HubSpot Names Ultimate List of Online Local Business Directories
Eric Vreeland, an analyst at Bowery Capital, LA - NYC, recently penned (or, rather, typed) an article for Hubspot entitled The Ultimate List: 50 Online Local Business Directories. While the name of the article itself may be very easily lay bare the content of the piece, Vreeland’s work nonetheless highlights a vital part of the business and consumer landscape and how it has been shaped by its ongoing transformation into a digital medium. Very nearly gone are clunky, out-of-date phone books and the need for a flesh-and-blood operator when you dial “0” on your phone; they have been replaced by the ease and speed of the internet, easily accessible by any smartphone, tablet, or PC.
But the market of online directories itself is becoming a crowded space with all manner of contenders elbowing each other for breathing space, and in such a situation, it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff and discover who is the very best at helping the average Joe to find the people, goods and services they’re looking for as easily, effectively, and quickly as possible.
In an article that essentially distills the entire range of digital/online Business Directories – of which there are many – into a neat and tidy list of 50 top contenders, there will still be people who will find that many to choose quite daunting. Your average person doesn’t want to be presented with a multitude of choices and have to do the legwork to figure out what’s best for them; the average person wants to be told which one is the best and get on with their lives. So, let’s take a look at The Ultimate List: 50 Online Local Business Directories and figure out its illustrious Top Five, shall we?
In no particular order:
Google – This pretty much goes without saying. Google is the king; it’s the first place pretty much anyone looks when they’re looking for anything, be it reviews of the hip new restaurant that just opened up down the road, directions to the auto repair shop, hours of the shopping mall, anything. There’s a reason Google is so widely used- unlike most other local business directories, there’s an entire Google ecosystem that encompasses their famous web search as well as Google Maps, Google Plus, YouTube, and much more. However, it’s not perfect; many Google users – especially business owners – tend to complain about what they perceive as an unfair business review system, which seems geared towards allowing more negative feedback than positive. But in the end, if you want your business to succeed – or if you’re looking for a business for whatever needs you may have – Google is the place to be.
Facebook – The world’s most-used social networking site – even Google Plus can’t hope to compete, despite their best efforts in attempting to herd the masses into using it – is another place people tend to go to first when it comes to any kind of local business search. For all intents and purposes, if a business doesn’t have a Facebook page, they are at a huge disadvantage, as it is perceived by the public as a great way to interact with a business. Information on hours, specials, and reviews can all be accessed with ease and updates are as easy as typing them in and clicking the ‘post’ button. The only disadvantage is the fact that younger people are gradually using Facebook less as the older generations have discovered it – young Jimmy doesn’t want mom reading about the party he want to last night, after all – but, regardless, Facebook isn’t going the way of MySpace anytime soon, and remains a massively popular site to promote a business, or just about anything else.
YellowPagesGoesGreen.org – A major up an coming contender in the local business directory game, YellowPagesGoesGreen.org is a hybrid of national and local business and residential listings married with an environmentally conservative ‘green’ theme denoted by its all-digital approach; in addition to forsaking print listings in favor of an online-only approach, they also maintain a blog focusing on environmental issues and allow users looking to cease delivery of their print phone books from their local phone companies easy access to a national Opt-Out registry to keep those large, cumbersome, and wasteful books from landing on their doorsteps once and for all. Featuring millions of yellow and white page listings updated hourly, YellowPagesGoesGreen.org is a serious contender for local businesses and consumers alike.
TripAdvisor – With 65 million unique visitors each month, it’s hard to argue with the reason TripAdvisor is included in this Top Five. It’s become a massively trusted resource for just about anyone looking to book a trip, with reviews of just about any destination around the Earth – and locally as well – and the ability to compare prices and book flights and hotels at will. It also features a great deal of free user-generated content in the form of reviews and blogs, effective integration with a variety of major social media platforms, and is an effective channel for advertising, given its massive amount of monthly traffic. While most people associate TripAdvisor with the worldwide market, many overlook its vast potential for the local market as well and its value to homegrown businesses such as tourist attractions and hotel accommodations.
Angie's List – In a world where online reviews websites focusing on businesses are a dime a dozen, Angie’s List stands out through sheer reliability; whereas most only review sites can be accessed by anyone free to write just about anything they want about a business – no matter how honest/dishonest or whether they even really patronized it or not – Angie’s List is a subscription service filled with reviews actually written by its (as of 2015) 3.2 million paid members, so by default it’s the most trustworthy source of local business reviews out there today, and people are taking notice of this fact. In addition, they also feature an expansive local business directory, background checks of companies, and special promotions and discounts with various merchants.