Google Rolls Out Business Provider Plan to Replace Trusted Verifier Program

Google has begun rolling out their Business Provider program to replace the Trusted Verifier Program that was recently terminated. 

The Business Provider program is designed to let organizations like Chambers of Commerce or banks with small business clients facilitate a Google My Business Verification for their members or clients. 

Groups or organizations share business data with Google to generate verification codes on behalf of businesses. My Business Providers distribute these codes to the businesses, who then use the codes to quickly verify their listing on Google My Business. The code generated for a business is usable by that particular business only. 

The interface is web based and is super simple, allowing either a bulk upload or a single business to receive a “token” that can be used for verification. There is API access to code generation as well. 

Participants in the program may not show any badge or graphic on their website but they may, in speaking with potential businesses, say that they “partner with Google to help small businesses build a successful online campaign on Google Search and Maps”.

Google allows and encourages partners to actively reach out to their members/clients with the activation codes even if the member has expressed no previous interest in the program.  

While the program can be utilized by Streetview Trusted Photographers (with at least Level 6 Local Guide recognition), it is not available to any agency that actively manages listings or to any SEO. 

Google notes that “various providers, such as banks, auto-dealers, delivery and distribution companies, telephone companies, tourism and governmental organizations, malls, airports, etc. that offer real-world services are eligible to apply for the My Business Provider program”.

In the FAQ they specifically state:

  • The proposed partner must not have access to the business listings they are verifying.
  • Agencies, SEOs, and resellers are not eligible for this program. 

It was long thought that the Trusted Verifier Program was an on-going source of Local Listing Spam. It is not clear what if any additional protections Google put in place to prevent this program from becoming the same. 

What could possibly go wrong?

 

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22 thoughts on “Google Rolls Out Business Provider Plan to Replace Trusted Verifier Program”

  1. I can tell all you guys, this is already
    a) turning into a blunder
    b) going to end back up where it mostly started (Selected Google Trusted Photographers)
    c) not all that important other than it being a way to for Google to get others to do their work for them

    As a trusted photographer and having worked closely with people who were trusted verifiers, the strange thing about this is that they seem to think that digital agencies are ‘bad’ and untrustworthy.

    What you’re not seeing here is that the Street View Photographer program was and still is the best source of people to do this work. We actually have to go, and see, and collect visual data to prove the existence and authenticity of a business.

    It’s actually something I already do (should be pretty obvious).

    My recommendation moving forward is for Local SEO agencies to partner with trusted photographers. You’ll get around the silly Google rules, get great content and have better quality control (i.e. if their photography is not so good, you’ll figure that out pretty quickly).

    Hope this helps.

    1. Great idea to become a Google Trusted Photographer. My son is just starting out in photography and videography and this looks like a good way to earn and learn. Thank you.

      1. Boyd, I’d caution to wait a bit though. Google is revamping this program. It may very well be difficult to join soon because of all the problems caused from both Google’s systems and poor content contribution.

        My recommendation would be to recommend your son works with a well respected Trusted Photographer in your area first and help develop it as an agency service. Depending on where you are, this may be ‘safer’ and less likely to end up in tears.

    2. Marc
      It is true that StreetView Photographers are on the street and that is synergistic.

      And it’s good that Google is recognizing that the good ones have value.

      But some SV photographers are not so good and far and away the ones that are good will be the minority in this mix if Google’s help docs are accurate.

    3. Hey Marc! Local SEO here for a small & honest boutique Chicago agency here and really like the sound of this. How would you go about finding and setting up a meeting with a quality Street View photographer about potentially partnering on a few things?

      Thanks again!!

  2. It could actually be for manufacturers to send codes to dealerships who sell their brand. Since the business generating the code isn’t supposed to have access to the listing being created, that’s the only explanation I’m coming up with. An AutoNation central marketing team, for example, would probably have access to all of the AutoNation dealership pages.

    Dealerships are usually far behind in tech trends, and the manufacturers try push them along because they need the dealerships to be better than dealerships for other brands in order for the manufacturer to succeed.

  3. “Participants in the program … may, in speaking with potential businesses, [say] that they ‘partner with Google to help small businesses build a successful online campaign on Google Search and Maps.’ ”

    Yeah, the one-liner of organizations telling SMB’s that they work directly with Google has a great reputation historically. Best of luck to Providers who encounter SMB’s who have heard that pitch before from scammers…

  4. I was told via my partnership at Google that the GBPP has been identified as a tool ONLY to be used by NonProfits entities. (ie. Chamber of Commerce.)

    1. Update, as a Trusted Street View photographer we are told that if we weren’t automatically transitioned over to the new program then we would have to wait for the program application to open up sometime this year and they don’t have any new info as to when it will. It seems there’s more photographers that weren’t transitioned than there are of those who were, so we are waiting.

      1. I am curious if you think not being rolled into the program was either a volume or region issue? Ie the volume of street views was not high enough or perhaps you are in a region that is of less interest to Google.

        1. Actually, I know one person that was rolled in so it’s unlikely (can’t prove that of course) that it be based on regions.
          What most of you are not aware of also is the massive mess the Street View Program is in right now because of an AI fault that has been going on for several months at Google.

          They’ve been deeming photos that are completely fine as inappropriate via an ill-functioning AI system and messing up thousands of virtual tours by deleting images. There are even a number of photographers who claim they’re in court cases with clients who want refunds for tours that don’t work.
          So you can imagine, Google is alienating a heap of really good 360 shooters by ‘Fixing’ the problem of bad images.

          Mike, you’ve said it before, but Google has a reputation of acting like a bunch of bad kids.

          I’m being extremely cautious about publishing more tours until this is settled. When you’re doing work for the likes of IHG, don’t want to mess that relationship up.

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