Bizwiki Blog

Archive for the 'Local Search' Category

Improvements to Bizwiki’s Business Maps

We are happy to be able to announce that a new version of the maps we display for each business, company and organisation on the site has been completed and went live earlier today.

The new maps leverage the power of google-maps to display each location in a clearer way, with a shorter loading time. In response to the way we found many visitors were using the site, we’ve also changed the way the site works slightly so that users who click to ‘See a larger map’ now go directly to a page designed for printing. These pages display just the vital contact information about the company underneath a good-sized map that can be adjusted by the user or immediately printed.

We hope that the businesses on Bizwiki and the tens of thousands of people who use the site every day find these changes useful. The new system has been thoroughly tested, but as always any errors or location discrepancies can be reported here.

Thanks, and we hope you continue to find Bizwiki useful.

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Major changes to Bizwiki Record Editing

In an effort to streamline the editing of records on Bizwiki and ensure that vital changes are actioned and go through to the live site fast, we are making some major changes to how records are submitted and reviewed.

The “Add / Edit a Record” functionality will soon be consolidated into the ‘Report an Error’ feature. This has the benefit to users of not requiring them to register for an account and log in to be able to request a fix or report an error with an existing business record, and will streamline the processing of records by editors by having only the important fixes come through to them.

We have had a great deal of success in adding and compiling business records using our fine-tuned Bizwiki Bot Spider, and new company records will be added to the site periodically at regular intervals. We will also be adding additional depth to existing records using the same technology, with human editors getting involved where required.

The result of this should be fewer features immediately available to users to add and edit records on the site, but a faster response rate to any required fixes and edits to existing records. We also anticipate the process of requesting important changes both being made easier for visitors, who will now be able to do so without any registration being required, and a reduced workload on our editors who put so much effort in to staying on top of it all.

This is a step in the evolution of the Bizwiki project, so while some users may miss some of the functionality that is being retired we hope that you will enjoy the faster response times, periodic automatic updates, and continue to use and benefit from the site.


 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Record-breaking Bizwiki Update Completed

The latest version of Bizwiki has just gone live –and it’s a record breaker!

This new update to the site was a colossal undertaking, combining updates submitted by many of the site’s users and manual changes made by the editorial team over the last few months with a huge update across all categories of business using the Bizwikibot spider. The result is not just more up-to-date company records, but a greater depth and breadth of business information is now available to our site’s users than ever.

A grand total of 4,936,758 existing businesses on Bizwiki have had their information edited and updated. This includes manually added content, address changes, telephone and contact detail updates and map location changes.

A remarkable 5,068,071 new businesses have been added to Bizwiki, in many cases completely with in-depth information. This means that the site is now larger and covers the country more comprehensively than ever.

1,367,582 of the old businesses on the site have been marked as obsolete and deleted. This includes businesses that have closed down over during the last couple of tumultuous years, but also companies that have transformed, been renamed or relaunched in new business categories.

There have been a number of dedicated people involved in these updates, changes and the reorganisation over the last six months, but the lion’s share of the credit has to go to our Chief Technical Architect Keith Hinde, who has really pulled out all the stops to make this happen.

And of course, we’d like to say a special thank you to all the many visitors who have helped by adding, editing and increasing the amount of useful information on the site. That especially applies to business owners and representatives who have pitched in to help improve the online profile of their own companies – nobody knows your business better than you, and on the behalf of the Bizwiki team I’d like to thank you for sharing your knowledge with all our site’s users.



 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Another huge business record update underway

Work is underway on a huge update of business records across the site.

This is a giant project involving changes and additions across hundreds of categories of business and hundreds of thousands of companies, and involves manually submitted entries added by our users and editors, updates from databases and detailed information gathered by our BizwikiBot spider.

We expect to have the new version rolled out across the site soon, and hope that it will help Bizwiki be an ever more useful resource for our many visitors and users.

Watch this space for more information!

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Massive update of Bizwiki completed

We are pleased to announce a huge update of Bizwiki UK’s index of companies and information has been completed. Consisting of tens of thousands of user-edited records and new additions that have been hand-processed by our editorial team and more than quarter of a million records being updated or having additional information added to them by our BizwikBot spider, this is a major update and should result in even better depth of information across the site.

There is now the grand total of 1,412,330 businesses in the Bizwiki UK database, and thanks to the submissions our registered users and visitors are making this is a number that continues to grow.

A large part of the credit for the quality and depth of information in this update goes to Bizwiki’s Chief Technical Architect, Keith Hinde, who has been slaving away on this piece of work for more than half a year. On behalf of the site’s editors and users, thanks for your tireless efforts!

Thanks also to the  many users and editors who have continued to add high-quality and detailed information about the companies they know, helping make Bizwiki a useful and popular business resource for all our visitors.

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Print Directories: Yellowing with Age

Ever seen an old, outdated book? The pages are yellow, crackling, and faded. They’re sometimes cherished, perhaps even immortalised in some library where people can gasp in wonder at all that it represents. But no-one turns its pages, except perhaps some specialist bibliophile. And those are the lucky books; the rest become landfill, or unvisited – even embarrassing – monuments to dead trees.

Such is the fate of the traditional yellow page directory. Why? In an age of online directories, print directories are like clay tablets: large, cumbersome, limited, and unwieldy.

Even then, the comparison can’t emphasise just how obsolete they’ve become, all over the world. If you’re a business owner, you normally can’t get your details printed in them without paying a regular fee. You can’t easily edit the information without calling up the publisher. And even if you get your details in there, that’s it: you’re in a single publisher’s directory, viewable only to people who get the printed brick dropped outside their door. And what if there’s a mistake in the book, or your details change? No fixes will be forthcoming until the next print run.

Compare that with something like Bizwiki, for example: anyone can submit their business details to it, covering a wide range of information – information about your company, your email addresses, website addresses, and phone numbers – far beyond the traditional few words you’re limited to in print. Anyone can edit the business information as well, which makes it exceptionally easy to keep the information up-to-date and current. Best of all, it’s completely free. There’s no pushy sales people to deal with trying to sell you extras; it’s completely in your control, and that’s the way it should be.

On top of that, anyone using a search engine like Google looking for “Plumbers in Aldershot” or “Attorneys in Austin, Texas” is a potential customer. (Not to mention that, depending on your business, your potential customers could now be located anywhere in the UK, US or even the whole world, instead of being limited to a particular geographic location). Plus, if you add your details to Bizwiki UK, for example, you’ll appear in other directories on-line, like, increasing your exposure.

Then, consider the user, or customer, who wants to find a business. Printed directories have one method of organisation: dumping everything into categories, and organising them alphabetically. You can’t search by postcode, zip code, state, town or city. You can’t search for a particular business name. In short, with on-line directories, the customer is not limited to one particular method of finding business information.

Then, there’s the issue of portability. Mobile phone usage across the world has sky-rocketed. If you’re on the train, and want to find a nearby restaurant, tome-like yellow page monstrosities can’t sit there conveniently in your back-pocket.

Realistically, the only thing yellow-page style printed directories are destined for is the recycling bin. Alternatively, you could have a bit of fun and collect them from your neighbours, dump them on the doorstep of the publisher, and get scolded for creating a fire hazard. But, the point is, we simply don’t use them anymore, because they’ve been superseded by a new medium that is more current, accurate, and easy to use, for both business owners and customers. Plus, digital content isn’t made of dead trees, and that can only be a good thing.

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

How Google’s rich snippets can help you market your business

If you are a business owner, and have a website as part of your on-line marketing strategy, this bit of news may be of interest to you. Recently, Google announced that it is now supporting what it calls “rich snippets” for local search.

“Rich snippets” is basically Google’s implementation of various “microformats”. Microformats are pieces of structured HTML code that can describe your website page, which in turn will help Google properly classify your website, make it accessible on their Place pages, and also help them understand the content on the page itself.

While it may sound daunting, rich snippets are very easy to implement, and help Google identify information such as reviews, people profiles, business listings, and events. As a simple example, let’s say you have a webpage where you normally list your contact details using the following HTML code:


   <h4>Bob’s Building Company</h4>

   Contact me, Andrew Other, on:<br />

   Work: 01252 XXXX<br />

   Cell: 0795 XXXXXXX<br /><br />

   Our work address is:<br />

   147 Some Street<br />

   Another Town<br />

   GU8 8AA, UK


With rich snippets, you can now tell Google what each bit of information represents:

<p class=”vcard”>

   <h4 class=”org”>Bob’s Building Company</h4>

   Contact me, <span class=”fn”>Andrew Other</span>, on:<br />

   <span class="tel">

      <span class="type">Work</span>:

      <span class="value">01252 XXXX</span><br />


   <span class="tel">

      <span class="type">Cell</span>:

      <span class="value">0795 XXXXXXX</span><br /><br />


   <div class="adr">

      Our <span class="type">work</span> address is:<br />

      <span class="street-address">147 Some Street</span><br />

      <span class=”locality”>Another Town</span><br />

      <span class=”region”>Hampshire</span><br />

      <span class=”postal-code”>GU8 8AA</span>, <span class=”country-name”>UK</span>



While this may at first glance look strange, close inspection shows there is method to the madness. Let’s break it down:

<p class=”vcard”>: This tells Google that all information between the opening and closing <p></p> tags is part of a vCard. A vCard is a microformat standard that helps describe information about a person or business.

<h4 class=”org”>Bob’s Building Company</h4>: org tells Google that “Bob’s Building Company” is the name of the organisation that this vCard is associated with.

<span class=”fn”>Andrew Other</span>: fn tells Google that “Andrew Other” is the name of the person this vCard is associated with. (if fn and org both have the same value, Google will treat the vCard as being details for a place of business). This next one is a bit more tricky:

<span class="tel">
   <span class="type">Work</span>:
   <span class="value">01252 XXXX</span><br />

The first portion, <span class=”tel”> … </span> tells Google that everything between the <span></span> tags  is a telephone number. <span class=”type”>Work</span> then tells Google the the telephone number is a Work number, and then <span class=”value”>01252 XXXX</span>instructs Google as to what the telephone number actually is.

The next telephone number deals with a cellphone number, so you’ll see that we used the same format as the work number, but we told Google that the type is different:  <span class=”type”>Cell</span>

The last portion of our example details the work address for Andrew Other:

<div class="adr">
   Our <span class="type">work</span> address is:<br  />
   <span class="street-address">147 Some  Street</span><br />
   <span class=”locality”>Another Town</span><br  />
   <span class=”region”>Hampshire</span><br />
   <span class=”postal-code”>GU8 8AA</span>, <span  class=”country-name”>UK</span>

As you can see, the format is quite similar yet again.  <div class=”adr”> is telling Google that the information that follows details an address, <span class=”type”>work</span> says it is a work address, and then each element of the address is broken down according to “street-address”, “locality”, “region”, “postal-code” and “country-name”.

There are many different codes for the hCard format, which can be viewed on the Microformat website, along with more in-depth explanations, and examples.

Also, as mentioned earlier, Google also supports formats for reviews, events, businesses and organisations, and even recipes.

For more information on Google’s Rich Snippets, the following links should help:

Rich Snippets for Local Search
Rich Snippets Help Documentation

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Bizwiki 2.0 goes live – Review Free!

The brand new version of went live yesterday at lunchtime. Apart from being shinier, faster and easier to use than ever before, there is one change that will be instantly noticeable and that brings it in line with the US is now review-free

This may seem to be bucking the trend for websites, with every second site on the web now offering review functionality, but we took the view that we would rather focus our efforts on what Bizwiki does best: building up a unique directory of detailed information about companies and businesses that any user can help improve and enlarge.

Bizwiki has always been dedicated to information over opinion, so it was on request from users that we rolled out a review feature for our UK site at a time where there were less alternatives. Apart from the useful information reviews provide, our goal was to ensure that opinions had their own space on the site and were less likely to be added to information sections.

Over the last few years we have seen the site and its users develop and change, and now an increasing proportion of registered Editors are representatives, owners or managers of businesses and companies. The quality of information has been consistently improving and we’ve been very happy to see the user base grow along with it.

We launched the US version of without reviews, and found that this has been nothing but beneficial in clarifying the purpose of this as the wiki for business, and distinguishing Bizwiki from sentiment-orientated sites like Yelp and Angieslist.

We are confident that this improved focus will give our users more of what they want, and enable our editors and staff to concentrate on increasing both the breadth of the site and the depth of information available about each record.

Finally I’d like to thank our Lead Developer Craig Sefton and Chief Technical Architect Keith Hinde for their tireless efforts to rebuild the site and get this new and highly improved version live.

Enjoy the new Bizwiki!

A note to businesses:

During the time that reviews were featured on some companies accumulated a number of reviews from the public that they may want to retain. If so, don’t worry, nothing has been deleted. The reviews are not being displayed on this site, but are still available on request if you would like to get a copy of them for use on your own website or in your advertising material.

Email us at before the end of 2010 with the name of the company and we will send you a text copy of the reviews received free of charge.


 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Bizwiki powers business search for

We are pleased to be able to announce that now powers the business listings on the local search website.

You can now find information provided directly from Bizwiki powering Allonesearch’s search functionality and appearing on many of the business directory pages.

What this exciting development means to our visitors is that by adding your business or increasing the amount of information available about it on Bizwiki, you will get exposure not only to out community of users on this site but also to people using Allonesearch for local information and yellow page look-ups.

If you would like to get a new company added to both Bizwiki and it’s now easier than ever, just click to add it right here.

And the best part is that it’s completely free to do so. That’s the wiki difference.

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

BizwikiBot adds more detail to Businesses

The BizwikiBot web crawler has been extremely busy recently, and we’re happy to say we’ve been able to add additional detail to hundreds of thousands of businesses right across America.

Our custom-built BizwikiBot is programmed to perform tasks such as confirming or updating vital contact details and retrieving and processing a short portion of text about companies. As well as adding additional useful content about companies on the site, this is a great help to our human editors in keeping information up to date.

Expect to additional information appearing on over a hundred thousand more company pages over the weeks ahead as BizwikiBot continues its crawling, indexing and sorting of data.

You can add a new company to Bizwiki or add a website to an existing business record and the site will be added to a list for BizwikiBot to spider in its next pass.

 What is BizwikiBot?

BizwikiBot is a web crawler programmed to browse the internet in a methodical, automated manner. When visiting sites, BizwikiBot spiders pages and retrieves text as a means of providing up-to-date information about businesses to the many people who use the Bizwiki site.

This automatically spidered information is added to the hand-written content, providing additional detail to the site’s users. Registered users can edit and add to these records, with a goal of providing the public with a more complete picture of each company.

BizwikiBot is designed to be a polite bot, following any instructions from the site’s owners and using the minimum bandwidth and server resources.

If you would like information about managing how BizwikiBot interacts with your site, or need to know how to prevent it accessing certain pages, please see

We hope you find the new content and information useful!

 Digg  Reddit  Delicious  Yahoo Bookmarks  Facebook  BlinkList

Next Page »