Apple Maps Is the 10th Most Popular Mobile App in the U.S.

Comscore has released its July 2013 U.S. Smartphone Subscriber Market Share report.  According to Comscore Apple Maps is now the 10th most popular mobile app in the U.S. and is reaching about 28% of all smartphone users.  With Apple releasing its new iPhone(s?) later this month and OS Mavericks, its new desktop operating system which comes with Apple Maps baked in, in October, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number hits around 40% by January.  Apple Maps is for real and it will keep on getting realer.  Time to figure it out for your business, no?

Greg Sterling has more detail on the Comscore report.

How To Add a Business to Apple Maps in Australia

The sources Apple Maps uses for business listings data vary by country. Today, I was trying to help Happy Endings Comedy Club in Sydney, Australia figure out why they were being shown at 88 Brougham St. when their address is 154 Brougham St. You can follow the discussion on the Apple Support Community here, but I thought it might be useful to my Aussie friends to discuss what I found here.

Warning: I have no idea if this is accurate or not. It’s just what I have found thus far. If you have any corrections or additions, please let me know.


    1. Apple Maps Primary(?) Australian & New Zealand Data Provider is WhereIs Sensis Pty Ltd

      WhereIs appears to aggregate both geo-spatial data (addresses, roads, topography, etc.) from various Australian sources and business listings data (also known as POIs – Points of Interest) from its parent company, Sensis, one of the biggest media companies in Australia, is basically a Yellow Pages monopoly.

    2. It’s Highly Likely That Most Australian Business Listings Data Comes From Sensis
      Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your listing is in Sensis’ (& its parent co Telstra’s) local search engines:

    3. Check Factual
      Factual has listings for Australia that Apple may be using, so check to see if you are listed in their Global Places data set and submit a new record if not (registration required).

Dingo Ate My Baby

    1. When In Doubt, Try Yelp Australia
      In the case of Happy Ending, they were not present in any of the above databases, at either address.  The only presence I could find for them relevant to Apple Maps was in Yelp Australia.  I didn’t think Apple was using Yelp for base listings data, only reviews and photos, but in certain countries, Apple may be relying on Yelp as a source of ground truth.
    2. It May Be The Mapping Data, Not The Business Data
      The fact that Happy Ending was listed at the incorrect address and I couldn’t find any references to that address in any of the obvious places – or in Google – leads me to think this is less an issue with NAP data and more likely an issue with Apple or the WhereIs screwing up the geo-spatial coordinates.  So besides reporting a problem via Apple Maps, it probably would be a good idea to report the error to WhereIs which you can do here.Happy Ending told me they were going to try all of this stuff, so I’ll keep you posted if it works.  Even if it doesn’t, the exercise should be a net positive for the business as right now they are pretty much invisible in most of the top local search services besides Yelp.


Who Will Apple Maps Buy Next?

Apple Hopstop Locationary
Apple’s acquisitions last week of Locationary and HopStop got me wondering which company was next on its hit list. I asked some smart people in Local Search for their predictions and here’s what they had to say, listed in order of who responded first:

Matt Booth
Matt Booth, CEO, Yellowbot:
“Travel oriented sites like Trip Advisor. Anything with mobile scale and mobile pics. Eventually, I think they just buy MapQuest.”

gib olander
Gib Olander, CEO of Local Viewpoints, a new review service for SMBs:
“Someone in the review space for sure 🙂 They need more descriptive content. Foursquare would be terrific – maybe the best context relevant content on the web. The other big company would be OpenTable. Foursquare has terrific relevancy content. Both Foursquare and OpenTable each are loaded with content and context when people make decisions and where they go next. Things that enable action. It would have to integrate with Siri and the personal assistant idea. A scheduling company? There are a few photo sites / apps that might make sense. Apple thinks its job is to make great products that seem magical. Relevancy is a way for that magic to happen. I don’t think they want to crawl the web to find all the content on the web they are going to look for ways to cheat and have feeds of content brought in. That’s the idea of the Locationary product at least. Foursquare may be too big for them to buy and not core enough, but they have the most interesting data/content in the marketplace today.”

Mike Blumenthal
Mike Blumenthal:
“Well the big issues that remain would seem to be geo quality, quick updates (crowdsourcing) and real time updates. They are obviously interested in the latter as expressed by their interest in Waze. But perhaps someone (As Dobson pointed out in September) like TeleNav could satisfy that. As to who can help them with geo quality and geo updates is not clear to me…. given that they don’t seem to like to buy bigger companies like TeleAtlas (which is not that good to start with)”

Mike Boland
Mike Boland, VP Content & Sr Analyst of BIA Kelsey:
“(Whatever it is, with) the two mapping related acquisitions this week, they’re building a data backbone in the wake of MapGate. BTW “mapgate” is a misspelled word in iOS I’m now seeing. No OTA update to autocorrect it with Tim Cook’s apology letter.”

Peter Krasilovsky
Peter Krasilovsky, VP, Conferences and Sr. Analyst of BIA Kelsey:
“Maybe a map-based, mobile-oriented coupon company like Antengo or a coupons and deals service like 8coupons.” More on Peter’s thoughts here.

greg sterling
Greg Sterling:
“I would think Apple is potentially interested in its own business listings and local data source, notwithstanding the recent Locationary acquisition. I also think that Apple might want to go after someone like INRIX, which provides traffic information. Alternatively I could equally imagine a directions and navigation acquisition, such as Telenav. ”

mr burns
Mr. Burns:
“For future acquisitions, my guess is tuck-in stuff, not something spectacular like Yelp or 4sq.”

Deep Throat All The Presidents Men Hal Holbrook
Deep Throat:
“Telenav comes to mind. And I’d look at all of the apps that Apple promoted in the App Store when they had the fiasco maps launch. Hopper is an interesting startup they might look at but probably too early. Foursquare is still too expensive. Pretty sure Apple will want a buy that gives them a combination of data and tech/talent. There aren’t many options. Other than niche plays like Hopstop.”

Office Space Milton

Deeper Than Deep, Deep Throat:
“Locationary, theoretically satisfied merge/purge ETL issue and HopStop gets them into transit data, although they still have a long way to go. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did something in the LiDAR area as it relates to imagery. Google has been using this technology for years to map points in space and do things like extract images and text and match it up with their precise locations. There’s a lot of amazing data you can get from this that can inform what you show for various map queries. For example, knowing where a one-way sign is a located. That said, Apple’s thing is to leap-frog, so what could they do that’s different from Google Maps? Maybe tying it to commerce via Passbook? Google already does something like this with Google Offers and Google Wallet, but I don’t think that it has gotten significant traction, so perhaps a big local commerce play. Then again, just improving “Report a Problem” feature would be a big step.”

Perry Evans
Perry Evans, CEO of Closely
“The most logical moves, in my opinion, are on data layering “on top” of base mapping. For base mapping, controlling the work of TomTom would be the obvious move, since they now know what they have and how it’s working/not working. There’s no silver bullet in base mapping and navigation.

For layered data, I’d look to acquire Factual or Urban Airship – to bolster the ability to add and leverage social-local content for data and ad infrastructure. Beyond that, I’ve always felt Yelp was the logical buy, but they seem to be acting pretty independently, and I suspect Apple has already tried that plan.

A couple of wildcards – or maybe a player in interior mapping tech. I’d look to the leading tech for taking a position in photo processing for 3-D and interior pics. I love cycloramic – great simple tool, very interesting low tech approach for recording interior 3-ds.”

Newman Seinfeld
“There is an early stage company in the bay area called Alohar. It should probably be bought by Apple and the opportunity could be right. They have a very interesting SDK that captures a ton of realtime location data from within apps on the mobile devices. If you want to chat with them as well I can connect you. They are down in Palo Alto. The CEO was former Google and handled location services for the Apple relationship early on and then more mainline location services for Google before leaving 2-3 years ago.”

austin powers
Austin Powers
“Apple has plenty of business data coming through multiple sources but technology cannot cleanse all of it. Apple will likely need some small set up with expertise in local specific business listings. My guess is that they may end up scooping a data setup like wCities or Urban Spoon.”


As I mulled over the various responses, it got me thinking about Apple’s strategy for maps. As Horace Dediu would ask:

“What is the job Apple Maps is hired to do?”

There are many, like Matt Yglesias, who would argue persuasively that Apple Maps’ job is to prod Google to keep improving the Google Maps iOS app which helps keep iPhone users happy. That may be its entry-level job, but I think in the long-run its real job is to be a well-functioning mobile mapping app that is also the premiere platform to showcase innovative location-based apps.

Apple doesn’t need to buy consumer recommendation services like Foursquare or Yelp – as one exec put it, “Apple would never buy Yelp because do you think they ever want to see a pissed off SMB with a one-star rating going postal at the Genius Bar?”

I don’t think they need to buy “closing the loop” services like OpenTable either. A big difference between Apple & Google, is that Apple doesn’t need/seem to want to make money off of their maps. They just need the maps to work well and to be integrated into any app that wants to work with them, like they currently do with Yelp. I wouldn’t be surprised if the launch of iOS 7 or the next iPhone includes an announcement that there are a lot more content data providers that will appear in Apple Maps.  The ideal Apple Maps app may be one that is aware of the apps you have installed on your device and shows those apps’ data on the maps when you make relevant queries, and puts their POIs (Points of Interest) in the right place.

So what does Apple Maps really need to do the job that it has been hired to do?

1. A Crowdsourcing Company:
Although Mike Dobson clearly thinks Waze was not worth $1B, Google’s MapMaker + Waze equals two great ways for people (and bots) to contribute to mapping data which can help with data cleanup and create new UGC mapping experiences. While Waze probably did not have a significant enough global footprint to make a huge difference, the combination of Apple’s reach plus Waze’s expertise might have been a game changer for the weak “Report a Problem” feature. That said, my guess is that Apple doesn’t need this kind of technology as much as they need people who understand the problem. So I am putting my money on a company like Primordial, makers of Ooze (a crowdsourcing platform for what looks like Black Ops). Would make for great headlines – “Apple Maps Ooze…”

ooze logo

2. A LiDAR Company
Apple needs it’s own version of StreetView. This seems a big scale effort that can’t be solved by any old start-up with a tricked out car (or maybe it can).  While I imagine they could pay some smart company a lot of $ to make this happen, I think they are going to want to own this data. So they probably need some kind of LiDAR company. I don’t know jack about LiDAR, but as with most things, here’s a good place to start.

LiDar Guys

3. More Smart People Who Understand This Stuff
The world of mapping aka “geospatial data” is bewilderingly complex. I have been operating around it for ten years now and I barely understand the issues. I think Deep Throat was right on the money with “a combination of data and tech/talent”. My bet is that it has been the lack of product and engineering people with a long history in this field that has been the biggest obstacle to getting Apple Maps off the ground.

Why Businesses Need To Pay Attention To Apple Maps

Earlier this week, I did a webinar with Mike Blumenthal, Phil Rozek, Myles Anderson and Linda Buquet on the State of Local Search where I presented my latest findings about Apple Maps. After the webinar, one of my favorite Twitter buds, a mean SEO himself, Dave Oremland, sent us the following email (edited), which I think does a great job of showing why Apple Maps is important to your business:

I thought Andrew’s presentation was interesting. Probably because I don’t know anything at all about maps.

So I looked harder at Andrews’s topic in that its one on which I’m ignorant.

I scanned one smb. It gets pretty good traffic. I probably used the wrong methodology first but I narrowed down to IOS6 browser types.

Frankly I should have looked at all Mac devices. In any case I found something over 22% total IOS6 traffic on the total.

At that total, just guessing 1/2 use a map application and 1/2 use search and about 1/3 use apple maps that comes up with about 3%-4% access to the site via apple search.

I don’t own any apple equipment. I borrow them for testing. I was in the DC barschool today and borrowed one from a student.

Does he use a maps app? yes. What does he use? He never uploaded anything. He uses what was installed.

(okay…so that is TOTALLY anecdotal)

Used the maps app to look up bartending schools.


First part of this is, as I know Mike knows, and you guys might also know: it gave me a response that was sooooooooooo….google maps circa 2006,7,8,9, maybe 2010 and even later.

It was full of errors and thoroughly deficient.

The results as Andrew described showed 3 smb’s on the map. You could click through to get info.

Of the 3, only one was a real smb. (snark snark, ours). Of the other 2 showing neither is a real place. At least a potential for 5 other pins could have shown each being a real place. But none of them were.

that is a both a huge advantage for us, a huge hole for competitors, and representative of the volume of holes in the current presentation for Apple Maps, which is why I equate it to G maps circa 2006- to maybe 2010 and even beyond.

It’s quite interesting.

I think the opportunity side is a function of the total usage of Apple equipment, and then the percentage of usage of Apple maps versus other maps apps.

to the extent that apple has significant penetration into the market….its damned important.

From the smb operator side, and in view of how, over time some of our smb’s have had incredible overwhelming visibility against competition …its pretty interesting.

Having an advantage like that is hugely profitable for the winners and horrendously costly to losers.

I’d advise smb’s to get into apple maps.

my $0.02 😀


Individual Practitioners Do Not Get Their Own Listing on Apple Maps

I got an interesting bit of info on how Apple treats individual practitioners in Apple Maps during the Must Have Local Search Tactics panel I participated in at SMX West this week.

Before I get to the practitioner stuff, here’s the presentation on my latest Apple Maps intel I gave.

And I highly recommend you check out the presentations from the other panelists: Greg Gifford’s awesome presentation on Google Places optimization – How To Kick Ass on Google+ Local When You’re All Out of Bubblegum, Phil Rozek’s on The ZigZag Approach to Requesting Reviews From Your Customers and Dana DiTomaso’s Stalking Finding Potential Customers in Your Area.

So during the Q&A we were discussing the fact that Matt McGee’s wife, Cari McGee, the best realtor in Kennewick tried to get listed on Apple Maps with no luck. Someone in the audience who would know – we need to maintain a cone of silence here as we are talking about Apple – claimed that Apple does not allow individual practitioners in a location that contains multiple practitioners (e.g. realtors, doctors offices, etc.) to have a their own listings on Apple Maps.

I have been trying to think of a solution to this issue, but have not come up with a good work-around as of yet.

Factual Appears To Be A Big Part of Apple Maps UK

Keep Calm You Bloody Wanker
image via

A few weeks ago, reader JR Watts emailed stating that it was bollocks of me to think TomTom is the major business data supplier for Apple Maps in the UK. He suggested I run a few tests:

Just go to the town of midhurst in apple maps and in tomtom places and you will see that the two data sets are completely different

Khans brasserie, is located in cowdray court on apple maps, but correctly located on north street in tomtom places

Apple maps still lists Shang hi chef (closed for 7 years) which tomtom does not

Chichester cathedral is on tomtom places but not apple maps

I checked these listings and it appeared that the Khans Brasserie address had been updated correctly in Apple Maps. My guess was that JR had done this and the update happened after he sent the email. But the Shang Hi Chef and Chicester Cathedral issues were accurate.

I went searching around for Shang Hi Chef in other databases. Since it was a closed business, it was less likely to show up in a lot of the usual suspects. After a bit of hunting, I found that Factual had the listing – it wasn’t in their visible online database, but when I inquired directly with Factual if they had a listing for Shang Hi Chef in Midhurst, they responded that it was an old listing of theirs that had already been purged.

I compared a number of other listings against Factual, TomTom and Apple Maps and found that in many cases the data were in both Factual and Apple Maps.

This is by no means a statistically significant study, but the results suggested to me that Factual is perhaps more important a player in Apple Maps UK than TomTom.

Apple Maps is using multiple data sources in many countries and it’s not yet clear, at least not yet clear to me, what criteria it uses to display which data when. And for any given business listing, Apple is likely scoring data from Yelp, database vendors like Factual, national data suppliers and user reports, creating an algorithmic mash-up that can often produce poor results. For example, perhaps Apple is pulling the Chichester Cathedral data from TomTom, but since the site does not show up in Yelp nor perhaps in Factual, this overrides the TomTom data, or some other source, and the listing gets expunged.

We have been working on pulling apart some of these listings to reverse engineer what’s going on, but at the moment it’s pretty messy. If anyone has any further thoughts, let me know.

And check out our regularly updated list of Apple Maps Business Listings Data Suppliers by Country.

Cheerio mate!

It’s Still A Google Maps World, but…

While this site is certainly bullish on Apple Maps, now that the Google Maps iOS app is out and has proven to be very popular, I often get asked whether Apple Maps is worth even bothering about.  The short answer is “Yes”.  The longer answer can be found here.

That said, there’s no denying that Google Maps still dominates the Web mapping world.  The above Google Trends graph illustrates that pretty nicely, showing the relative search demand for “apple maps” v. “google maps”.

Of course search queries does not necessarily translate to usage. If you have an iPhone and are searching Google for Apple Maps, well then I just don’t know what to say…

As you can see search activity for Apple Maps is growing in the US on the coasts:

But Google Maps is clearly dominant throughout the country:

And perhaps most telling is the #1 related query for Apple Maps is “google maps apple”:

But then again, a lot of the 50 million smartphone activations that happened over Christmas come with Apple Maps, so don’t count it out just yet.

Google Maps for iOS: Should Businesses Delete The Apple Maps App?

Google Maps App for iOSDelete Apple Maps App

With the launch last night of the Google Maps app for iOS, I am starting to get a bit of email asking if Apple Maps should now be less of a priority for businesses.  While I have no doubt that the Google Maps app will put an immediate dent in Apple Maps usage, and while I am certainly biased (see blog name), I am not so sure it would be prudent for businesses to forget about Apple Maps.  A few points:

  1. In its first month of release, there were already over 200 million devices with iOS, which includes Apple Maps.
  2. Christmas should be a blockbuster for iPhone 5s, 4s and iPads.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in January we were looking at well over 300 million devices with iOS.
  3. While iOS users are certainly app-happy, given everything we have seen over the years about inertia and people behaving like sheep, I wouldn’t be surprised if a significant number of iOS users continue to use Apple Maps, even with reports of people dying from using the app .
  4. At some point in the next few months, you can be sure that Apple will roll out some interesting updates to their Maps app which will spur people who ditched it to revisit the service.
  5. UPDATE: Dr. Drang brings up a great point on Apple gets thrown in the briar patch: “I suspect most iPhone users will continue to use the built-in Maps app because it’s already right there and it’s integrated with Siri, Contacts, etc.”

We are witnessing the early stages of an elaborate game of one-upmanship between Google and Apple in the local search space.  Google clearly is about 100 up at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that Apple can’t make a lot of advances over the next year.  While this is nothing but a great thing for consumers, this means that businesses should at a minimum make sure their presence on Apple Maps is what they want it to be.

Here’s a link to download the Google Maps App from the App Store.

Don’t Bring Apple Maps On Your Vacation…

And I’m not talking about your trip to Mildura, Australia.

Got an inquiry from a business in Tortola on the British Virgin Islands who wanted help in getting listed on Apple Maps.  So I did a search or two to see what was showing up and guess what…
Apple Maps British Virgin Islands

There are no business listings on Apple Maps for the British Virgin Islands.

As far as I can tell, Axciom is the only major provider to Apple Maps that has BVI info. If you are a BVI business you should probably make sure that your listing data is updated here.  It won’t get you on the maps anytime soon, but once Apple prioritizes BVI, it seems logical that they would pull from Acxiom.

This issue has inspired me to start keeping track of the Countries Where Apple Maps Is Closed for Business.  If you know of any others, please add in the comments.


Bing Business Prime Portal Place by Nokia?

Or something like that…

Greg Sterling has discovered some confusion as to how a business is supposed to add or manage a listing on Bing Maps/Bing Business Portal now that Bing is in bed with Nokia’s Here Maps – Nokia Prime Place service:

There’s no mention of the Bing Business Portal. Microsoft appears to be directing people to Nokia Prime Place to “add or change” business listings. Because the two entry points appear to be duplicative or redundant it made me think that Nokia Prime Place might be replacing the Bing Business Portal, into which Microsoft has invested a great deal of effort and presumably resources.

Reading between the tea leaves, so to speak, this may mean Microsoft is currently trying to decide or figure out what the relationship should be. Or perhaps it is sunsetting the Bing Business Portal. Alternatively, maybe the two local data entry points will coexist in some strange and awkward way going forward.

There’s never been a better time to be a mapping branding consultant…