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Decider Enters Local Search

Decider logo [1]Humorous faux-newspaper, The Onion [2], has launched a new local directory site called Decider [3] in beta. While The Onion is famous for its satirical “news” articles, Decider is a decidedly serious guide intended to complement their other offerings like serious classifieds and the A.V. Club [4] (The Onion’s arts and entertainment site).

Decider brings local business listings for bars, restaurants, music venues, events, and reviews. It appears to be targeted to the college-to-early-thirties demographic, and sports advertisements on the pages.

When I heard about Decider, I immediately though, “oh, yet another business directory site among the many others,” — a thought apparently shared to some degree by Andrew Shotland [5].

Yet, I don’t think local search has hit a point of “critical mass” like the largest point of expansion just before an industry’s bubble is about to burst. While I do believe that there is likely to be some collapsing of the businesses at the top of the local directory food chain like major yellow pages, the cheapness of launching local businesses at the bottom of the equation virtually guarantees that there will continue to be many more contenders continuing to enter with their own takes on the local search experience. The barriers to entry for launching a local directory are quite low, and various related local info APIs cause the barrier to reduce even more.

Greg Sterling points out [6] that The Onion’s intro into local directory space isn’t all that surprising, since they are a type of newspaper — though, newspapers have also been struggling to get up to competitive speed in the internet age.

Oh, and I should also take a moment to point out that Decider has been fairly savvy in trying to construct a site that is very search-engine friendly. Their developers have obviously worked to incorporate SEO elements into the construction. Page titles are pretty well-formed, along with Meta tags and H1s. Page URLs are very spider-friendly and include keywords.

They even get a special place in my heart for incorporating hCard microformatting [7] elements, although I’m not convinced that their microformat code is valid — the hCard stuff isn’t recognized by my Operator toolbar in FireFox, so I think they may’ve set the hCard up in an invalid manner, perhaps.

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