There are three major wars being waged on the web right now: search, social, and local. Each and every technology company seems to be pushing for ownership in their non-standard territories – with Google trying to enter social, Facebook trying to enter local, and so forth. Microsoft is no stranger to these attempts, either, and their newest local business utility comes with a free extra: the ability to offer deals on the desktop and mobile environment.
This new local business center, titled the “Bing Business Portal (Beta),” replaces the “Bing Local Listing Center,” encompassing most of the features of the BLLC. BLLC locations have also automatically been imported into the Bing Business Portal. So, what’s improved about Bing’s offering to local businesses? Key points include the ability to create enhanced listings and the ability to create deals without any charge.
The enhanced listings include a number of new details, such as additional keywords, links to your social profiles, a link to your core business website, your company logo, parking availability, accepted methods of payment, and other business-specific information (for example, a menu if you’re running a restaurant).
Meanwhile, the deal feature seems to be the core draw of Bing’s new offering. Unlike search competitors, such as Google, who charge a monthly or CPC rate for ads, or businesses like Groupon who split revenue with their advertisers, Microsoft is letting users create deals that are published and publicized for free. Once business owners create the special offer, it will appear in both the search results and the “deal” tab on Bing Mobile. Deal publicizing tools designed specifically for your company Facebook page are also made accessible through the BBP.
Local business owners looking to claim their listing, add features, and start displaying deals can do so by visiting the Bing Business Portal site.
[via the Bing Blog]