Yesterday, MapQuest notified business users that its local business center and basic local listings product would be formally shutting down. Here’s the text of the email that went out:
We wanted to inform you that the basic version of the MapQuest Local Business Center (LBC) is shutting down. As of January 31, 2014, you will no longer be able to access your listings account within the basic version of the LBC. We have, however, continued our partnership with Yext, which gives us the opportunity to offer you an enhanced business listing with plenty of tools and features to help your business succeed.
With a Yext Premium Powerlistings account, you will be able to manage and edit your own business listing, monitor customer reviews, add enhanced content to your listing such as menus, product and service lists, calendars, promotions, hours of operation, staff bios, photos, and more, and also sync your Yext content to your business’ Facebook page. Package options vary. Upgrade to a premium package and make sure that your potential customers can continue to find you on the web.
While MapQuest claims your listings information page doesn’t explicitly say this, Yext operates a local listings network of the major local search and mapping sites and apps, with the major exception of Google. It appears that the free local listing option is no longer available on MapQuest and that users will be required to pay the Yext fee, which is roughly $500 per business location for syndication across Yext’s distribution network.
Yext greatly simplifies the process of syncing and enhancing data across sites. However some local SEOs are critical of the service.
Regarding MapQuest, it appears that AOL doesn’t know what to do with the site. It has long neglected MapQuest and tried to sell it several times without success. Once the digital mapping leader — it invented the category essentially — MapQuest has maintained a presence in the market almost solely on the strength of its brand.
In a related announcement, MapQuest has entered into a deal with pay-per-call platform Marchex. The latter will distribute advertisers through MapQuest and related properties.