Update 12/11/08: Cathy has pointed out, and I believe correctly, that this survey is NOT from Google.
If you were the “Lord Ruler of Google” what would you do to improve the local search results? In the Google Maps for Business Owners, Someone Google (NOT…this is my error …) has invited users for feedback on their Local business listing efforts. The survey, which is very short, is available here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=00w8nd9ZZr2HXyWmnsR_2fkA_3d_3d.
The survey had some interesting questions pertaining to the importance of business listing accuracy and spam. There were several questions that stood out (notice in the last one the question about paying for local):
4. What are you currently doing to help improve the Google Local search queries?
5. Is what you are currently doing to improve search results working?
6. If you were the “Lord Ruler of Google” what would you do to improve the local search results?
7. If there were a service available that implemented your solution would you be willing to pay for such service?
I am not sure that businesses that don’t know what they don’t know will have much success with the poorly worded question 4.
It is of interest to me that Google is asking about willingness to pay. In the end analysis, accurate, reliable Local results benefits the small businesses of the world. A sustainable, equitable ecosystem that is spam free will only be achievable with a reliable source of income. If advertising income is perceived to be a different pool of money and not available to support Local, than charging for accurate, monitored, supported results is the only answer.