Local Search

Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security Challenge

clip image001 0027 Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security ChallengeLocal business listings began with a basic business directory more than a decade ago. Chances are, your business has a local listing wherever you have a physical address location. Check it out — go to Google, type in your company name. You’ll probably see a map locating your business and an address. Of course all you may find other information too.   Local business listings are treated passively by many businesses.  But that could be a mistake. You’ve probably read that prospects have something specific in mind when they are shopping. So try this test. Go back to Google, type in the name of a product or service your business provides plus your hometown. Did your business show up? If it did: congratulations. If it did not: you’re missing a major marketing opportunity.

Times have changed.

From a marketing standpoint, the use of local business listings has exploded with the increase of social media and mobile devices. Consumers not only use these interactive yellow pages to locate a business, product or service in their area; they are also posting reviews of those products and services.  Today, there are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories.  They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and that age-old business directory.

You can no longer be passive.

To make your interactive yellow pages listing a stronger marketing tool, you must first “claim” the listing with all the search engines, social communities, websites and organizations that lead people to it. Once you prove the listing is really yours you can update it with your business marketing material and instill social media monitoring. Businesses are realizing the importance of this claiming process.  Once you have claimed your local listing you can update information with text, keywords, business descriptions, products, services, photos, videos, coupons, and more.  Some websites, such as Google, allow you to use all these options while others charge a fee for enhanced listings making this information present for local consumers through web or mobile searches.

So what’s the “security challenge”?

The claiming process is crucial to security because if the wrong person gets access to your business local listing they can direct customers to a different location by phone or website address.  Additional damage can include incorrect information on photos, videos, coupons, and more.  Because consumers are using local business listings to locate a business, product or service in their immediate area, the security around local business listings must have a high priority for any local listing website.

Remember phishing?

Phishing was described in 1987 before the Internet was a commercial boom.  The first recorded use of phishing was in1996.  The question is whether the business industry is going to wait for something similar to occur using Local Business Listings. The security holes are quite evident with Local Business Listings and I don’t think it takes a genius see what could happen if businesses do not “claim” their listings – the first step in closing those “holes.”

When hackers capture a Local Listing it’s called “high-jacking.”

It is absolutely important that businesses not passively wait for local listing websites to put the appropriate security in place before you claim your listing. Installing security starts with the obvious claiming process, but many sites allow data to be inserted from other databases on the Internet and I am not sure there’s good security around this later process.  If someone wanted to hijack a local business listing, they could easily insert the wrong information through a low level business directory that sells its data upstream or inserts its data directly into a higher level local listing website.

While the top search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo have “some” front-end security; their API’s (Application Programming Interface) makes them vulnerable through the back door.  Data is provided to their local listings from 3rd party sources including “get listed” services.  Additionally, if someone cannot claim a listing easily, the process within these local listing websites allows for additional listings with the same address to be submitted by anyone.

 Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security Challenge
Melih (“may-lee”) Oztalay is a veteran of the Internet with over 20 years experience and expertise. He is the CEO of SmartFinds Internet Marketing located in Birmingham, Michigan, providing Internet marketing solutions and services to businesses. The agency’s recent focus on Geographic Marketing solutions for multi-location business to reach local consumers through web and mobile searches. Some of SmartFinds' clients include ComForcare Home Care, Proforma, Ziebart Inernational, Kaydon, Soave Enterprises, Delphi, Guardian Industries, McCann Erickson, Wendy's and more.
 Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security Challenge

Comments are closed.

9 thoughts on “Local Business Listing: A Marketing Opportunity and a Security Challenge

  1. I've seen this happen between two funeral homes. One funeral home claimed the others listing. What happened next; well, all I know is that the funeral home was in touch with their attorney. Not a pretty sight to witness.

    1. I think the idea here is to raise the awareness of security issues “without” going to into much substance and giving criminals any more help then their little creative minds already are capable of. Discussing security challenges for any industry has a fine line between raising awareness and not.

      Overall the article's message is to engage in securing your geo-listing sooner rather than later. The disconnect of geo-listings by business owners compared to the consumer marketing is amazing. Consumers are very engaged and business owners are quite distant to all of this. Hopefully more will learn about geo-marketing and not only take into account the marketing benefits, but also the security issues.

  2. Wow. Honestly I never thought about businesses redirecting phone numbers, etc. If you think about it, that would be really easy to do, even with the “verification” Google requires for placement in Google places.

    Ignorance in Internet can be the death of a small business, oy.

    On the other hand, Google Places is pretty sweet. My Tucson business snagged the “virtual” #2 spot due to Google Places since it shows up on top…

  3. I think the idea here is to raise the awareness of security issues “without” going to into much substance and giving criminals any more help then their little creative minds already are capable of. Discussing security challenges for any industry has a fine line between raising awareness and not.

    Overall the article's message is to engage in securing your geo-listing sooner rather than later. The disconnect of geo-listings by business owners compared to the consumer marketing is amazing. Consumers are very engaged and business owners are quite distant to all of this. Hopefully more will learn about geo-marketing and not only take into account the marketing benefits, but also the security issues.

  4. Go4loans is Australia’s leading home financial services provider which provides a wide range of personal loans, home loans, insurance, mortgage broker services, car loans and refinancing facility. Here user can get free quotes and appointment with experienced mortgage brokers.