Fixing The Listings Problem, One Day at a Time

syncrhonizationI think it’s safe to say that most people dream about finding a job that allows them to go to the office every day and work on something that they’re truly passionate about. Imagine what a shock it was to me when my passion turned out to be nothing other than business listings synchronization. Yes – I love my job, and yes – I spend my day worried about how quickly Yext can update a business’s information and on how many platforms we can do that. Fortunately, PowerListings gets better at solving this problem every day.

I know what you’re thinking: But why is this so exciting?

The thing is – nothing feels better than tackling a decade-old problem from a brand new perspective…and finding that it’s actually the right one. That is what we’ve managed to do at Yext. Until PowerListings was launched in early 2011, there were two ways for a business to ensure that it had accurate and enhanced business listings across all important local search platforms. Either it could:

1) go to each individual directory and spend a significant amount of time updating and enhancing each listing; or

2) pay a data provider to take the content and then hope that directories purchase data from that provider and prioritize its listings over information coming in from other sources.

tired in officeTo summarize: the options were far from great.

So what did Yext do? We reversed the model.

By paying publishers to sync with our content, we can guarantee to our customers that their listings will be added and updated in record time. In an effort to help the businesses build out attractive and informational profiles, we collect an increasing number of content fields like photos, hours, description, and more to update this information on their listings as well. We even managed to convince our publishing partners to add a unique special offers field that only our customers can get!

Most people ask: “How are you guys seriously the first people to put something so obvious together?”

The answer is because we didn’t allow ourselves to get carried away – we stayed fanatically focused on one single goal: actually making a product that does what it claims to do. Instead of getting carried away with inflating the number of directories on which we claim we can control listings, we spend weeks at a time focusing on each and every integration that we do with a new publishing partner. By ensuring that we have it right from the getgo, we can sell a product that delivers on its promise.

We have a long way to go. There are hundreds of more publishers to add to our network, dozens of processes that will improve to make every update instant on our partner directories, and millions of businesses in the US that will benefit from the wonderfully simple ability to control their business listings across an exponentially increasing number of local search platforms. If there is any team that is equipped for this long road ahead, it’s the team that we have at Yext.

Every day that I worry about how quickly and how broadly we can update a businesses listing, I am helping Yext put an end to The Listings Problem that currently has an entire multi-billion dollar industry in disarray – that’s why PowerListings is exciting!


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