Location-based small business catalogs

2020. Yelp adds new features for reopening businesses

Over the past few months, Yelp has been taking steps to help businesses reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic — things like waived fees, virtual service listings and GoFundMe fundraisers. But without getting into the question of whether the United States is reopening at the right time in the right way, it’s clear that the reopening is happening, and businesses are going to need new tools to safely navigate the changing landscape. So Yelp is announcing two of those tools today. In addition, Yelp says it will use a combination of human moderation and machine learning to update these sections with information that businesses have posted elsewhere, like whether they offer curbside pickup or virtual services.

2020. Foursquare merges with Factual

Foursquare, the location platform, has announced its plan to merge with Factual. Foursquare is not the same company it was when it launched in 2009. The location-based social network, which let people check in to locations to share with their friends and earn badges, has evolved over time into an advertising and marketing platform focused on location as a differentiator. Factual, for its part, also launched in 2009 as a repository for open data, but over time it has become increasingly focused on using its location data to improve advertising. The company offered brands the ability to track the success of their marketing campaigns, measuring whether a campaign actually got people to visit stores physically — so you can see why it might be a good fit with Foursquare.

2019. Google ramped up competition with Facebook and LinkedIn with new tools for local businesses

Google is still competing with Facebook and LinkedIn with its Google My Business suite. It's update includes a handful of other tools for making those profiles more appealing. Businesses can now add a logo to their profile, upload photos that are then displayed in a new dynamic module on their profile (and soon with captions) and set a profile cover photo. Again, more features to rival Facebook Pages. Businesses can now also claim a short name and URL for their business so they can more easily direct people right to their profile page. In a few more months, customers will be able to search Google Maps by these short names, as well. Also new today are welcome offers. This allows a business to reward a new customer for following them by offering a discount or some kind of deal.

2016. Foursquare 10 puts search front and center

Foursquare unveiled the redesigned version 10 of its app. The new homepage offers a much faster search, with five chiclets that represent the six most popular searches: breakfast, lunch, dinner, nightlife, coffee/tea, and things to do. The company is also working to build on the trust it already has from users. Now, when a user posts a review on Foursquare, the app will show how many times that user has actually been to that location. That way, folks reading the reviews will be able to tell which ones come from ‘verified’ users and which aren’t. Foursquare is also working to better understand where you are, not only with the results it serves up, but right within the homepage. For example, users who just flew to London will be welcomed to foggy London town with a big banner. The app will also understand when it’s Ice Cream Day or Burger Day and offer a banner to click relevant places.

2016. Foursquare will allow businesses to know if their ads bring customers into actual store

Foursquare announced a new product that should help advertisers measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. With Attribution Powered by Foursquare, the company is making its data available to advertisers even if they don’t run campaigns in the Foursquare or Swarm apps. Naturally, that data is focused on location — that may be Foursquare’s big selling point compared to Facebook and Twitter, which have also been working to expand their ad capabilities beyond their own properties.

2016. Foursquare raised $45M to grow its business services

Foursquare has raised $45 million to develop its business and enterprise location services. Its media businesses Pinpoint — digital targeting with location info for businesses and ads — in 2015 has grown 170 percent over 2014 revenue. Combined, the enterprise side of Foursquare, which includes its Places API customers and its newer Place Insights business, has seen 160 percent growth.  Place Insights has grown out of Foursquare’s new location system — called Pilgrim — which is able to place users at locations with confidence even if they don’t check in. This allows Foursquare to provide serendipitous recommendations to users of its consumer apps, but it also provides a wealth of foot traffic information that can be offered to the enterprise. Place Insights allows enterprise customers to access aggregate anonymous trends — which can tell them where they should locate their next physical business, where to move inventory and invest in growth and more.

2015. Facebook now contains 40M active small business pages

Facebook has announced some new programs for small businesses, particularly ones that advertise. Facebook also reported that the number of active small business Pages keeps growing — it’s up to 40 million, compared to 30 million last June. And only 2 million of them are active advertisers. The fact that there are so many active businesses that don’t bother with ads seems particularly noteworthy given the declining reach of organic (non-ad) content from Facebook Pages. So Facebook is adding one-on-one chat support for advertisers. Before now, if you were a small business buying ads on Facebook and you needed help, you had to send an email and wait for a response. Czaja said many of those advertisers were asking for live support, so Facebook is giving it to them. It’s rolling out the program in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland in the next few months, with more countries to follow.

2014. Yelp allows not only choose the hotel, but to book it too

Review site Yelp integrated with travel booking site Hipmunk to allow users to book hotels through Yelp's website and mobile apps. It follows partnerships announced earlier this year, with companies including OpenTable and Delivery.com, which keep users on Yelp to make transactions. Users who search for supported hotels on Yelp will see "Book a room" button on the hotel page. They will be taken to a booking page if they decide to book. Adding booking makes Yelp more competitive with TripAdvisor, which allows booking through its website on Expedia, Booking.com and Hotels.com.

2014. Foursquare officially kills check-in

Foursquare, the company that pioneered the check-in 5 years ago, has removed this function from its core app. The newly revamped Foursquare is now a Yelp-like local discovery app, while check-ins have been relegated to another app - Swarm. Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley has explained the move by saying that most people only use Foursquare exclusively for checking in or exclusively for discovery; few do both. Shifting away from the check-in was a smart move, but acknowledges that the company is moving into a space that is already very crowded. There’s a lot of app companies today that understand there’s a good opportunity with local businesses and helping those businesses connect with their customers through mobile apps.

2014. Google created unified marketing dashboard for small business

Google has unveiled a new marketing service for small business - Google My Business. It's a combination of former Google Local, Google Maps for business and social network Google+. In short, it's now a single place where you need to register your small business, so that it appeared everywhere - in Google's search, on Google Maps and in Google+ network. If your company had accounts / pages in these services, they are now automatically transferred to Google My Business. Of course, managing information in one place - is better than in three places. Besides, Google also created mobile (Android) that allows edit company info, view reviews and respond to them. However, the main problem with this service is that the social network Google+ is still not very popular place among your customers.

2012. Google+ Local wants to help your local business to attract new customers

If you have a local business (shop, café, hotel, gym ...) and you still haven't registered it on Google - now is the best time to do it. Today, Google launching Google+ Local service, which can be really useful for local businesses. Google+ Local is not built from the scratch. It's a combination of Google Places (Google's old local catalog) and Zagat (the popular location-service acquired by Google last year). And, as clear from the title, it's working on top of the Google+ social network. All places (shops, cafes, hotels ...) from Google Places and Zagat were turned into Google+ pages, and now you can leave reviews on them and read reviews by your friends and other people. At the moment there are more than 80 million local pages, so you'll probably find a lot of places in your city. And the main advantage of Google+ Local - is its integration with the general Google search and Google Maps.