• Do they work with some governmental sources ?
  • Do they only use the information sent by business owners themselves ?
  • Do they scrap the web to collect these information ?
  • Do they have employees that go by themselves to locals and collect information from them ?

I need the answer for a similar website I am working on, I am wondering how can I start with an empty database ?

  • 1
    Yelp and Bing are listed on factual's (factual.com) homepage, so maybe that's a sign. – riseagainst Mar 22 '14 at 18:16

I would say it is mix of all four you mentioned.

When the website is small and trying to cover only a small area, they will start by contacting business to list or even get there details and enter it themself. Later as they grow they start buying lists from companies like D&B and give the owner of the businesses to claim their business so they can keep it updated.


Short answer. Simple answer. Most websites primarily buy lists from phone companies and scrape the web. Sometimes they get lists from Chambers of Commerce registries, license registries, Post Office, associations, and so forth. As well, they can buy lists from rating companies like Dunn and Bradstreet and various lower level marketing companies which often just sell data in bulk. Some significant databases can be purchased for just a few hundred dollars.

In a prior life, I purchased data and built databases for customers and my own business so I can testify to the above. There are many other sources of data that are a bit more obscure, but the ones above are more likely.

As for Yelp and Google Business, I cannot tell you specifically. These are slightly different than most. I would assume that Google uses their search index more than anything and Yelp purchased and amassed a database.

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