What’s Next for Google Places? Reputation Management And…

…putting local SEOs out of business.  But that really only concerns us and companies like mine, so I assume that’s boring to read for you, so we’ll skip it.  Besides, that’s not really news.  We’ve seen this coming for awhile and they even made their AdWords login page more enticing for end-users just a few days ago.  But here’s what is.

Audrey – at least it’s her email address – on the Google Places Team has started sending out surveys to businesses who have Places Pages verified.  Maybe we should add a direct contact with the big G as another benefit of verifying Google Places Pages.  It’s pretty insightful into what Google’s thinking in their long-term plans for local, so here it is in its entirety along with some select comments.  Pretty fascinating.

Note: I’m adding numbers to questions and the formatting is goofing a little, but you’ll get the gist.  I’m feeling too lazy to do screenshots.

Google Places Pages Survey

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in Google user research.

We will only use your personal information for the purpose of Google user research and will not share it with anyone else. For details on how Google treats your personal information, please read our Privacy Policy.

    1. Which best describes your role(s) in the business(es) you have listed on Google Places (formerly known as the the Local Business Center)?

Select all that apply.

Business owner of the listed business(es)
Not the business owner, but work at the listed business(es) (e.g., marketing manager, IT department)
Third party web or online marketing agency
Third party SEO (search enginer optimizer)
Friend or family member

JSFind it ironic that Google misspells search engine optimizer here.

    1. Which best describes the business you have a listing for on Google Places?

Select all that apply.

Customers come to my store or business (e.g. clothing store)
I go to my customer’s location (e.g. plumber)
I partner with another business to provide services at their location. (e.g. personal trainer at a gym)
Customers purchase my products online

 

    1. Approximately how many locations does your business have?
    1. How many employees does your business have?
    1. Do you currently use Google AdWords?
I use Google AdWords.
I have previously used Google AdWords, but do not currently.
I do not use Google AdWords.
    1. What do you know about Google Tags?
I have never heard of Google Tags.
I have heard of Google Tags, but do not know what it is.
I know what Google Tags is, but have never used it.
I know what Google Tags is, and currently use it.
I know what Google Tags is, and have previously used it, but do not currently use it.
    1. Have you ever seen information about your business, online, that was incorrect?
No, never.
Yes, a few times.
Yes, many times.
    1. Of the following features, please choose up to three that you would find useful in managing your business information online.

Please select up to three items.

An advertisement that appears along with your business’ basic information, where it appears on other sites.
Guaranteed updates on the three sites important to your business, that you mentioned earlier.
Guaranteed updates on 10 new sites that you might not be aware of.
Have my basic business information distributed and updated across a range of sites.
Automatic notifications when people post anything about my business online, such as photos, reviews, or discussions.
Notification of when different sites are successfully updated with my information.
The ability to respond to various online sites’ reviews, from one place.
An aggregated view of customer discussions of my business on social media sites.
Other
None of these would be useful to my business.

JSAlright, this is where it gets interesting. Look at the list here. Not the first one so much as that’s a way to set up future revenue streams (you’ll see more on this in a bit). But then look at the next several. This indicates a partnership with other sites. Are these sites that Google would own by creating or, more likely, purchasing? Or they would form partnerships with? Then look at the sixth one. Google Alerts on steroids: automatic notifications. Would this just be on the partnered sites, or is it wherever it happens? This could be awesome or awful news for online / social media monitoring tools. If I’m Andy Beal, for example, I’m beefing up trackur with as many new features as I can think of NOW. Ultimately, the purpose of all these is to make Google the central hub for businesses in this ever-increasing online turf war among the major players.

    1. Please indicate which of the following online review and rating, social networking, or phonebook listing sites you use to promote your business:
Review and Rating Sites
Insider Pages
Yelp!
Citysearch
TripAdvisor
Other review sites, please specify:
Social networking sites
MySpace
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter
Foursquare
Other social networking sites, please specify:
Phone book listing & directory sites
Bing local listing
Yellowpages
Yahoo! Local listing
Other online directories, please specify:

JSWell played, G. Getting the goods on competitors, partners, and potential partners all in one space. I’m not sure if I’d be more worried to be listed under the “Review and Rating Site” section or to not be listed there.

    1. Please indicate which of the following online review and rating, social networking, or phonebook listing sites you pay to advertise your business on:
Review and Rating Sites
Insider Pages
Yelp!
Citysearch
TripAdvisor
Other review sites, please specify:
Social networking sites
MySpace
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter
Foursquare
Other social networking sites, please specify:
Phone book listing & directory sites
Bing local listing
Yellowpages
Yahoo! Local listing
Other online directories, please specify:
    1. How frequently have you tried to update or correct your business’ information on any of those sites in the past year?
I have never updated my business’ information on other sites.
I have updated my business’ information before, but not in the past year.
I updated information once in the past year.
I updated information a few times over the year.
I updated information a few times each month.
I updated information a few times each week.
I updated information a few times a day.

Please tell us more about how you update your business’ information online.

    1. Why did you update your business’ information?

Please check all that apply.

My business moved.
I changed my phone number.
I changed or updated my website.
I changed my email address.
I posted news about my business.
I posted about a sale or discount.
I wanted to start a discussion with my customers.
I posted about an event.
Other, please specify:
I did not update my business’ information.
    1. Where did you update that information?

Please check all that apply.

On my website.
On a few, select websites (social media, directory, or review sites)
On many websites (social media, directory, or review sites)
Other, please specify:

Please review the features of package A below, and let us know your level of interest.

Package A: $25 per year.

* Have my basic business information distributed and updated across a range of sites.
* An advertisement that appears along with your business’ basic information, on other sites.

JSAnd here’s the monetization. Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s only $25. Easy sell. Maybe one they could even do through their regular methods and not need to provide much customer service for. Would be a ton of headaches, though. If they don’t do any customer service, Google’s own reputation will start taking even more of a hit than it has recently as they get tons of cranky people who don’t net them much money moaning and needing a lot of hand holding.

    1. Would this package be useful to your business?
Yes, it would be useful.
Maybe, but it is missing a key feature:
No, it does not seem useful to my business.
I do not know if this would be useful for my business.
    1. How would you feel about actually buying the package for $25 a year?
I would definitely buy this package.
I would most likely buy this package.
I might consider buying this package.
I most likely would not buy this package.
I would definitely not buy this package.
    1. If you had the option to add one feature to that package for an additional $25/year, which of the following would you pick?
Guaranteed updates on 10 new sites that you might not be aware of.
An aggregated view of customer discussions of my business on social media sites.
Notification of when different sites are successfully updated with my information.
The ability to respond to various online sites’ reviews, from one place.
Guaranteed updates on the three sites important to your business, that you mentioned earlier.
Automatic notifications when people post anything about my business online, such as photos, reviews, or discussions.
I would not want any of these features.

JSHere’s the good stuff. “anything about my business online”? For an additional $25 per year. Who doesn’t sign up for that? There’s still a market for making sense of the data, which is good news for our friends at NetBase – but that’s going to put a mighty scare through a lot of different companies out there. I wouldn’t think it would cause any stirs here, but perhaps in Europe where Google’s facing more serious antitrust challenges? Probably not because it wouldn’t be major companies, but I wouldn’t think it would make their attorneys’ lives easier.

Please review the features of package B below, and let us know your level of interest.

Package B: $50 per year.

* Have my basic business information distributed and updated across a range of sites.
* An advertisement that appears along with your business’ basic information, where it appears on other sites.
* Get notifications when people post anything about my business online, such as photos, reviews, or discussions.

JSThis is really the same thing as above, bundling Package A with the most useful add-on for the same price.

    1. Would this package be useful to your business?
Yes, it would be useful.
Maybe, but it is missing a key feature:
No, it does not seem useful to my business.
I do not know if this would be useful for my business.
    1. How would you feel about actually buying the package for $50 a year?
I would definitely buy this package.
I would most likely buy this package.
I might consider buying this package.
I most likely would not buy this package.
I would definitely not buy this package.
    1. If you had the option to add one feature to that package for an additional $25/year, which of the following would you pick?
The ability to respond to various online sites’ reviews, from one place.
Automatic notifications when people post anything about my business online, such as photos, reviews, or discussions.
An aggregated view of customer discussions of my business on social media sites.
Notification of when different sites are successfully updated with my information.
Guaranteed updates on 10 new sites that you might not be aware of.
Guaranteed updates on the three sites important to your business, that you mentioned earlier.
I would not want any of these features.

Thank you very much for helping us improve Google products!

    1. May Google contact you regarding your feedback, or for future user research opportunities?

You must be at least 18 years old to participate in Google user research.
We will only use your personal information for purposes of Google user research and will not share it with anyone else.
For details on how Google treats your personal information, please read our Privacy Policy.

No, thanks
Yes, you may contact me at this email:

So What Do You Think?

If you’re an SEO – how do you think this will affect you?  If you’re not, are these products you’d be interested in?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Justin Seibert

About The Author

Justin Seibert is the President of Direct Online Marketing. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt University. He contributes a wide range of online business-oriented topics, including the subject of exporting. His contributions can be found on publications such as the Pittsburgh Business Times, Advertising Age, SES Magazine, and La Voz del interior. Justin and his family enjoy learning about new cultures during their travels.

View Justin's full bio.
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