Google Groups Upsell to Adwords

The following snippet from the Google Maps For Business Owners Group highlights one of the intrinsic conflicts of interest that Google confronts in all of its properties. While they are unwilling, particularly in Google Maps, to provide any guidance on best practices lest they give away their secret sauce, they do want you as an advertiser.

While the advice given by Maps Guide Summer is basically sound, it would best be presented if the Guides in the Group were able to be more forthcoming about bugs, best practices and necessary techniques to best utilize the Maps environment. As it is now, they seem unable to provide meaningful answers on a range of very troubling issues.

TOPIC: How do I get my business in the local results – on page 1 like the
results below?

=====================================================

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Tues, Feb 12 2008 1:49 pm
From: “maps-guide6@google.com”

Hi Jeff,

The local business results that you see are all chosen by an algorithm
that takes many factors into consideration. There currently isn’t a
way to assure that any particular listing will show on the first page
of the Google Maps search results or on Google.com. It’s likely that
these listings will shift over time, so periodically take a look for
any changes.

Some businesses have gained a bit more visibility by applying to be
part of the Sponsored link program. To learn more about that, please
visit:

http://maps.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=10783

Cheers,
Maps Guide Summer

On Feb 7, 8:55 pm, Jeff wrote:
> Can anyone help? I am trying to show up like the businesses below on
> page 1.
> When I type in: Norcross Carpet Cleaning.
>
> Thanks,
> Jeff
> —-

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Groups Upsell to Adwords by

5 thoughts on “Google Groups Upsell to Adwords”

  1. In defence of Google, and playing devil’s advocate,

    Perhaps Google are unable to provide details; as in technically unable, in that the ranking is not totally understood even to themselves.

    I’ve built indexing systems that I don’t understand, partly from using ‘black boxes’ to do parts, but also certain optimizations that just feel right that cant be adequately explained. I can guarantee that Googles Algorithms are more complex, use a bigger dataset and have more inter-relations, and as such nobody can really understand how it does actually fit together. Its true with time these ideas form and become better understood.

    I also think that Google attempt to make it ‘just work’, so that they dont want to specify practices due to not wanting to cause people to do anything special and/or change what they have. (this is also related to spam, if you do specify do it, the spammers can use the same understanding, negating the whole effort – this is slightly more specialised than ‘trade secrets’ which are of course also protected)

    As a final point, I also know that as soon as you explain or document something, it becomes much harder to adopt, tweak and change it. I have neglected to explain things precisely because I need to quickly change and adapt.

  2. Good points and I agree with you in general and would agree that they have no obligation to provide ranking info but then they go and do something like this where they break their own rules in a way that clearly compromises data integrity and encourages spamming at a whole new level.

    All the while they have broken parts that they haven’t fixed for a long time and don’t acknowledge. Thus creating incredible frustration and making work for the stakeholders that also compromises data integrity.

    While I agree that they should and probably can not provide ranking info, the conflict of interest is very real. If you can’t even get in the category you want because Google’s category rules are obtuse or not yet fleshed out or are possibly broken, is the only answer to buy an ad? The service is free and the rules should be fair and understandable. The alternative to that is not saying “become an advertiser” (although in this particular case it is very good advice). The alternate is fixing the thing, providing guidance on best practices, minimizing spam and then saying “oh and if you want you can also advertise with us”.

    Keeping everyone in the dark may have legitimate reasons but in the end, I almost always find that transparency is the best policy in life, computing and politics.

    Mike

  3. In regards to:

    “Some businesses have gained a bit more visibility by applying to be
    part of the Sponsored link program.”

    Wow… that statement does sound deceptive. I would certainly give Summer the benefit out of the doubt as to intention. But I think… wow!

  4. Hi Tim

    I think it was offered with the best of intentions and in this situation it is good advice.

    To me, more than anything it points up the conflict that google has between its free and paid properities. From a small business person’s perspective they are one and the same.

    Having a Google Maps that is voodoo and smoke and mirrors on the one hand and a paid alternative that is basically bug free is not very comforting…. and really should never be the choice.

    Google needs to make Maps as good as it can be, as transparent, as functional. They need to provide guidance on best practices and not make folks like yourself spend weeks on end trying things out to see what works. Then only then should they suggest: You might want to try a paid ad as well.

    Mike

    Mike

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