Knock, Knock, It’s Google

Filed in Google, Local Search by Matt McGee on August 6, 2007 6 Comments

I’m not feeling too hot tonight, but I want to get this on SBS as its own post rather than waiting until Friday and putting it in the Link-o-rama — this should be documented as part of Google’s very aggressive approach toward developing Maps/Local and pushing it to small businesses, which I’ve discussed here, here, and here.

The news today, reported by gSpy, is that Google is creating a team of foot soldiers to visit local/small businesses with these goals:

  • Collect information about the business to be used in Google Maps
  • Take digital photos of the business to be uploaded to Google Maps
  • Sell … err, Educate the business on Google Maps and Google AdWords

Here’s the Google FAQ about the new program, which it’s calling Google Local Business Referrals.

Greg Sterling and Perry Evans have some thoughts/analysis on it. Here’s mine: No chance this succeeds in any measurable way. I’ll file this in the same folder as the “click-to-call” idea, which I didn’t believe would work, and didn’t.

Comments (6)

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  1. Miriam says:

    Google getting scarier by the day aside, is it legal to offer to pay someone $2 for what, assumedly, will take some time to do, even for a single business? I mean, driving to a shop, going in, trying to get someone to talk to you who has the authority to let you take photos.

    Then, taking the photos, collecting the data, and giving the spiel about adwords and G maps. Then, driving back home and submitting the data? And only being paid the other $8 if the business follows through?

    If this is solely a U.S. program, don’t we have some kinda minimum wage laws to protect against this?

    Good find, Matt.

  2. earlpearl says:

    Frankly I find it fascinating that Google is working so hard and in such an extensive way to add to its inventory of local businesses that will be revealed in G Maps. There must be method to that madness.

    I think in the long run, a comprehensive G maps with a onebox insert with good data…that shows up all the time in an organic search or if people start the search w/maps…will ultimately be the big vaccuum that sucks up lots of local advertising dollars that used to go to YP and classified and is now spread about in IYP, directories, verticals, PPC, etc.

    The onebox dominates the critical real estate on a google page. G tested wide spread visibility of the onebox a few months ago. They wouldn’t be putting time and money into this if expanded onebox visibility didn’t drive lots of traffic out of organic serps results and into onebox maps results.

  3. Matt McGee says:

    I agree with you, Miriam, about the ridiculous amount of money being offered. I just wrote another post with more of my thoughts on why this experiment is doomed to fail.

    earlpearl – you’re right that it is fascinating. I give them all the credit for being so aggressive and trying things like this.

  4. SanDiegoMarketingGENIUS says:

    Okay – so Im not a GENIUS…But I will tell you that I’m not a huge fan of the Google Maps program. I’m from Denver, Colorado where you can take a tour of your neighborhood. Cool – but scary how much information is available on the net. Now with this new program I’m not sure what to think:| I hope they delay on expanding this idea in Cali for awhile so I can see it at work.

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