Microsoft launched their Bing Business Portal today (in beta) as part of an ongoing effort to compete with Google, so I decided to check it out.
Claiming your business is pretty easy. You simply type in your address and choose the business listing that matches (or if you don't have a listing already you can create a new one). They let you add all the same info that Google's Business Portal does, but also has a few addtional nicities that Google doesn't provide. It will give you the option to create a "mobile web site" that it prepopulates with the info you give it along with a few basic color schemes. It will also create a QR Code and Window Sticker, if you so Choose. Thanks Microsoft!
The verification process was also great. You have two options, you can either receive physical mail or receive a phone call and verify the pin. Last time I tried the phone method with Google, it didn't work because we have internal phone extension (which it didn't "get"). BUT Bing figured it out and it went right to the operator phone, by which I typed in the pin and was on my way. Nice!
They don't let you know what the status of your listing is, instead you have to just keep checking back:
"Processing times will vary, but you can check the status of your listing at any time by navigating to the Listings page. Please note that all business listing content is subject to review before being published."
They also don't provide a place to list services so right now it's just product-based. Lastly, you must sign in with your Windows Live account - seriously? That's annoying, but I guess Google does the same thing so no points taken off here.
The interface isn't the most intuitive and it tends to hang for a second or two in safari, to the point at which you don't know if it's submitting your info or if the button is broken (Come on guys, at least create a loading action so I know your doing something). Another less than intutive step was to actually publish your listing. There is a publish tab, but the button to publish it was no different than any other buttons and was not in an obvious location.
As of this posting, Avatar New York has not been added to the list but I'll check back to see if was successful. All in all, it took about 15 minutes to fill everything out so I'd say it's worth it. And best of all, it's of course free so why not give it a shot.