Yext makes its website search product, Yext Answers, available to a wider audience today with the launch of a new program it calls Hitchhikers.
The company launched Yext Answers in October 2019 with the goal of making a brand's website – rather than what is displayed through Google search – the authoritative source of information for that brand. Earlier this year, Yext also launched a 90-day free trial, which CEO Howard Lerman says will help more partners provide coronavirus-related answers.
However, Lerman told me this week that Yext Answers was still constrained by a setup process that required a Yext representative to "understand our own software and create your knowledge graph," which meant the company had to turn away many prospects. This is no longer the case with Tramper.
Marc Ferrentino, chief strategy officer, said the program is designed for digital marketers, SEO specialists and IT professionals. The aim is to provide everything that is needed to create their own website search experience – including starter knowledge diagrams that are tailored to specific industries and that customers can fill with their own content.
Like Yext Answers, Hitchhikers is available via a 90-day free trial. And if you're wondering about the name, Lerman said it was referring to Douglas Adams' classic novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," specifically the idea of the ultimate question. Hitchhikers are designed to help companies answer their own ultimate questions.
One of the recurring themes in my recent conversations with Lerman was the importance of brands and companies as a source of knowledge and relevant information. He emphasized this again when he talked about hitchhikers. For example, he referred to a Google search on what qualifies as essential travel – the top result was an article by a popular travel blogger rather than the official US State Department definition (a Yext Answers customer).
"The ultimate authority on how to claim your gift card on Krispy Kreme is Krispy Kreme," said Lerman. "The ultimate authority on an internet outage in a given area is Cox … In this terrible year of misinformation and disinformation, getting that information to the user is even more important."