is that most of those companies were beta testing working with Apple and had little control or understanding of how Apple was using their data, including whether or not Apple was using their data at all. This public acknowledgement of Yext, GasBuddy & GreatSchools implies that they are or soon will be using data from these three companies.
My bet is this is beginning of a trend where Apple Maps integrates consumer-focused third-party data into its business listings similar to how it has integrated Yelp. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the launch of iOS 9 this fall, that we start to see a lot more of these types of partnerships, particularly in areas like Hotel and Restaurant Reservations.
I still expect Apple Maps to develop an integrated app strategy where the map will know that you have a certain app on your phone that has data relevant to your map query and will either display the data on the map or provide the ability to open the app to complete the query, similar to what Google Maps is doing with Uber. This may end up being a great app discovery tool as well if AM starts suggesting apps based on your map queries. They already do to some extent with relevant apps at the bottom of the POI profiles, but I imagine this is pretty invisible to most users.
*Full disclosure: Yext is a client of our consulting company, Local SEO Guide
Apple Maps Connect was down about an hour ago. I just tried it again and got the following screen which presents options to pick English, French or German as your language and to subscribe to “News and Notifications”. This may mean that Maps Connect is now available for businesses in French and German-speaking countries:
Très intéressant ist es nicht?
I haven’t been on it in a few days so not sure how long this has been going on. Hopefully this means they are releasing an upgrade.
Is anyone else seeing this?
According to Stephen Hamilton of QIS Packaging in Brisbane, Apple Maps Connect is now available to businesses in Australia, New Zealand & Singapore:
Last week Maps Connect also rolled out to the UK & Ireland. To the best of my knowledge this is now the list of countries that can use Apple Maps Connect:
It’s surprising that it still hasn’t rolled out to Canada, eh?
If any of you blokes are looking for how to add your UK business to Apple Maps, look no further than Apple Maps Connect. According to the Guardian Maps Connect now accepts listings from the UK & Ireland.
When Apple Maps Connect launched a few months ago allowing U.S. businesses to claim and update their listings, one of the rules was that your business could not use a forwarded phone number. We got a number of reports that if you submitted a forwarding number, Apple would reject it. Now we have some new info that perhaps Apple is changing its mind?
Russ Offord, a Milwaukee Web Designer, emailed me a week ago saying that he had submittted a new listing for Orion Group and it was rejected because it used a forwarding number. In this case, the forwarded number had been created because of a moved location and regulations about 911 calls. According to Russ:
We moved our office location years ago from one city to another and wanted to keep the same phone number. Apparently, due to regulations for 911 purposes, we are forced to have our primary number (at the telco level) use a number with a local ‘exchange’. So what the phone company did was to change our old number to be a ‘Remote Call Forward’ number that forwards seamlessly to our new location’s number.
When he originally submitted the listing with the forwarded old number, he got the following message from Apple:
The phone number for Orion Group LLC at Indian Grass Ln in Sussex is being forwarded.
Our automated system detected that the phone number for your business is being forwarded to another number. For security purposes, we require that profiles only contain direct and non-forwarded phone numbers. Please update your profile with a direct phone number.
And the business’ profile on Apple Maps Connect was marked as “Waiting for Review”.
Then yesterday Russ accidentally re-edited the data on the listing and submitted it…and the listing got approved.
Hopefully this wasn’t a glitch and thanks to this post Orion will now get rolled back. I am thinking this was approved because because of the specifics of this case whereas a standard business with forwarding numbers will not get approved.
Has anyone else been able to get forwarded numbers approved?
When I started this site, my goal was to keep it as opinion-free as possible and just post “how to” type info. Now that we’re about two years in, it’s time for a rant:
Same Day Serves passed on this email he received from Apple Maps re the whole no home-based businesses on Apple Maps thing:
“…at this time we are not accepting any mobile or home-based businesses without external signage. If your business qualifies then please send a photo showing the external sign or building business directory matching your business name. There are two reasons for this policy. Firstly, Apple Maps is intended to help people navigate to businesses. It is not intended to be a general business directory. Secondly, this policy prevents people from creating fake listings at locations where they’re not present…”
So as I said previously home-based businesses either need not apply or should employ a good Photoshop artist.
On a more philosophical note, while I agree with the concept of not allowing fake listings, I think this throws the baby out with the bathwater. “Firstly” let’s address the point that Apple Maps is intended to help people navigate to businesses by listening to the U.S. Small Business Administration:
“What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home-based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.”
So a service that is intended to help people navigate to businesses will not help you navigate to more than half of all U.S. businesses.
And if this service is intended to help people navigate to businesses, then why include parks, government buildings, and all sorts of other “non-business” points of interest? Shouldn’t this service be intended to help people navigate to wherever they want to go, which may include home-based businesses?
But secondly, Apple Maps is keeping home-based businesses out in order to prevent people from creating fake listings at locations where they’re not present. While I agree that residential addresses are tempting targets for creating fake listings, how are they any less tempting than business addresses? Both Google Maps and Apple Maps are littered with fake business address spam.
I know the Apple Maps team has a hard job to do, but I don’t think home-based businesses should be penalized for it.
Well, perhaps “announces” is a bit strong. When we submitted an inquiry about submitting a client with a few hundred locations to Apple Maps Connect, we received the following email:
“Thank you for your recent inquiry and interest in publishing your business locations via our new Business Portal. At this time, we are only accepting bulk submissions from businesses with at least 1,000 locations. In the meantime, you may want to research the service offerings provided by the following companies that currently provide us business listing information on behalf of their clients: (in alphabetical order):
Please note: Information about third party services is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Apple does not warrant or guarantee any particular result (including publication of your business in Apple Maps) or the accuracy or reliability of any services provided by any third parties referenced herein.”
While we already knew that Factual, Neustar/Localeze and Yelp were providing data, all of these other companies are new. This should be a huge windfall for them. And what happened to Acxiom?