Dupes and Dopps: How Bad Data is Killing Your Business

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Yext’s EVP of Partnerships, Christian Ward, and Director of Marketing, Liz Walton, recently hosted a webinar titled, “Dupes and Dopps: How Bad Data is Killing Your Business.” The topic of the webinar was duplicate listings (or as we call them, doppelgängers).

Dupes or Dopps?

A duplicate listing is somewhat of a misnomer because they are actually produced by slight variations in business listing information and not because they are two instances of identical data.

Doppelgänger, on the other hand, in German literally means “double goer” and it’s commonly used to refer to an “evil twin” –– the perfect description for a duplicate listing.

Jokes aside, duplicate listings are a serious problem for businesses. They create uncertainty and confusion in the mind of the consumer that can negatively affect their customer experience or even lead them to choose another businesses entirely. That same uncertainty in a search algorithm has a negative impact on SEO.

The problem is bad. A Yext survey of 2,719 locations found a total of 40,607 duplicate listings, or an average of 14.93 per location.

What causes Dopps?

Duplicate listings are caused by any number of issues, which is one of the reasons that they are so difficult to get rid of.

Data aggregators and directories create their data sets through a two-phase process:

  1. Compilation: scraping information from government records, submitted listings, other directories, and any number of other sources.

  1. Conflation: sorting this data to create one listing based on the “best guess” about which combination is correct.

At any point during compilation, bad data can enter this process from misinformation, old data, or human error, and start a cascade that results in the creation of a duplicate. Similarly, an error in conflation, whether it’s the result of a poor matching process, human error (again), or bad database architecture, will also produce a duplicate.

What can I do about it?

There are three ways that people deal (or attempt to deal) with duplicates:

  • The Mythical: There has been a myth perpetuated by the industry that you can solve duplicates by eliminating them at the source. Unfortunately, this is no one source — only a web of tangled, interconnected sources.

  • The Manual: Duplicates can be addressed one by one by contacting individual publishers and submitting requests for each duplicate. While possible, this is a never ending and totally inefficient process.

  • The Practical: Yext developed Duplicate Suppression, which leverages Yext’s proprietary API integrations with publishers to quickly detect and suppress duplicates with the click of a button. The technology works by sending a signal to publishers to suppress listings, and keep them suppressed.

Watch the full webinar below to see a live demo of Duplicate Suppression in action and learn more about duplicate listings, why they exist, whether you have them, and how to get rid of them. Contact your account manager or salesperson to get Yext Duplicate Suppression today.

Dupes and Dopps Webinar 6.18.15 from Yext on Vimeo.

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