Google Feet on the Street?

The image “http://www.google.com/images/google_sm.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Is Google building a local sales force? Yes and no.

gSpy spotted the solicitation for “local business referral representative.” Google is apparently seeking to build local “feet on the street” (independent contractors) to collect information and images for its database and to raise the local profile of Maps and AdWords. It doesn’t appear to be soliciting skilled salespeople, but this channel will clearly be used to disseminate information about advertising on Google as well as collect the desired local metadata:

As a Google Business Referral Representative, you’ll visit local businesses to collect information (such as hours of operation, types of payment accepted, etc.) for Google Maps, and tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords. You’ll also take a few digital photos of the business that will appear on the Google Maps listing along with the business information. After the visit, you submit the business’ info and photo(s) to Google through your Local Business Referrals Center, and we’ll pay you up to $10 for each listing that is approved by Google and verified by the business.

(my emphasis)

I heard about this as a rumor some time ago. Yellow pages need not worry about sales competition but this is a bold step for Google to take, both to get more information into its local database and to raise awareness of AdWords among local businesses. (Of course people need to respond to the call.) Yet unless there’s radical simplification (“just tell us how much you want to spend monthly and we’ll do the rest”) there’s still the issue of the learning curve and complexity of self provisioning for local businesses.

But this is one more piece in a diversified Google strategy to reach the local market.

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8 Responses to “Google Feet on the Street?”

  1. earlpearl Says:

    Once G maps is a comprehensive and significantly more accurate repository of information I suspect it will show virtually all the time for local queries within Google serps.

    It takes up such valuable page real estate. It would be so easy to ultimately directly monetize it…charging for inclusion. Moreover, everytime it shows within an organic search it pushes down the relevance of organic serps and any directories, IYP’s, verticals, etc. As long as people do search, and google is the major search engine….it is a potential killer application.

  2. evans ink » Blog Archive » feat on the street Says:

    [...] picked up on and explained well by Greg Sterling, Google is building out yet another dimension of it’s local content gathering juggernaut with [...]

  3. Knock, Knock, It’s Google » Small Business SEM Says:

    [...] Greg Sterling and Perry Evans have some good thoughts/analysis on it. Go ahead, tell others about this… These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  4. Google Hiring Local Contractors » Small Business Trends Says:

    [...] one commentator points out, while this is not a professional sales force and may not be an immediate threat to [...]

  5. Two Words about the Google Local Business Referral - Content & Awareness » eWhisper.net Says:

    [...] Google Local Business Referral program has been commented about heavily in the last 24 [...]

  6. Google Local Business Referral Program « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Business Referral Program Tony Wright at ClickZ writes generally about Google’s new Local Business Referral Program — its new feet-on-the-street, pseudo sales force. He characterizes it as a “land [...]

  7. Google’s Feet On The Street « Your Suspect Says:

    [...] Greg Sterling takes a practical approach: Yet unless there’s radical simplification (”just tell us how much you want to spend monthly and we’ll do the rest”) there’s still the issue of the learning curve and complexity of self provisioning for local businesses. [...]

  8. Two Words about the Google Local Business Referral – Content & Awareness | Certified Knowledge Says:

    [...] Google Local Business Referral program has been commented about heavily in the last 24 [...]

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