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Frequently Asked Questions

Read our Best Practices Guide.


What is Universal Business Listing (UBL)?

Universal Business Listing is a service that provides a single point of entry for the creation and distribution of enhanced business profiles. The core of all UBL packages is our core syndication service. For a nominal fee per year, verified data will be distributed to all major outlets, including:

  • Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing
  • Online yellow pages (Superpages, Yellowpages, Yellowbook)
  • Social networks such as Yelp
  • Portals and guides such as AOL Mapquest and Citysearch
  • Cell phones and mobile apps (Blackberry, iPhone, Android)
  • 411 directory assistance
  • In-car GPS navigation and telematics services such as OnStar
What type of partnership programs are available?

We offer partnership programs for interactive agencies that manage listings on behalf of their clients, and an affiliate program that allows you to earn revenue for referring your clients to us via a designated URL assigned to your company.

How may I qualify for the agency program?

You may qualify as an agency if you manage listings on behalf of your clients. As an agency you will be responsible for creating the listing, taking payments, and managing renewals. You will be the primary point of contact with UBL for listings in your agency account. Sign up and learn more by visiting our Reseller Sign Up page (no purchase required). Submit all of your listings under your registered ID for easy management of listings in one central place. (Purchase of listing is required for distribution to directories.)

Do you offer discounted pricing to agency partners?

Agencies that are committed to submitting a high volume of listings may be offered discounted pricing. There are no minimum requirements to become an agency. However, as a thank you for your business, you will receive a volume discount once 100 listings have been submitted. Go to our Reseller Programs page to learn more.

How do I become an affiliate?

Go to our Reseller Programs page to sign up and receive more information.

Can I see the process before I pay?

Yes. Simply register on the site to create an account. No purchase is required. You can then create a listing. You may complete that process and even save your listing without checking out, but note that distribution of your listing only occurs after payment has been received.

Which search engines and directories receive the data?

UBL's core syndication service feeds directly into Infogroup, Factual, and Dun & Bradstreet, the top anchor databases in the industry. These databases are considered trusted content by all major publishers and directories. They directly and indirectly reach over 150 points of distribution. UBL also offers direct distribution into numerous search engines and directories. See the FAQ pages for our Essential, Premium, Professional, and UBL Express packages.

Can I control where the listings go?

UBL is able to provide more certainty about its core distribution by working with the vendors who provide the underlying databases to the publishers, so it is not possible to deselect specific sites. A principle of UBL is to make data freely available to all legitimate search engines and directories in our industry in order for business listings to be universally distributed. You may, of course, still claim your own listings on individual sites if you prefer.

When can I expect my listing to start appearing?

As the directories and search engines each have varying data refresh schedules, we suggest 60 to 90 days as a general guideline. Some directories may change the information within weeks, but others refresh their data on longer schedules. We cannot control that, but we can assure you we will make the data available to the publishers and database vendors as quickly as their schedules permit.

What does UBL Direct mean and what sites are included?

UBL Direct is a direct feed to publishers and data providers that helps to get your listings published in record time. We are adding publishers and data providers to this feed on an ongoing basis. Some listings will be distributed immediately, while others will appear during the first 30 days of your subscription. Many listings will be published in all the sites and services in the network, while others may be listed only where they match publisher criteria.

Sites and data providers in the UBL Direct network currently include: Company.com, AboutUs.org, ChamberofCommerce.com, Citysquares, Judy's Book, Local Database, OwnLocal, ShowMeLocal, Tyloon, USCity.net, Compass, Verizon, and nSphere. (We reserve the right to update this list periodically.)

What is a Webcard?

A Webcard is a simple web page that includes all of the elements of your certified business profile: contact information, logo, products and services, hours of operation, and more. Once you’ve submitted your listing information to UBL, we post that information to the Webcard immediately so that you can see how your master business profile will appear across the web. Your Webcard is like a calling card for your business online, and having one boosts your search ranking and online visibility. There’s no extra cost for this service, and your publicly posted Webcard can even be used in lieu of a business website.

Can I make changes to my Webcard?

You can make changes to your UBL profile at any time, and those changes will be immediately reflected in your online Webcard.

Will the directories use all of the data I send?

Some directories only publish base information such as business name, phone, address, and web address. However, we can assure you that our core distribution service makes all of the data available to publishers, who are increasingly accepting more enhanced data.

Are there guidelines or limitations I should be aware of when creating my listings?

We use Google's guidelines as a benchmark. There are character limitations for fields such as business name, description, products, etc. Our business profile form will guide you as you enter data for your listing. Use of plain text is recommended, as special characters such as trademark symbols will cause an error response. Please also refer to our Best Practices Guide.

Why do I keep getting an error that begins, "Enter a list of items separated by commas"?

The full error message looks like this: "Enter a list of items separated by commas. This field cannot contain special characters or HTML. Maximum length is 200 characters." Although there is a reference to character limit, this message also refers to special characters and HTML tags that may be hidden in your text. This error commonly occurs when you cut and paste content from a website, so text should be entered manually.

Why must I use a link for logos and photos, rather than uploading an image?

In order to distribute images effectively, we must use the most commonly accepted protocol, which is a URL link that looks like this:

  • http://www.mywebsite.com/image.jpg

You can link to any type of common image file such as .jpg, .gif, .png, and .bmp. The advantage is that you can post updated images to the same location using the same file name, meaning that you do not have to resubmit an image file in order to change your logo or photo. No two directories publish the same list of content elements, so images may not display on some sites. Our recommendation is that image files should be no larger than 1MB and 1024 x 1024 pixels.

Will I receive the login information for my listing in each directory?

For our core distribution service, submissions are via automated data feed, so no user account is created by each directory. These submissions are public, meaning we do not own or claim them, so you have the ability to claim once published on sites that offer this service. Most UBL packages also include direct submission services such as UBL Direct, Owner Verified Profiles, Local SEO Profiles, and Video Syndication. For these services, we submit, modify, and/or claim your listing on several key sites, and where applicable we do provide you with login information.

I already have owner verified or claimed listings on some sites. Will my submission to UBL overwrite these listings or create duplicate listings?

On sites where your listing is already claimed, we are prevented from editing, so you’ll need to log in to your account on the site to make changes. (See our Premium FAQ for some exceptions to this rule.) Be sure to submit to us the same content that you have submitted to any directory or search sites, so that your UBL listing will be viewed as a match and no duplicate listing will be created. Although we cannot edit your claimed listings, we create multiple citations for your business that are known to act as "votes" for the relevance of your listings, claimed or otherwise, in local searches.

How can I track my listing and what kind of reporting do you offer?

Unfortunately, directories and search engines do not advise when they publish a listing. Our general guideline for our core syndication service is that most listings will publish in 60-90 days. If your listing did not pass verification you would be advised within this timeframe.

For our direct submission services, UBL offers completion reports containing detailed information about the work we’ve done for you: listings submitted, profiles created, links, and passwords. Completion Reports are a featured service of our Essential, Premium, and Professional packages.

What process is used for verification?

UBL provides for two levels of verification, helping to ensure that your business listings contain trusted content. All of our listings are subject to verification by Infogroup’s Express Update team. Business listings that cannot be automatically verified will result in a phone call from the Express Update team to verify listing information. It is important to complete the verification process if you are contacted by the Express Update team; if the verification call is refused, the listing will not be distributed. In addition to Express Update verification, UBL offers its own verification service as part of the Premium, Professional, and UBL Express packages, described in the Premium FAQ page.

What happens if my information cannot be verified?

This is a very rare instance for a real business. Important distributors like Infogroup will make at least three attempts to contact you before notifying UBL that verification was unsuccessful. If this occurs, UBL will notify you via email, and you will have an opportunity to adjust the information to ensure full distribution. There is no extra fee for this resubmission.

How often can I make changes to my listing(s)?

Changes may be made at any time through your account login. However, remember that the directories will not update the information immediately. This is not a venue for promoting weekly specials or other data that changes frequently. (You may of course update your business website, coupon link, or other links more frequently if you maintain the same web address.) If basic business facts such as name, address, and telephone number need to be modified, make those changes in the profile form for your UBL listing, and the updated listing will be distributed through our syndication channels.

Can I request a deletion?

A deletion may be requested if the business has ceased operations. UBL will send the request to the data vendors.

Will old listings be removed or updated?

UBL is an effective path to correction due in part to our partnerships with anchor databases. As these partners provide trusted source content to many of the major directories, submitting correct information via UBL will expedite the process of correcting your listing data. The breadth of UBL distribution also acts to corroborate those corrections. However, we cannot guarantee that every directory will be able to match and update all erroneous listings.

Why is there a renewal fee?

Many directories and data providers require that listing data be refreshed annually. Some directories remove listings if they are not actively updated. Renewing your listing helps keep data fresh and information about your business accurate.

What if I do not renew?

If you do not renew after the notices we send, your record will be removed from the active file that we provide to directories. Different sites and distribution partners will treat deactivated UBL listings in different ways, according to their policies. Some may keep the listings active and some may delete them. This is beyond our control.

Can I buy a subscription for multiple years?

To make sure that you check your listing for accuracy at least once a year, and to better serve you and the public, we do not offer purchasing for multiple years. This also ensures that there will be no auto-rebilling.

Can I upgrade a listing after I purchase?

If you decide to upgrade your package within 4 months of original purchase then you may do so for the difference in package price. For upgrades made after the 4 month period, you will be charged the current full package price. To upgrade, simply click the Upgrade Listing link to the far right of listing, select your new package type, and proceed to check out/purchase.

Most of these sites allow me to add my information for free, so why do I have to pay?

Our value is efficiency, time savings, and depth of distribution. Many important venues such as 411 directory assistance, mobile phones, and GPS navigation devices do not offer public access to submit data. Our nominal fee is cost effective for businesses small and large.

What forms of payments do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and PayPal.

What is your refund policy?

Our policy is that all sales are final.

What is your contact information?

Universal Business Listing
Attn: Customer Support
6701 Carmel Road, Suite 202
Charlotte, NC 28226
Phone: 704-200-9929
Email: contact@ubl.org

 


What is UBL Direct?

UBL Direct is a direct feed service that establishes your online listing with several important sites and data providers, offering early results while broad syndication gets underway.

What sites are included in UBL Direct?

Below is a partial list. We reserve the right to update this list periodically.

  • AboutUs.org
  • ChamberofCommerce.com
  • Citysquares
  • Judy's Book
  • Local Database
  • OwnLocal
  • ShowMeLocal
  • Tyloon
  • USCity.net
  • Compass
  • Verizon
  • nSphere
  • Company.com
Will I get a UBL Direct report?

Yes. Your Status page displays your UBL Direct completion report. To get to the Status page, log in to your UBL account, click Business Listings, and select the Status link on the far right for any listing. Where possible, your report will display the live link of your new or verified listing.

How long will it take to complete UBL Direct syndication?

Many of your listings will be accepted for distribution immediately. Live links on publisher sites will begin to appear in just a few days, with more links coming online during the first 14 days of your subscription.

 


How does the owner verification process work?

To begin with, we review the listing information you’ve provided and determine whether listings for your business already exist on the sites covered by our Owner Verified Profiles service: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Mapquest, Yelp, YP.com, and Superpages. The results of our initial review determine the next actions, as discussed below.

What happens if I have no existing listings on Google, Yahoo, or Bing?

If our research does not detect an existing listing for your business, we will create a new listing. We’ll set up an account for you on the site and submit the listing data you’ve provided.

What if multiple listings already exist on Google, Yahoo, Bing, Mapquest, Superpages, YP.com, or Yelp?

If multiple listings are found for the business on any of these sites, we will use the closest match, make any needed edits or additions, and complete the verification process with that listing.

What I if I have one existing Yahoo listing?

Phone or postcard verification is now required for Yahoo local listings. Yahoo offers both Basic (free), and Enhanced (paid) listings. Some listings will display in Yahoo search results with a green check mark, indicating a listing status of Merchant Verified. Merchant Verified status is granted to paid local listings, to businesses that purchase search marketing services directly from Yahoo, or to listings Yahoo has obtained from another source like Yellowpages.com or Citysearch.

If your Yahoo listing shows a status of Merchant Verified, we will not attempt to claim the listing. We will determine the verification source (e.g., customer, Yellowpages.com), and we will upload any photos in your UBL listing.

What if my Yahoo listing is not Merchant Verified?

If your existing Yahoo listing is not Merchant Verified, we will claim the listing using an account we’ll create for you. We will then edit the listing with the listing data you’ve provided.

Please Note: We have no way to know if the customer has already claimed a Yahoo basic listing, unless this information is provided to us by the customer. If we claim a Yahoo basic listing that a customer has previously claimed with another account, then the listing status may change in the customer’s existing account to "Deactivated." This status indicates that another Yahoo user has overwritten the listing (in this case, UBL has done so on the customer’s behalf). No duplicate listing is created. If you choose, you can get control of your listing back from us by claiming it once again, using your original account. You may also manage your listing using the new account we have created for you.

What if I have one existing Bing listing?

We will claim the existing listing using an account that we create for the customer. We then edit the listing using the data you’ve provided and submit for publication.

Please Note: Before Bing will publish your listing, we need to verify your listing with a phone or postcard PIN. This process helps protect your listing against unauthorized changes. In the event we discover the customer has an existing Bing account and has previously verified their listing, we can cancel the verification process. The Bing owner verification process does not create any duplicate listing concerns even where control of the listing changes hands. If the Bing listing is in your control and you provide us with account login information, we can access the listing and make edits and updates as desired. We can also complete the verification process and move the listing to the new account that we create for the customer.

What if I have one existing Google listing?

Phone or postcard verification is required for Google Places listings. Some Google Places listings will display a green checkmark and the phrase Owner Verified. This status is obtained by completing phone or postcard verification for the listing.

If an existing Google Places listing shows a status of Owner Verified, we can’t claim the listing.

If your Google Places listing is not Owner Verified, we claim the listing using an account we create for you. Next, we update the listing with the data you’ve provided. After the listing has been verified the process is complete.

What is the process for Facebook?

For businesses with no existing Facebook presence, we create an account, create a Page for your business, populate that Page with information from your UBL business profile, and provide you with a link and login credentials. If we detect that you already have a Facebook Page, we include a link to that page in your completion report.

What is the process for Twitter?

For businesses with no existing Twitter presence, we create a Twitter handle and populate your Twitter page with information from your UBL business profile. We provide you with a link and login credentials. If we detect that you already have a Twitter account, we include a link to that page in your completion report.

What is the process for Mapquest, Superpages, YP.com, and Yelp?

The process for these sites is similar to other local search sites such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Our status report contains detailed instructions for what you need to do to complete the owner verification process.

What kind of reporting will I receive?

The approximate timeline for processing is 30 days. A completion report is made available that will record the actions taken, your verification status on all six sites, and login credentials for your new profiles. Your login credentials will permit you to make further updates.

If I am an agency representing customers, do you contact my customers directly?

Our dedicated owner verification team must contact your customer due to the requirements of Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other sites. However, UBL will make contact on behalf of your company as long as the Agency Alias field in each listing contains your company name.

Will you try to upsell my customers?

Absolutely not! The communication from our team relates to the owner verification process only. If your client has questions outside of this process we refer them back to you. For instance, the client may ask, "How can I optimize my business listing to get a higher ranking?" Our answer: "I will need to refer you back to UberSEO as my objective today is to assist in the verification of your business."

 


What if I very few photos or no photos to send?

We can capture photos from your website or use images from our database of royalty-free images.

I already have an account with some websites (Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter). Will the listings you create conflict with my existing listings?

We conduct a search wherever possible to find if your business is already listed. If yours is found, we will bypass that website and add an additional site to your list.

What if I do not have the kind of logo or avatar icon that I usually notice on business profiles?

We will create a basic logo and icon using your business name.

What are UBL’s qualifications in offering content creation and submission services?

After years as a leader in business listings service industry, we recruited the top professionals and technicians with years of submission experience. Our team has completed hundreds of robust professional listings for the SEO and internet marketing industry.

What kind of search results will I get if I sign up?

Since many websites continually change their ranking criteria, we cannot guarantee search results. However, listings and citations will always be a key factor in getting top search results.

Can I see an example of the 30-second video that you create?
How do I know my business has been submitted to the sites on your list?

After completing your professional listing, we will email a Completion Report with links to your new listings as well as user names and passwords that give you access to your profiles.

Are your listings Google-approved and "white hat"?

We have years of experience in managing online listings and we are committed to following industry best practices for approved and ethical listing submission and content creation.

Do you maintain the profiles after submission?

We do not perform ongoing maintenance, but we do send user names and passwords so that you can manage ongoing updates on as many sites as you choose.

Do you provide any help documentation after the listing process?

Yes. Included with your completion report is an online booklet, Get More from Your UBL Professional Listing, that includes ways to maintain your listings, help promote your business online, and assist your customers in posting reviews to help improve your presence.

 


How does the UBL Express product differ from Yext?

The Yext platform is at the center of UBL Express and provides a great value to customers for its ease of use, quick updates, and site analytics. With UBL Express, we also add important components not present in the Yext platform: we claim your listing in Google Places and we distribute your listing through InfoGroup’s Express Update service, for the broadest syndication online and on mobile devices and GPS and 411 services.

What kinds of customers benefit from the Yext platform?

The Yext platform is good for businesses who want near real-time update capabilities, including instant updates of photos on many sites. Yext listings are also likely to be more prominent than others because of the special tag line element, a promotional message that can be updated by the business as often as desired.

The best fit depends on the business. If real-time updates and promotional tags are not a priority, UBL offers a range of other products focused on broad distribution (Essential), verified listings on key sites (Premium), and agency-level local search optimization (Professional).

Does UBL not feed these sites in the same way?

Not precisely; that’s why we’re happy to make the Yext platform available as an option. UBL distribution is designed for growth in listing accuracy and visibility across a broad range of sites. UBL also has a strong emphasis on feeding the underlying databases that sites like Google rely upon for local search information. The importance and effectiveness of these services is proven and they make a good complement to Yext distribution.

What sites are currently included in the Yext platform?

UBL and Yext reserve the right to modify this list without notice.

  • Yahoo
  • Yelp
  • WhitePages*
  • MapQuest*
  • Superpages
  • Citysearch
  • Yellowbook
  • Local.com*
  • YellowBot*
  • MerchantCircle*
  • EZLocal*
  • GetFave*
  • Local Database*
  • ShowMeLocal*
  • Topix*
  • ZipLocal*
  • CitySquares*
  • LocalPages*
  • MojoPages*
  • Yellowise*
  • YellowMoxie*
  • Tupalo*
  • Avantar*
  • Co-Pilot*
  • Cricket
  • HopStop*
  • MetroPCS
  • Navmii*
  • Where To?*
  • 411.com*
  • Switchboard*
  • PhoneNumber.com*
  • Best of the Web*
  • Patch*

*Real-time updates

What if I have owner verified listings on some sites?

If you already have an owner verified listing on Yelp, Yahoo, or another site in the Yext network, that listing will be protected from editing and you will not be able to manage it through UBL Express or the Yext platform. However, you can still manage your owner verified listings directly at the publisher site with the login credentials you created during the verification process.

What if I am a home-based or service-oriented business and do not want my address published?

At the present time, UBL Express is only available for listings with a physical street address (no P.O. boxes). Unfortunately, not all publishing partners accept listings without a street address, and so we are unable to process listings without them. However, we are exploring ways to support other types of businesses in a future release.

What happens if I accidentally choose the wrong listing on one of the sites when identifying my business?

After signing up for UBL Express, you are asked to review listings on partner sites to make sure they match yours. When you do so, you may accidentally select the wrong listing. If this occurs, you will need to contact customer support at cs@ubl.org so that we may resolve your issue. Please be sure to include the following information:

  • The name, address, and phone number of the listing you have incorrectly matched (if you have more than one listing in your account).
  • The web address on the partner site of the listing that matches your business (or, if you are not sure which listing matches your business but know that what you selected is wrong, simply say so and we will do this for you).
Are there any data restrictions or guidelines I should be aware of for UBL Express listings?

Yes. For example, the use of toll free numbers in the primary phone field is not allowed, and P.O. boxes are not permitted. Please review the UBL Express Best Practices Guide.

Why is my content not appearing on Yelp?

Submissions and updates on Yelp do not occur in real time. Yelp has a manual review process which is out of our control. In order for your content to be displayed on Yelp, it must abide by the following additional guidelines:

  • Business description must be properly formatted and must accurately describe your business (cannot be just a list of keywords).
  • Business description (as managed within the Yext platform) cannot be longer than 1000 characters — if it is longer, we will truncate accordingly.
  • Photo captions cannot be longer than 128 characters.
  • Web addresses are not allowed in any free text fields.
  • Web addresses must be all lowercase.
  • Web addresses cannot be longer than 255 characters.
  • Text fields must be properly capitalized (all caps or all lowercase is not allowed).
  • No more than 30% of text may be capitalized.
  • No more than 10 consecutive capital letters.
  • No more than 1 exclamation mark.
  • No more than 6 asterisks (cannot be consecutive).
  • No excessive use of non-alphanumeric characters such as punctuation marks.
  • Special characters are not supported. If you enter these, they will be converted or removed. For example, characters like é in soirée are not allowed.
As a UBL agency partner, how can I manage UBL Express listings on behalf of my clients?

Management of UBL Express listings differs slightly from other UBL services. The UBL Express dashboard provided within your UBL login is an important part of the UBL Express service, and for clients to access this dashboard they must have their own individual accounts in the UBL system. You may choose to help your clients create accounts in our system so they can manage UBL Express updates themselves.

On the other hand, some clients may not be interested in using their UBL Express dashboard and would prefer an agency representative do this for them. In these cases, you may purchase the UBL Express package on behalf of your clients and manage client listings from within your UBL login.

If I make changes to listings in my UBL dashboard, are those changes passed through to the Yext platform?

Yes, changes made to UBL listings are automatically passed through to the Yext platform. Changes within the Yext platform do not automatically alter your UBL listings, however. There may be times when you only want to make changes to Yext-specific items such as banner text, coupon offers, and so on. To make those updates, click the UBL Express link in your UBL dashboard.

What types of reporting do I get with my UBL Express package?

The UBL Express package includes all of the reporting that is currently part of our Essential, Premium, and Professional packages, as well as access to the Yext PowerListings dashboard. Reporting within the Yext platform includes profile views and search results for each of your PowerListings. Just click on the Reports tab in your UBL Express dashboard to access reporting.