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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Google Local Gets a Nip & Tuck

If you're like me, you've been an early adopter of local search, and can't wait for the offerings to further develop. If you've played with Google Earth, a different sort of animal, you get a strange feeling that you'd better not go to Manhattan if you don't want to be accosted by 4,000 Au Bon Pains per block.

So I'm always interested to see what the next geo-search-listing-ad experiment will look like.

Rumors have been circulating that Google Local is undergoing tests that will include company logo enhancements. But the speculation (on the Barnes & Noble logo locations on the maps) wasn't clear on the "how do they do that?" side of things.

Google's going public with the announcement tonight. In a briefing today I was told that the special "map placement, text listing, & image enhancement" features will be accessible through Google AdWords, and available to any advertiser. I haven't seen it in action yet.

It'll be interesting to see just how cluttered the maps get. :) Presumably, only relevant advertisers would show up with these listings.

My take - without having really seen it, mind you - is that taking the trouble to enhance your listing on a local search, complete with correct info and your logo, will signal to shoppers that you have a beating heart. Nothing smacks of stubbornness more than that local lighting store or bakery who refuses to be visible online, and is content to let the Au Bon Pain's of the world clutter the virtual landscape. Small is beautiful, but invisible isn't.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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