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I recently came upon a brilliant article, and it brought up some fears of how some business owners are leaving themselves ‘open’ for attacks to their online local listing data.
This great article initially caught my attention as it primarily discusses business listings data, which is admittedly a subset of all location information for business (i.e. location and contact information).
A few years back a concept was proposed as to whether there could be a Wikipedia of Yellow Pages and if it could be successful. Greg Sterling in 2006 said:
“…until recently Wikipedia seemed a long shot and almost preposterous notion itself. And if the directory follows in the footsteps of Wikipedia it will become a highly successful (and visible) way for local businesses to be found. It could also be radically disruptive if successful.”
Greg noted that one such concept, Yellowikis, failed, although Brownbook and Bizwiki have continued with similar ideas. To date these have not been successful in attracting consumer use, and properly structuring data in a way that other developers can use.
Now in 2010 the idea appears to be gaining ground. More key players are interested in this Wiki of places and organizations are already working on a solution!
But the question stands… With this concept of Wiki places information will have to be sort of a open source. So who will be in charge of centralizing this data?
Many people including myself, are in favor of data aggregation companies. I like the fact we work with many local search data aggregators because we can easily update our clients local listing data and with frequent submissions of this data to over 100 local search sites, I never have to worry about who may be out there updating my local listings with out my knowledge.