Listing Soup

In the San Diego edition of AT&T’s White Pages, a minor alphabetical error has some business owners seeing red. According to SignOnSanDiego.com, the latest edition of the San Diego business White Pages ran into trouble with listings beginning with the Spanish prefix “La.” As the article points out: “La Jolla business listings begin and then – out of the blue – end. Suddenly, you see listings for La Casita Taco Shop and La Cima apartments. Then, on the next page, La Jolla listings start over. That’s not right, of course. C comes way before J.” Another error also noted by a local advertiser was, “On Page 223, the San Diego listings begin as they’re supposed to, with businesses such as San Diego Ace Hardware and San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum near the beginning. But on Page 224, listings for San Carlos businesses begin showing up. Then – kaboom – the San Diego listings begin again.”

Listing database challenges have been a perennial issue with publishers as they are required more and more to aggregate data beyond their own telco database using multiple sources that may or may not follow the same data entry rules and formatting. In the case of AT&T’s San Diego business listings, two-word listings such as La Jolla or San Diego can be entered as single words rather than as two words, which creates a challenge for computer-generated listing databases. Database accuracy is a complicated topic since it touches publishers, CLEC/ILECs, sales reps, online search portals, third-party suppliers and national advertisers – all of whom contribute in some way to maintaining and updating listing information.

At our upcoming DDC conference in Reston, Virginia, we will be examining this issue in more detail, primarily how a complete database gets constructed, who is responsible for gathering complete and accurate information, how it should be aggregated, and how online data needs are influencing the next generation of listing, DA and online databases.

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