Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First page of Google results for "Praha, Česká Republika"!

Despite extensive inbound links to the Nelso English-language site for Prague, it's still much easier to rank for terms in Czech. Recently I noticed that someone came to the Czech-language site after searching for the term "Praha, Česká Republika". I must admit I'm surprised to rank for such a generic search term, but Nelso is a site about Prague, so it's not completely implausible.

The Google search can be found here.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Nelso adds support for microformats

The recent release of Yahoo's SearchMonkey has prompted us to add support for microformats to the Nelso sites (e.g. hCard). Once Yahoo crawls our pages, we'll use this data to enhance the search results returned by Yahoo for local search in Europe.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yahoo! Internet Location Platform

Yahoo has launched a developer preview of its Internet Location Platform, which looks to be a sort of geocoding service on steroids.

I'll let Yahoo describe it:
Our purpose in creating the Internet Location Platform is to provide the Yahoo! Geographic Developer Community with the vocabulary and grammar to describe the world's geography in an unequivocal, permanent, and language-neutral manner.

This looks very interesting. Currently, it is possible to use the geocoding service of Google Maps, or a site such as (we use both for Nelso). However, the new Yahoo service is much more sophisticated and might be easier to use.

I'm going to play around with it a bit and post more on it later.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Multiple languages in business listings

Came across an interesting thread in the Google Maps Help Group, specifically about creating business listings for Google Maps in multiple languages. The original poster asked about having a website in multiple languages, and whether they should create multiple business listings targeting different languages. The response from Google was as follows:
We don't have any way to handle multi-language listings at this point in time, and we strongly encourage businesses to only create one listing per physical address. However, it's a great suggestion to support these types of business listings - maybe we'll be able to support this in the future.

There are two issues here:
  1. Does the site allow the business listing itself (e.g. address and contact info, etc.) in multiple languages?
  2. Does a local search site allow the listing of multiple web sites, in different languages?

At Nelso, we've got (1) covered. Simply by adding a listing in his or her native language, a business owner automatically gets listings and business details in all the languages that Nelso supports (and a lot of links - every language on Nelso has its own domain, so adding an URL to a business listing results in links from seven Nelso sites). This by itself is very useful for a business owner, especially restaurants and bars that want to reach tourists.

As for (2): this is an interesting idea (allowing businesses to link directly to the parts of their sites that are in different languages), and we might add this. Most multi-language sites have a splash page that allows the user to choose a language, but in some cases it might be useful to let a business owner explicitly link to the different languages on his or her site.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Nelso in Russian

Just realized that I forgot to post about the launch of There are a lot of Russian tourists in Prague these days, so having a complete guide to Прага in Russian should be useful.

This is the first site we've done where I can not make any sense of the text. I can read a few things, but for the most part I have to trust my translator that he got it right.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The New York Times profiles Copenhagen's restaurants

The New York Times has published an article on "The Coming of Age of Copenhagen's Nordic Cuisine". It's a well written look at a city that doesn't get a lot of respect from foodies, despite the fact that Copenhagen has an amazing 11 Michelin-starred restaurants (more than Norway and Finland combined). Prague, by comparison, has only one Michelin-starred restaurant, Allegro, in the Four Seasons Hotel.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The age of entrepreneurs

Paul Kedrosky posted today about a study examining the average age of start-up founders. This study specifically looked at companies with over $1m in revenue and at least 20 employees (i.e. real companies).
People founding tech companies over the last ten years had an average and median age of 39-years, nowhere near the age that makes for good stories about dorm room entrepreneurs -- and older than many of us might have thought.

Good to hear that even at the advanced age of 37, I'm not too old to start, and that I still might have a chance at success.

House-level geocoding for Google Maps

Google announced on the Google Maps blog that that have introduced "rooftop" geocoding for U.S. addresses. What this means is that you can get GPS coordinates at the house level, and not just a spot in the middle of the street in front of an address. Thus, you can tell if an address is on the left or right side of a street, for example.

Would be good to see this for European addresses as well. This data is certainly available - Atlas Maps can provide rooftop geocoding for addresses in Prague, and similar data must be available for other cities in Europe.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Starbucks looking overseas for profit growth

According to an article from the Associated Press, Starbucks is betting heavily on international expansion to fuel profit growth over the next three years. Despite scaling back their expansion plans for new U.S. locations, they are expected to open a whopping 975 new locations internationally in 2008, and 1,300 (!) new locations in 2011.

As everyone in Prague knows by now, Starbucks has come to the Czech Republic, opening its first store on Malostranské náměstí in Prague 1 in late January 2008. They have built a number of other stores in Prague since then, including one at the Prague airport. Considering the high price of coffee at Starbucks, I wonder how many they plan to build here over the next three years. Are Czechs so enamored of $6.00 coffee that there'll soon be one here on every block? Seems unlikely, but then I've been surprised at how many restaurants McDonald's has managed to build in Prague in the last 10 years.