Ahmed Farooq has a great rant on his blog, tech soapbox, about paid reviews and how useless and ineffective they’ve become. But the thing that grabbed my attention was buried in the middle — Ahmed provides some outstanding insight to the difficulty of understanding and utilizing local data.
(The following is in reference to their product iBegin Source)
“I’ll admit people have a hard time understanding the significance – local data is expensive, and that is why we keep seeing the same re-hashed sites. Plus – local data is inaccurate. Horribly so.”
Bottom line is, guys like Ahmed have been working on the data trying to figure out a way to make it relevant. To make it contextual. To make it usable. While other sites (like us here at eNeighbors) are trying to gather the users in one place. A place where local data is again — relevant.
So how do we bring this local data together and give it to the users?
Once again, I think the reason this is so hard is because when you go to Google, Yahoo or MSN, you start at the top. Then you work your way down to the city level. Then if your lucky, you can get to your community level (this is where Ahmed’s comment about the horrible inaccuracies kicks in).
It just makes sense to approach the users from the bottom up. I understand the cost issues associated with keeping a presence in every community in the country — it can’t be done. That’s why you let the residents do it.
But the problem is, they have to care enough to do their share of the work. Why should they care? No one has made it apparent as to how they will benefit. It’s not clear how their input will make their lives better. We need a way for residents to engage in conversation with other residents and in turn provide that missing link of local information that they seek, but don’t fully understand.
Ta da! It’s here. eNeighbors provides this exact sort of communciation platform, and in turn also allows the hyper-local presence that is a perfect match for local data on small businesses at the community level.