Friday, August 27, 2004

Yahoo on Yahoo Local

Paul Levine, GM of Yahoo Local, talks about problems with coverage and data quality:
    Of course we've also gotten some constructive criticism too. Most of it's around holes in the data. Just like cell phone service...there can be dead zones. Comprehensiveness is one of the biggest challenges and we're focusing a lot of time and energy on it.

    Here's the thing about local content: some of the best stuff isn't on the Web, which makes the aggregation process pretty manual. Right now, we have more depth in some areas than others, largely because restaurants and hotels have taken to electronic publishing more quickly than, say, roofers and barbers.
The fact that improving quality on local search requires a "pretty manual" process is worrisome. Manual means slow and expensive. Automating data collection is hard because there's so many very small local businesses and advertisers, all changing rapidly. This is the primary reason I'm skeptical about local search.

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