Localeze, the business listings identity management provider for local search, have a lot in the pipeline for the near and longer-term future. We spoke to them in a resolutely future-oriented conversation and this is what you can expect. Read on.
Localeze, which manages local listings for search engines, is set to announce another social partnership in the near future, Dave Dague, vice president of marketing told us in a interview. "Another" social integration refers to its Twitter Places deal in mid-June, involving also Foursquare, Gowalla and TomTom. Dague would not reveal the identity of Localeze's future partner but said the deal "involves social location-based services (LBS)." The most recent and noteworthy social-LBS deal seen recently was Foursquare's agreement with the Independent Film Channel and the Huffington Post to provide geo-localized info with check ins. Let's see where Localeze takes us, whether the upcoming ties are with foursquare or Facebook or... Well, let's see.
He sees the future of LBS as a strong one, especially with Localeze, as "more and more businesses are registering to claim their entry," feeding the database and giving updates themselves, he said. This is why the company launched its Business Registration Manager in May to boost customer confidence by checking validity and accuracy of entries.
Speaking about international growth, Dague said that while Localeze exclusively covers the U.S. market at the moment, it is already starting operating in Canada and expects the full launch there "late this year or early next year," acknowledging that the holiday period would be a good release target.
After Canada, where many U.S. businesses have operations, "Western Europe is the next obvious market" as the postal delivery service is very well defined there. Localeze's anchor base being the name, address and telephone information, it does make sense. "Enhanced" data such as operating hours, website, etc. then come on top of the basic listing. The name, address and telephone number have to "fit to a geo code" he said, while noting that Localeze will "figure out" how to go through the process more quickly once Canada will be fully launched.
Asked about other regions, Dague said the company is "absolutely looking into Asia Pacific." The reason why it is a challenge is mostly the "hypergrowth" in the region. Meaning, the urban landscape is still in the process of being built and changes quickly. Too quickly to have geo targeted infrastructures for the moment as it is still "hard to find in available information." "We may just go the route in next couple of years," he added, however.
Whoever will be the upcoming social-LBS deal partner(s), they might well hold the key to Localeze's future outside the U.S.
The Business Model
Localeze has over 14 million local business listings in the U.S., mostly directly "crowdsourced" from the businesses themselves at present. It updates its basic data every week and sends the full file to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing who will then power its content. It charges the engines a license fee for the 13.9 million entries that are curated by its own services and provides the over 600 000 other entries free of charge. The latter ones are curated directly by businesses who are paying for their registration on the database.
Dague therefore expects little impact from the Bing-Yahoo integration, if not an "easier" process. The question was: if they used to sell it to both platforms who will now merge into a single Search Alliance, how will it impact Localeze? I guess we'll have to wait to get that info.
Localeze will be at SES San Francisco, August 16th to 20th, we'll make sure to catch up with them there.
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