Monday, December 15, 2008

Nelso in Japanese

Still working the bugs out, but we've launched a version of Nelso in Japanese at A lot of Japanese tourists come to プラハ (Prague), so we're hopeful that it'll generate some traffic for the Nelso network.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why we take pictures

We're often asked why Nelso sends photographers into the street to photograph businesses, rather than licensing a database of business listings from a company like Localeze, or collecting user-generated content to fill out our database of listings as Google Maps does.

Both of those strategies (licensing a database of business listings and collecting user-generated listings) are valid approaches, and Nelso will take advantage of both of these sources of business listings in the future. However, we still believe strongly in the value of collecting our own business data from staff in the field equipped with GPS-enabled cameras.
  • Many databases of business listings are updated only infrequently, and are very slow to remove closed businesses from that database.
  • Most databases of business listings have incomplete, and even worse, incorrect data.

A good recent example of data that cannot be sourced any other way than through sending out photographers is the McDonald's in the center of Bratislava, Slovakia. We photographed the door of this business, as we usually do, and recorded the hours of operation in our system.

When checking these hours against the hours on the official McDonald's of Slovakia site, we found the following:

If you click on the above image, you can see that even McDonald's official site doesn't have the correct hours for this location. It is actually quite common for us to find errors in a business' own website. Usually, a business puts up a site, and never looks at it ever again, or only infrequently. Thus, even getting business details from a business itself would not result in accurate data. Only collecting the data ourselves will allow us to provide quality data for our users.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Long Tail - Car Dealers in Iceland (California)

We recently noticed a large increase in searches on Nelso for a car dealer in California, with most of these searches coming from Danish users. The car dealer in question is Island Auto Sales in Alameda, California.

Why would Danish users be so interested in this one particular car dealer in northern California? Well, "Island" in Danish means "Iceland", and since the Icelandic economy has melted down, Danish users must think that cars are cheap in Iceland.

Another example of the very long tail searches generated by our localization into 10+ languages.