Friday, January 28, 2005

InfoCommerce: Say Cheese: Databases Go Hollywood

The InfoCommerce Report is an insightful look at local marketing issues. Here's a blog posting about Amazon's new IYP

So what does Amazon hope to accomplish with the A9 Yellow Pages? Stay tuned to the Yellow Pages Commando.

InfoCommerce: Say Cheese: Databases Go Hollywood: "Say Cheese: Databases Go Hollywood

Publishers, hold onto your hats and grab your digital cameras: it's looking like the next big battleground in the directory world is going to be visual.

All of a sudden, photos of businesses and buildings are red hot and getting lots of attention. Several months ago, infoUSA announced it had dusted off its mothballed project to photograph every business in America, and would be adding photos to several of its products, including its beefed-up business credit reports. CoStar, producer of a national commercial real estate databases, has a fleet of trucks running around the country snapping shots of every office building. Now,'s new search engine, A9, is generating big buzz with a yellow pages directory with photos of businesses. And, rising above them all is GlobeXplorer (a 2004 InfoCommerce Model of Excellence), which offers aerial photos of America and which are being integrated into several business database products.

Why pictures? Let's face it: directory and databases are very useful, but very useful is not always the same as very interesting. Adding photos makes a database more interesting. In some applications, a picture may well be worth a thousand words. In fields such as real estate, it's hard to conceive of a product without photos. Even in a credit report product, a photo of the business might provide valuable added insight.

But do photos add much to a yellow pages product? I took a quick spin through the A9 yellow pages to try to answer that question. When you do hit a photo of a business (and A9 only has coverage in selected areas right now), it's impressive. A9 offers you a series of snapshots around the business, so you can get a view of the whole street. In a great case of unintended product placement, more than a few of these photos seemed to be of UPS trucks parked at the curb and obscuring the storefront, but overall th"


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