Reflecting on EZlocal’s Recent Google Engage Event

In cooperation with Google last week, we hosted our first Engage event, inviting a handful of local business owners to participate at our Oakbrook Terrace office. When word came of free food, G-swag, and Google bigwigs answering questions real-time, the event RSVPs came flooding in. Despite this also being timed with the biggest winter snowstorm of the year, the event carried on uninterrupted. Chicagoans are tough! For those of you that missed out, here is a brief recap of what stuck out in our minds during Google’s 90-minute presentation: Google is focusing in on extending their marketing knowledge to small and mid sized businesses. A bit data heavy at times, all three speakers really opened the information floodgate early. VP of Google’s Americas Marketing, Lisa Gevelber, opened the live presentation with the direction of Google’s marketing efforts, and the effect technology is havi... [More]

EZlocal featured in TechCrunch

In a video interview earlier this week on TechCrunch TV, CEO of Yext, Howard Lerman, showcased their new PowerListings Turbo product and demonstrated live functionality with EZlocal’s robust business listings platform. EZlocal is proud to be among a small handful of platform partners Yext chose to work with including Foursquare, Yahoo! Local and Citysearch. [More]

Help EZlocal Become the Next Groupon!

Just a year ago Groupon, a deal-of-the-day website that uses collective buying power to offer steep discounts to its local subscribers, was in only 20 cities and expressed their hopes “to reach 1 million email subscribers in the very near future.” Today, Groupon is in 88 U.S. cities, has over 13 million subscribers and is valued at more than 1 billion dollars. Is your head spinning? Well, it should be, as Forbes magazine dubbed Groupon “the fastest growing company ever.” It might also interest you to know that, 11 months ago, Groupon was recognized at the 2009 Chicago Innovation Awards as one of the ten most innovative companies base... [More]

How Small Businesses Can Show Their Charitable Side

Go to a large corporate website and click open their site map. You will be inundated with a multitude of boastful links and phrases, all in the same vein: “Community & Giving,” “Helping Society,” “Giving Back,” “Doing Our Part,” “Corporate Philanthropy,” “Social Responsibility,” “Charitable Giving,” etc. The effect is humanizing. Suddenly, the corporation seems a bit more friendly, a bit more caring. I certainly won’t begrudge a corporation for promoting their philanthropy, good deeds deserve good press. However, corporations don’t hold a monopoly on charitable work. America’s small businesses are certainly no stranger to helping others. Yet, many don’t capitalize on the opportunity to promote their involvement in charities. They should. Small businesses are usually local entities. They hire locally, market locally and give back locally. While a large corporation may be impres... [More]

Local Business Search in 3D: How to Search with Zuluz

Last week EZlocal unveiled zuluz, 16 handy business attributes added to the point of search, which allow users to add extra specificity to their local queries. While local search used to only accommodate a "what" and a "where," EZlocal's zuluz now bring a third dimension to local business search, a "with." Let's take a look at how it works. It's late and you just got bit by the coffee bug. However, work has been pretty hectic and you still have some email to catch up on. To complicate matters further, you are completely out of cash; wherever you go had better accept credit cards. Using traditional local search to track down a coffee house that is open late, accepts credit cards and provides wifi isn't an easy task. A query for coffee houses in your local area may yield plenty of results, but how do you zero in on the coffee houses that have the features you desire? By doing an EZlocal zuluz sea... [More]

Introducing Zuluz: The Next Generation of Local Search

Frequent visitors to EZlocal may have noticed a change to our search in the last week. Gone is the conventional two-box, location-based local search. Taking its place is an exciting new search, which now offers three dimensions: "what", "where" and "with". Capably filling the role of the "with" criteria are our beloved zuluz. In the coming weeks we will tell many stories about the creation of zuluz. You will learn of our palindrome obsession and love of the letter "Z". You will learn how we decided upon the name "zuluz" and what it means. You will even learn about the new patent pending technology that supports this third dimension of local search. All in good time. First, a quick zuluz primer: Zuluz are meaningful, searchable business attributes that add extra specificity to your local queries. One or more zuluz can be selected at the point of search... [More]

Free Business Listing Goes Wrong, Hilarious

At EZlocal, every newly-claimed, free business listing is cycled through our homepage.  A few minutes ago I noticed that BP’s corporate offices in Houston, TX had claimed their free business listing.  Of course, I was immediately suspicious; BP is far too busy dumping oil into the ocean to have time to claim their EZlocal profile.  Sure enough, their profile had been hijacked:     We had to delete the profile (quality control and such), but it was too funny to lose forever. Here is the full size image the prankster uploaded: [More]

Encouraging Customer Reviews: 4 Tips to Get People Talking About Your Small Business

Update 02/01/2013: Google has since updated their review content guidelines to prohibit review stations and giving customers free gifts or discounts for leaving reviews. This article was written prior to the change and may provide information that is no longer relevant or considered a best practice. Small businesses are in a unique position to truly benefit from customer reviews.  Chains are pretty well locked into their branding and there tends to be very little differentiation city-to-city and state-to-state.  They will build reputations for being consistent and predictable, but rarely break through to extraordinary.  However, small businesses are unencumbered by these expectations; small businesses have the opportunity to make a name for themselves as some... [More]