Is Local Search Replacing Word of Mouth?
“I must join a gym this week”, this is one of my favourite daily sayings and has been for quite some time, today is no different, or is it? Ok so I may not be moving at the speed of a thousand gazelles to actually join however I have begun my pre-gym-joining research – human’s vs. search.
Like most people I immediately turned to colleagues and friends that know the local area, surely they’re the best source of information – apparently not.
Friends, colleagues and a random man in the street came up with the names of two gyms, their approximate location and a wild stab in the dark regarding pricing. Compare this to the results of local search and we have a different story entirely.
First up Yell.com provided me with eight results for the local area, their exact location with map, summary of the facilities they provide and a profile page for each result with contact numbers, images and website details.
It’s fairly obvious to see the immediate benefits of using local search over word of mouth, however, the die-hard word of mouth fans amongst us will argue that human’s can offer insight that a set of results can’t. What is the service like? Are the staff knowledgeable? Are there any hidden costs? It’s quite true, human’s can provide information that might be a deal breaker.
Google however is quick to recognise this and its search results provide user reviews. While this may not be taking off rapidly it will only be a matter of time before it becomes a real useful resource.
My point is this, word of mouth will always remain but to what degree? I myself see the benefit of it over a set of results but in this MTV-watching low-attention-span-having modern day society, do we have the time? To collate the same amount of information via word of mouth that local search provided me would take what would seem a lifetime – and trust me, I don’t want to go to a gym that much!
So, is word of mouth dying a death or is it here to stay?