Yellow Maps

Yellow Maps

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The dynamics between Google and Yellow is certainly an interesting one to watch as their business models converge into one of healthy “coopertition”.

Check out this article from stuff from earlier this year: Yellow Pages, Google discuss joining forces

An alliance would mean internet users would be able to search for and see the location of 200,000 businesses listed in Yellow Pages by logging on to Google Maps.

Yellow would use Google to provide maps for its yellow.co.nz website, spelling an end to head-on competition between the old and new powerhouses in the business directories market.

Well last Friday the first phase of this was completed by Keith and the team at Marker Studio who have released a beta of the new Yellow Maps site.

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Alongside the beta launch I noticed the increased effort to direct people to the Internet Explorer 8 version powered by Yellow in the face of increased competition by MSN and Yahoo NZ to drive users to their IE8 custom versions.

It is great to see that the new Yellow Maps site is deployed on Windows Server 2008 using ASP.NET 3.5 and the URL Rewrite Module for IIS7 to drive positive SEO outcomes. Check out Keith's post on IIS7 Extensionless Urls and Kentico CMS 4.0.

I particularly like the clean url’s for directions e.g. http://maps.yellow.co.nz/map/auckland/#to=Kiosk+Rd|Kari+St

The timing of this is interesting to say the least as Google Local Lures Small Businesses With Their Own Web Dashboard

Google wants more small businesses to claim their listing profiles on Google Local (which is basically listings that pop up in Google Maps and local search results). To entice them, starting tomorrow it will give local businesses in the real world with physical addresses a free dashboard…

Combine this with Google's push to give New Zealand businesses $75 worth of Free AdWords and you have a strong focus by Google to engage the SME business market in New Zealand directly.

I think the opportunity for Yellow is to use the best of everything that is out there and add “greater” value than simply using a “white labelled” Google solution “out of the box”.

Last month I spent a few days with the Marker team in Wellington where they prototyped alternative views for Yellow Maps using Silverlight 3, localised Twitter and Virtual Earth in combination with Google geo-location services and StreetView.

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There is no “go live” for Silverlight 3 yet so what I’m going to do next is for “informational/ testing purposes only”. If you are a developer and happen to have either the  Silverlight 3 Beta - Windows Developer Runtime or the Silverlight 3 Beta - Mac Developer Runtime installed you can try a Silverlight 3 prototype of Yellow Maps online at http://a.bility.co.nz

This will be an interesting area to keep an eye on especially due to the recent acquisition of wises and finda by Yellow back in February that occurred not long after Trade Me chose to turn off their mapping site Smaps that was based on the ZoomIn engine.

I see that Lance Wiggs has blogged his own opinions of the NZ market for business listings online. IMO the comments below the article are more telling of the opportunities that are left to explore.