Why Local Search is Going to be HOT

On Monday I had to get my Jetta to "any" local VW dealer as the lease was minutes away from expiring. I did my homework the night before, had emailed myself the closest dealership, and the map to get there, just in case. Lo and behold, the leasing manager wasn't available at that particular dealership, and I was sent away.
 "No problem", I thought. I popped open the browser in my Blackberry, and went to the VW Canada site to find out where there were other dealerships. Uhoh. Too many scripts on the VW website, it wouldn't load in my berry browser. Plan B: Google VW dealerships. BAD news, I got 97 results.Even Google Local didn't work very well in the berry browser. I was panicked. I had to resort to Plan C, and no one likes Plan C: Return to the original dealership and ask them for information on where the *other* dealerships were.  Oh, and could they give me the phone numbers as well? How 1996.

Michael O'Connor, over at Uninstalled is raving about a nifty new local search too. ZipLocal is hoping to quell that nauseous feeling you get when you need to find something within a proximity area.  It's brand new, so don't be surprised if there are still a few bugs to work out (it couldn't tell me about Toyota dealerships in Aurora, but I'm not giving up hope.)

As local searching becomes more relevant and focused, it's going to be THE must have app on a mobile browser. I swear.

PS The pain and anguish of trying to surf and search for something important in a mobile browsers is significant.  What happened to the good old days when web masters created shadow sites that could be viewed with ANY old crap browser?  On Monday, I couldn't get to vw.ca but nor could I use the Toyota Canada site either.  Sure, sites can be optimized for a specific browser platform, but by geeze, i should be able to see a bare bones rendition in the most basic browser, even if it's only text.  As local search grows, mobile browsing demand grows.  Web masters need to remember that mobile browser users are people too ;-) 



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