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We recently conducted a citation audit which included 3 citations from Express Update. We then went back to phone verify these listings and noticed that the names had changed from "Dr. Janis Field DDS" to "Field Ortho" (names changed).

I was curious to find out where they were getting data from. The lady on the phone told me that they confirmed the name "Field Ortho" by referencing Yellowpages. She than told me they search the internet to get correct data and then share it back. Please tell me I'm not the only one that finds this backwards.
 

mda1125

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It's even worse when YP.com has duplicates for your paying client and doesn't respond to seemingly duplicate requests.

Not only do I find that backwards but I find the practices of these bigger data companies to be despicable. Holding your local biz info hostage without jumping thru hoops or listening to somebody give you a $700 sales pitch.

It's a joke really. I wish Google/Bing/etc would just look at the website for the listing and ignore everything else.

It's like if I had a webpage and said my name was Marc but other authority sites said "No, your name is Marko".. now I have to go and tell them how to spell my name? On top of that, they may not change it without me paying?

Back to your question.. I find it backwards.
 

Ashwin

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It is possible that these companies have crawlers that pick up business data as well as manual "data gatherers" who might be involved in picking up some of this data.

Remember, it is in their best interest to have duplicate listings of your business on their system since this forces you to pay money to update this data via the aggregator.
 

mda1125

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I don't use any services. I track down citations and fix them manually. It takes much longer but.. my clients own the logins and it's a one time deal.

Takes much longer for sure. Tedious no doubt. But in the long run, it's cheaper and if we part ways, I don't have to hold them hostage when I discontinue payment for some citation service.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for sharing that and starting this discussion Justin.

I find the way data providers and aggregators work so puzzling, yet interesting.

AND frustrating. If I still had my own clients, I probably would not have any hair left! :eek:
 
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What we have come to understand is that sites like Express Update, Localeze and Acxiom are supposed spread data to sites like Yellowpages, not the other way around. I don't have a lot of faith in Express Update's data, especially if they are doing a sloppy job of it. They are constantly changing NAP on citations. We did an Audit about a year ago on one client. We never started cleanup . During that time, Express Update changed data 2-3 times. Sloppy.

So, Now I'm starting to think. If other Local Data Aggregators are pulling data from lower tiered citation sources, then couldn't you just build citations from the bottom up? At some point the big boys will pick it up.

A little tip for Express Update: Ask the rep on the phone where and how they verified the listings. Even if you claim all your listings and haven't cleaned up other sources, Express will eventually pull incorrect NAP.
 

Myles Bergh

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Like Google, these data sources collect information from a variety of places to compile their database. It works very similar to the way David Mihm describes in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GvSDbCWkZc

My guess is that when the rep mentions Yellowpages, they were referencing Print YP as opposed to the online yp.com site. Offline is a component of location data quality that many consultants forget about. Yet, these data aggregators get information from printed directories and business office records. Check the printed book to see if there is a listing for your client that does not match. Many also do a simple phone verification. In your example, they may have called the main business and asked if they are Field Ortho. Technically, that may be correct even though it is not what you want. If the person answering the phone says yes and confirms address and phone info it can create an incorrect or duplicate listing. If you check the listing in Express Update, you will see a message similar to this...

4 months ago, we spoke to someone on the phone to verify information about this business.

We work with Regional and National multi-location businesses and this is continually a challenge. For this reason, we audit the aggregator data regularly to make sure they have correct data and we are not just adding more listings to their database. One thing to note is that, depending on the aggregator, it can be challenging to remove duplicates. Clear duplicate listings i.e. name variation with same address/phone are generally easy to remove. We have had issues with other situations, say a branch office who's information is technically accurate, but they don't deal with the public. It is not wrong, we are not replacing it with a different listing, we just want it removed. Aggregators hesitate to delete these types of listings. My guess is that it's because they want as many listings as possible in their database (even though in this example the listing doesn't help the company, the site that receives the listing or the consumer).
 
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Thanks for stepping in Myles. When talking with the rep she told me they check web sources as well as printed and showed me the YP listing they checked to Verify. Nice suggestion on checking the print version. I will start looking at that.

..they were referencing Print YP as opposed to the online yp.com site.

In this case they said the practice answered the phone as Field Ortho, which is not even close. I have noticed this on several occasions. They say they verify by calling, but they verify a completely wrong name. I would suspect employees of that company push things through quickly

Many also do a simple phone verification. In your example, they may have called the main business and asked if they are Field Ortho. Technically, that may be correct even though it is not what you want. If the person answering the phone says yes and confirms address and phone info it can create an incorrect or duplicate listing. If you check the listing in Express Update, you will see a message similar to this...

We have started doing this as well and its interesting to see what pulls up from time to time.

we audit the aggregator data regularly to make sure they have correct data and we are not just adding more listings to their database.
 

Myles Bergh

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Thanks for stepping in Myles. When talking with the rep she told me they check web sources as well as printed and showed me the YP listing they checked to Verify. Nice suggestion on checking the print version. I will start looking at that.

Interesting that they would use a site that they supply information to as a source for their listings. Wouldn't that create a circular reference?
 
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Exactly. That is what concerned me about that conversation. For this particular client we had worked on citations. Only a few still showed "Field Ortho" and one of them was YP.com. The other two are indeed and Whitepages.
 

Scott Barnett

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It is amazingly circular - we've been researching citation sites and writing up our findings (Citation) - our results and feedback on Acxiom should be posted this weekend.

If any of you would like to contribute to this theme on our blog, we'd love to add your experiences and suggestions. This citation market is quickly becoming more of a black market for many of the directories and there's nothing good about it. Sadly, nobody is authoritative right now, which leads to this wild west crapshoot.

One other theme I've noticed consistently - it really depends greatly on the person you get on the other end of the phone. I have learned that if I feel like I'm going in circles with a rep, simply thank them, hang up, and call in again. We've gotten the most effective results when we talk with somebody who knows what they are doing.
 
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Thanks For Sharing Scott. I would be interested in helping out. Will take a look at what you have going on.
 
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