Ted Paff is the President of Customer Lobby, a solution to help local businesses to get, manage and publish customer reviews. Prior to founding Customer Lobby, Ted was an entraprenuer, venture capitalist and investment banker.
He has been a guest blogger here before writing the popular Responding to Negative Reviews – Your Prospects are the Real Audience. Ted probably knows more about the ecosystem of the local review space than anyone that I know, for good or bad his life depends on it.
Here are a few articles that marked notable events and/or influenced my thinking in 2010 with respect to reviews and Google Maps:
- I found this article and this article to be thoughtful commentaries on review policy.
- Although the implementation has a long way to go, Google’s support of microformats changed my view of how we and others will provide data to all of the search engines.
- The many versions of Google’s integration of local/SERP results had me rereading and recommending these articles (here and here) on local SEO.
- When we started building our company, I knew (and was repeatedly told) that creating a direct, outbound sales force was expensive and time consuming. In reading this article, it struck me that almost every company with scale that markets online services to small businesses, including Google, finds it worth the cost.
- The rise, fall and reincarnation of sock puppet accounts marked the early days of reviews spam. Testimonials treated as reviews are likely to be spammy as local businesses figure out that they can inflate their reviews count. I think Sam Decker got the title of this post right but there is a lot more to come on this topic.
- Data from “people like me” gleaned through the integration of my and others opinions, and mobile and search data could create the first real recommendation engine for local businesses. If Google (or Yelp) can figure this out, the impact on local businesses will be huge.