Google LBC: Support to Be Available to Local Listing Ad Customers

Last night while at Marty Weintraub’s AimClear SMX East SchmoozFest, I was fortunate to meet Frederick Vallaeys of Google. He is the forthright (he gave me a business card!), communicative product evangelist for Adwords. He was on his way out the door but took the time to answer some of my questions about the newly announced Local Listing Ad product.

According to Frederick, email support will definitely be an integral part of the Local Listing Ad product. Supprt will take the form of an automated first response to the initial query with human escalation if the answer provided is not satisfactory. He noted that discussions were on-going and that all other support options, including the possibility of fee based phone support, were on the table but no final decision had been reached. He noted that he felt strongly that “people should be able to get their questions answered”.

Even though brief, the conversation was far ranging and touched on my of my questions about the new product:
-What will the prices be for a given market and category?
-Will the pricing be transparent to all, across all markets?
-How long will the price remain fixed and when it does change what will the procedure be?
-Will the price have a relationship to the adwords pricing and will that relationship be transparent?
-How will placement be determined in competitive markets?
-Will categorization be limited to the existing categories or will it allow for long tail catogorizaton?

Much of the conversation was off the record but it is clear that the process and procedures for this product are still very much a work in progress.

Support (or rather lack there of) for Local Bussiness Center users has long been an issue with Google with many serious problems going unanswered and unattended. Early this year, in a far ranging discussion about Why the Google Local Business Center Fails, Matt Cutts responded that:

Here’s my personal take on the “paid support” suggestion. Historically Google has been averse to offering paid support for free products. I think it’s because we don’t want to evoke the idea that Google has a conflict of interest. For example, if we offered paid support for (say) websearch, lots of conspiracy theorists would accuse Google of making search worse in order to make money off of people paying for support.

The new Local Listing Ads is an exciting product that will appeal to many SMB’s. It offers simplicity and a fair bit of transparency and can act as an effective first step for many local businesses in the world of on-line advertising. It could, by providing support for both Ad related AND other technical problems, improve the image of the Local Business Center in the marketplace.

I can envision those with solvable by Google only type problems signing up so as to just get their listing issues resolved. A 30 Day Free Trial could easily turn into 30 days of free support with an ad thrown in.

That being said, I am looking forward to Google working out the kinks on the way to this new product. It seems ideally suited to the needs of many businesses who are just now beginning to look to the Internet for an solution to replace the declining value of the print Yellow Pages and news papers.

Frederick will be speaking at Q&A session at SMX East this afternoon. I would encourage all of the Local world to come and get the answers to the many questions that you have had. Well, OK, to at least ask the questions. :)

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google LBC: Support to Be Available to Local Listing Ad Customers by

16 thoughts on “Google LBC: Support to Be Available to Local Listing Ad Customers”

  1. Google still lacks a lot of support on its Adwords program. I’ve seen under reviewed ads go on for months with no response. They may be unpleasantly surprised to also find small business owners need more hand holding than the Adwords customers.

  2. Hi Jeff

    I don’t have much experience with Adwords support but I don’t doubt that at the bottom of the heap for low volume advertisers the support is not very good.

    That being said compared to NO SUPPORT even limited email support is something.

  3. Hi Mike…that’s pretty good news….now if only G could attempt to solve the “missing stats” problems that all of us non-US site owners face….

    :-)

    Jim

  4. At least that discussion is on the table, with hopes of implementation.
    Can’t wait for it to be available in Canada!

  5. @Jim google, when asked about when they will be rolling out the dashboard in Canada, noted that they can’t discuss unannounced product. I think that you will not have stats until that time.

    @Martha charging even a nominal amount for a product definitely changes the dynamics. My sense is that google really wants people to search before asking. My sense is that of they hope to survive the “SMB” challenge then I firmly believe that the need multiple support options.

  6. @Jim

    this just in from Martijn

    RT @martijnbeijk: Google Local Business Center dashboard now (finally) available for European countries!

    Are you seeing in Canada?

  7. @MikeB

    intresting change of events for google local in the past 24 hours..your thoughts oh prophet of the google gods

  8. At least that discussion is on the table, with hopes of implementation.
    Can’t wait for it to be available in Canada!

  9. This is an interesting – welcome upgrade.

    I’m currently trying to play around in the LBC to see if I can get the tab to show up… but alas not yet.
    So perhaps I need to have a listing already in the regions offered and then try to do the Ad.

    We live in interesting Google times.

  10. Agree, that this is an exciting product that will appeal to many SMB’s in it’s simplicity.

    However this has to be promoted and sold, as any other flat-fee-product in the YP/directory-world. G’s self-service-offers do not help here. And wether sales agencies/YPs/publisher may help remains t be seen. After all, this is the market Gs after.

    @ Mike: Did you or anyone else cover Frederick speaking on this at the Q&A session at SMX East? Any info whether G want’s to roll out to Europe?

  11. @Frank
    I don’t know. I was heading that way and got stuck in traffic after buying 3 dozen bialys at Kossars and didn’t make it.

  12. I’ve heard that you have to spend 10k a month on Google Adwords in order to even get a dedicated rep, let alone any type of support. That really leaves SMBs out of the market.

    I also overheard a conversation at dinner the other night about how a large business was paying Google 35k a month for top positioning as a local listing in Google maps. I didn’t realize this was even a service you could buy. When I hear someone talking about “Google” and “Support” in the same sentence, I always take it with a grain of salt. Seems like Google really only supports the big spenders. . .

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