Friday, September 19, 2008

Pizza in Paradise

Over the last few weeks, we've added 47,361 U.S. businesses to the Nelso database. Unlike our listings for Berlin or Prague, there is no rhyme or reason to these listings; in some cities like New York we have fairly comprehensive listings, and in other cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin we have listings only for golf courses and pizzerias.

So what's the point? Why offer any listings at all if we can't offer the kind of comprehensive data that we offer in Prague?

We've added these listings as a sort of experiment. As any reader of this blog will know, the Nelso network of sites is the only local search network that offers all its listings in all the languages available on the site. So we wanted to add some U.S. listings to answer two questions:
  1. How easy is it to rank for searches for U.S. businesses in languages other than English? That is, how easy will it be to rank for the kinds of searches that a German, or Danish, or Czech tourist might do when traveling in the U.S.?
  2. If we can succeed in ranking for U.S.-travel related searches, is this a big enough market to care about? When a Danish speaker visits Chicago, does she even bother trying to search for information in Danish, or does she assume that no information will be available in her native language and start her searches in English (negating our advantage - it will be a long time before we can rank well for searches for U.S. businesses in English)?

Pizza Hut HonoluluWell, I think we have an answer to question #1 (above): it is not terribly difficult to rank well for searches for U.S. businesses in languages other than English. A recent search for "Pizza Honolulu" on brought up some rather astounding results: Nelso sites represented 6 of the first 10 results for this search (screenshot)! It'd be hard to achieve better ranking than that.

So what about question #2 (is this a big enough market)? We still don't have enough data to say conclusively if European travelers to the U.S. can justify the expense of developing comprehensive listings for U.S. cities. Our "gut feeling" is that this market is big enough. At Nelso, we define our addressable market as "All travelers that do not speak English as a first language". Seems like a pretty big market to us.

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