iBegin launched its local search service last year amid a general excitement over local search. First city to go live was Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Then iBegin followed with Ottawa, and then US Cities Kalamazoo, MI and Nashville, TN. These usually include business listings, reviews, ratings and recommendations that are user-contributed. And of course, there’s the requisite mapping interface you would expect from a local search service.
It looks like iBegin has just upped the ante and found an ideal business model as well: licensing out business data. iBegin has launched iBegin Source. And it’s not just about a few cities. They’ve gone nationwide in the US, with about 10.8 million establishments to date. I hear iBegin has big plans to go worldwide, soon.
iBegin updates and cleans up data based on several sources like acquired data, user submissions, and local iBegin teams. But I particularly find the trackback updating system innovative. This means if you use iBegin’s data on your web app or service, and your users edit information on any entry, these will be reflected in the next updates across all other licensees. Licensees can also download updates on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Business data will set you back $1,000 per US state or $40,000 for the entire US–a one-time purchase. A free download is also available for non-commercial use, but without the geo-coding features.