Many small local businesses (SMB’s) advertise online – on Internet Yellow Pages sites (IYP’s), local search sites (e.g. CitySearch, Local.com, etc.) and online publications (daily newspapers, city guides, etc).

We’ve recently started analyzing the data we aggregate from several advertising channels and there is an abundance of interesting information out there.
With the tools we’re developing, we can produce detailed reports on advertising activities of SMB’s online. A good example of such a report would be a list of plumbers who advertise online in California.

At the request of several of our customers, we have begun to turn our attention to Internet Yellow Pages sites. In general, IYP’s offer businesses 2 types of listings: free listings that usually contain only the basics like name, address and phone number and paid listings with more details and better placement.

Here are a couple of examples of the initial data we can expect. We took a look at attorneys listed on IYP’s – the charts show the percentage of paid listings out of all listings (free + paid) in a number of categories.


This initial analysis of our sample data shows that the number of attorneys who purchase online advertising packages on IYP’s varies as we look at different types of legal practices. In LA, for instance, out of attorneys listed and categorized on IYPS’s, there is a higher percentage of advertisers among accident & personal injury attorneys than among criminal law attorneys.

In NYC, the highest percentage of attorneys listed on IYP’s who purchased advertising packages was among bankruptcy attorneys.

We can, as shown in the samples above, perform analyses on several local markets and provide nationwide analyses on various categories of small businesses.

We’re very excited about where these new analyses can take us and we’d love to hear what interests you. Contact us here to suggest analyses or order a custom analytics project.

 

The restaurant business is not an easy one and when you decide to open a restaurant you have to consider various factors such as location. A very basic decision you have to make is cuisine – what kind of food will your restaurant serve. See how the results of a short study conducted on the distribution of restaurants last week can help with this decision.

We used our rich nationwide dataset of food & dining businesses and looked at the distribution of 3 types of cuisine: sushi, Italian and Chinese, in 5 cities: Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The results are presented in the following charts: 

Sushi

 

The business opportunity here is obvious: less than 0.4% of Chicago restaurants offer Sushi, while in other cities, it’s 3 to 5 times more common.

Analysis of other types of cuisine yielded results that are less exceptional, but still interesting:
Italian restaurants are 116% more common in Boston than they are in LA.
Chinese restaurants are 114% more common in SF than they are in LA.

Italian

 Chinese

Interested in similar information on other local businesses or want to know more about the Food & Dining industry? Contact us here.

Any other kind of statistics or analysis you’d like to see on our blog? Drop us a comment.

Rich Data

 

Our previous post discussed a recent poll indicating most consumers research a restaurant online prior to visiting it. Looking at the various restaurant details available online, we chose to examine and present the online coverage of 3 very different attributes: user reviews, parking and wine details. Our assumptions are that most users are interested in peer reviews, many are also interested in parking information and only a small percentage of users are interested in wine details.

Imagine our surprise to find that user reviews are available for only 16% of LA’s food & dining businesses.

Previous statistics suggest the Boston food and dining industry has wide online presence. This is also reflected here, where we see that the highest percentage of user reviews available for restaurants – 36% – is again in Boston.

As for parking information, various websites indicate whether street, valet or lot parking is available for a restaurant. This information is least available for the NYC area – parking information is provided for only 9% of restaurants.
However, restaurant wine details availability online is the highest for NYC restaurants – users can see wine lists and prices for 19% of restaurants in New York.

Palore extracted these statistics while gathering business data from 20 leading local and nationwide search sites, covering over 100,000 restaurants in major US cities. Custom content projects on any vertical are available – contact us here for more information.

While collecting information on businesses in the food & dining vertical we’ve come across many interesting details about restaurants; one of these details is a restaurant’s website.

Many restaurants use websites to interact with their customers. In fact, a recent online poll by AIS Media shows that “89% of consumers have researched a restaurant online prior to visiting a restaurant, and 57% of customers said that they check out the restaurant’s website.”

It was therefore interesting to find that percentages of restaurants operating a website vary from one city to another, and that the city with the largest percentage of restaurants with websites is Boston.

 The following chart shows our statistics:

 Percentage of restaurants operating a website - updated

With 33% of restaurants operating a website in Boston and 21% in LA & NYC, a Boston restaurant is 57% more likely to operate a website

We haven’t had the chance to go into what each restaurant offers on its site. However, a quick examination of other attributes such as online menu shows that Boston restaurants lead the chart with more online presence. Be sure to check out our coming posts to get the figures for more comparisons.

As always – if you think of other criteria or data comparisons you’d find interesting, please share your thoughts with us.

To order rich local business content in any vertical, contact Palore‘s sales team.

Many local search sites boast wide and deep data in their business listings. We decided to take a closer look by analyzing the Food & Dining category in New York City on 20 leading local sites.

We focused on two parameters:

1. The number of listings (e.g. restaurants, coffee shops, bars etc.) available in each site.

2. The total number of business details available for the above listings. These include attributes such as description, cuisine, video, reviews, opening hours and wine details. We excluded the names, phone numbers and addresses from the count, and when encountering more than one review per business we counted it as just one attribute.

We found great variance between the sites both in the number of listings that they have and in the richness of the data available per listing. For example, New York Magazine has a relatively low number of restaurants but the highest number of rich details per restaurant (8). In the overall analysis, CitySearch comes out as the local site with the most comprehensive data.

NYC Restaurants Rich Data Comparison

The above data is based in part on Palore’s data extraction system which collects, normalizes and merges local business data from millions of Web pages.

Please share your thoughts and let us know what other data comparisons you think would be interesting – in other verticals (e.g. auto dealerships or realtors), on a geographic basis (e.g. data analysis per city overlaid on a US map) or in any other format.

To acquire rich local business data in any vertical, please contact Palore’s sales team.

Palore Trends Coming Up

April 21, 2008

In the last few months we kept busy acquiring content from hundreds of sources. We crawled, aggregated, normalized, cleaned and… sold our data feeds in various verticals. Nothing out of the ordinary here. But then something interesting happened. While we typically sell our aggregated content feed as a single dataset without breaking it up into its separate sources (our clients like getting a single, unified and normalized feed), about a month ago we were asked to leave the content in its raw format. We shrugged our shoulders and did what the client asked for.

The following week we got an excited call from the customer who said “Guys, did you know that Site X has double the listings of Site Y in the East Coast but very poor data in Southern California?” Our initial response was “Yes, but who cares?” Well, apparently a lot of people do. That got us thinking about sharing this data with the world. Here’s the gist of it:

Palore crawls data from hundreds of local sites and that gives us a good outlook of what content is out there. Just like Comscore or Compete have comparative data about unique users per site, we have comparative data about the depth and width of each site’s content. We also have a good view of the aggregated data that’s out there in ALL of the local sites. For example, we can tell how many auto dealerships are listed on the top 10 auto sites in each state, or which local site has the most information about Sushi restaurants.

In the coming weeks we will share this information. If you’re interested in any specific type of comparative information, let us know!

I recently had a call with a client who asked for a rich content feed covering several top US cities. The feed was in the food & dining space and included cuisine, parking, payment methods, description, reviews, ambiance, menus, health details and a bunch of other business attributes.

During our “sales pitch” Malcolm (our VP of Business Development) and I explained how easy it would be for us to collect, clean up and send the data with quarterly updates. Later that day I had a chat with Nave, our VP of R&D, and we discussed the process involved in getting that data. I won’t bore you with all the details but it was amazing to see how complex it really is.

For example, it turns out that some of the top US websites use different encoding methods – one decided to use English, Swedish and Greek encodings all in the same site. Then there’s the issue of dealing with different formats such as Ajax, cookies and other weird navigation methods. Cleaning up the content into a normalized format from rogue characters and images is a whole new challenge and even when it’s all good and ready, how do you reconcile discrepancies (e.g. one source claimed that a restaurant was European while another insisted that it’s French…)?

After about 30 minutes of going over daunting buzzwords and technical challenges ranging from finding high quality sources to keeping the data fresh, I recalled our insistence that getting the data is “quite easy for us”. It makes one think of Adam Smith’s concept of Division of Labour and thank God that the sales guy doesn’t have to develop the product and that the R&D guy doesn’t have to sell it. 🙂

Headed to the Bay Area

November 8, 2007

I’m heading off to the Bay Area in a few days.  

I’ll be attending the 2007 GeoDomain Expo on November 16-17 in San Francisco, and The Kelsey Group’s ILM:07 Conference on November 28-30 in Los Angeles.  I’ll be spending around three weeks in the area meeting with partners, friends, investors.  

If you want to meet, shoot me an email at hanan [a t] palore.com

We’ve been having many talks with sites that are interested in integrating Palore’s rich local content. As some of you know, we’ve started providing local search sites and IYP sites with feeds of our content that enrich their sites.  

We’re currently working with two types of sites: Local sites that have a variety of information on businesses in specific locations (e.g. Los Angeles, Boston, etc.), and vertical sites that have in depth information on a specific attribute or characteristic of businesses on establishments nationwide (e.g. vegetarian, wi-fi information, etc.). It’s interesting to see how vertical sites (such as menu sites) want reviews and descriptions (basic info on various locations), and local sites (such as city guides) want menus, wi-fi information and wine details to enrich their content.  

Well, you know that there’s an abundance of information out there and it’s a good feeling to know that we can save our partners scraping efforts and multiple business development deals (See Fred Wilson‘s Business Development 2.0 post).

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