Much like Google places it allows business’ to build an online listing with contact information, photos, payment types, offers and promotions.
The Bing Business Portal comes as a replacement for the Bing Local Listing Centre, similar to the introduction of Google Places when it took over from the Google Local Business centre last year.
Bing has been quite slow to update their places product but this may not have been too much of a disadvantage to them. They’ve been able to learn from mistakes that others in the local marketing space have made and have been able to improve their offering and I think what they’ve come up with is pretty good.
The Bing Business Portal has more functionality than Google Places with business’ being able to build mobile websites and create QR codes for free through their system. Google has recently moved away from using QR codes as it moves to offer near field communications solutions instead. The fact that Bing is offering these functions for free gives them an obvious advantage too.
The Bing Business Portal seems to be particularly optimised for restaurants and bars as it allows you to provide a direct link to an existing menu. Mobile menus are also possible; you can custom a menu for the mobile app.
You can create coupons using the ‘Deal Editor’ and promote them for free not only on their business listings page, the Bing desktop search results page and the deal tab on Bing for Mobile browse home page but it also allows you to publish deals on Facebook too. I wonder if there is an opportunity here for promoted deals through PPC?
Bing, Google and Facebook are all getting in on the local deal offering market that sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are flourishing in at the moment. Facebook just announced in March that they are testing a local discount offering in a few states across the US. Google reportedly tried to acquire Groupon last year for $6 billion and following rejection has now created a rival deals product called Google Offers which is in test mode.
It will be interesting to see if Bing once again follows in Google’s footsteps.