Goodzer has been making it easy for consumers to find products in local stores since launching in 2011. Soon the company will be doing the same with services.
Last month Goodzer announced that it is adding “enhanced local services content” to its database of more than 2.5 billion products. The addition expands the company’s number of locations from 500,000 to 2.5 million. As with the product data, the new local services data is available via API to publishers and app developers.
“About a year ago we made an assessment and saw we could get [service] data using the same technology, and felt the market needed to have that data,” said Goodzer CEO Mike Wilson, adding that publisher demand was higher for enhanced data about local services as opposed to local products.
“Local search has focused on services traditionally. The Yellow Pages companies started this trend, and perpetuated it, because those are the types of customers who’ve paid historically, so it’s natural for publishers to want to show enhanced content for their existing types of customers,” explained Wilson, formerly of Yellowbook.com. “I think local product data like ours will start coming on strong now. Publishers [have] said, ‘Hey, this product data is great — do you also have enhanced local service data? If so, I’ll take both.’”
In terms of how Goodzer gathers its data, it’s all automated and not much has changed — with a few caveats.
For products, Goodzer receives retail partner data feeds and uses artificial intelligence to crawl national retailer and local stores’ websites to aggregate product data. Local merchants can add their details individually as well. “Title, description, price, image and two other pieces of information are all pretty standard, almost regardless of the website you go to,” Wilson said. “That’s not the case on the services side. In some cases you’ll get only titles. In others, title and description. Sometimes title, description and price. And almost never do you have an image about that service because it’s not a physical good. Different data structures are involved.”
Some of those structures include tiered levels of information — the ‘enhanced’ content — depending on the type of service. For a day spa, for example, ‘spa’ is the generic top tier level, followed by ‘massage,’ then types of massage, (e.g., Swedish, Shiatsu, Thai, Reiki), along with descriptions for each, and possibly price. For an auto repair shop, it would include service particulars, like whether it handled German timing belt replacements.
Goodzer noted in a press release that it will use this additional data to create “innovative, simple, high-conversion and time-saving mobile presence and performance solutions for both large and small merchants.”
This translates to new revenue models, including pay-per-call solutions — since calls are the No. 1 type of lead that SMBs want.
Traditionally, the company earned money on licensing its data. It then began to develop an automated ad platform, initially around that product information. As it aggregated local services data earlier this year, Goodzer started to migrate that data to the product ad platform, Wilson noted in an email.
“We make money by driving leads (calls) to local merchants and national chains via their local ad provider/publisher by leveraging the deep, enhanced product and services data we’ve amassed for each of them and automating the distribution of that content into publisher and advertising platforms — with an emphasis on mobile distribution and mobile search,” Wilson said, adding that Goodzer charges only for the conversion event.
“The revenue model for products is changing to mirror services: Where services are based on calls, products are based on in-store visits,” he added.
Additional details about the new platform won’t be announced until late September, Wilson noted, adding that four publishing partners have already signed on and are currently beta testing the new solutions.
Wilson sees Goodzer’s expansion as a growing trend in the marketplace. “Yellow Pages are dying and clicks are dead, so SEM firms will need to change their model [from] clicks plus percentage mark-up to charging for calls and walk-ins,” he said. “In-store visits and transactions are coming to local advertising soon and big — specifically for retail. This will enable retail to become a force in local search and local advertising in a way that it hasn’t been before.”