Posts filed under ilaaka

Community driven local search marching ahead.

Written by: Vivek Garg

On Mar 11th, 2007

After we did our last post on local search, comments & discussion indicate that people are not convinced, if community driven local search adds any value against the algorithmic ones. Here are some data points that I found very interesting.

 hitwise USA local traffic

LeeAnn Prescott says “Based on traffic to Local.com, Yahoo! Local and Live Local Search, it does not appear that interest in local search is increasing, but the substantial growth in Yelp’s traffic indicates that the social networking/local search combo is an effective means of engaging users around local content.”

This is very interesting but I am not sure if we can directly apply this to the Indian market. Nevertheless, I am expecting our local sites to follow suit. This actually prompted me to do a traffic analysis for Indian local search/social networking sites. Here is what Alexa shows:

indian local site traffic

Alexa traffic patterns might not be very accurate as it is based on their toolbar and I am not sure of the toolbar’s reach in India. But we can use this graph to compare traffic between these companies. MapMyIndia is leading here because there is lot of curiosity around maps. People spend lot of time trying to relate maps with their local knowledge of the city. And this shows why maps are important to create a complete local offering. If you take mapping out, Burrp and ilaaka are neck to neck. tolmolbol has little traffic because they are new. Most interesting is Onyomo that is been there for sometime but not getting much traffic. Anyone knows why?

Please leave your comments/thoughts on what you think of these charts.

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Will you bet on Local Search ?

Written by: Vivek Garg

On Feb 26th, 2007

Local search has been a very interesting challenge and alot of old and new companies are taking a stab. Lets look at this entire continuum and where each player sits. Radical idea is to find information that is geo tagged. This information can be as granular as lat-long or as coarse as a city name. So when you setup a shop to solve local search, first question is how do you collect & tag this information? How do you present this informaton so that it creates the most wholesome experience? How do you make money from this high investment business?

You can start with smart-crawling the web. I call it smart crawling because you dont crawl everything like a general purpose search engine. You need to identify and extract local information given a webpage. Dedupe listings that occurs on multiple pages. Lets says you write a kickass neural network that labels & classify this information. How does it know which one is real address? How do you verify the information you have is correct? You start thinking about this and realize that there are directory listing services that is accumulating such information forever. So you get feeds from yellow pages. There is a problem of matching different feed formats along with crawled information. This is where most of the current search engines are today. Google/Yahoo/Live/Guruji can do “crawl + feeds” using existing infrastructure.

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