Category Archives: Google+ Local

Reviews, Politics and Big Earl’s

OK Big Earl and his staff are cretins. That can be agreed.

They have managed, by virtue of being outspoken, bigoted and unthinking, to have put themselves in the middle of a media maelstrom and a subsequent flame war in the world of reviews.

The story, first reported by KLTV on May 27th, noted that a gay couple had fallen prey to the posted anti gay policy of the restaurant:

That waitress who used a derogatory term is Earl’s daughter.

“She’s a young lady, didn’t know what else to say, and they just kept on and she finally said we just don’t like fags,” he[r father] explained.

The story went viral, hitting most online news services earlier this month. While the reporting has died down, the review war seems to be just starting up. And yesterday it was reported that Yelp had publicly declared that these types of reviews were going to be taken down.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 4.12.39 PMI was curious to see how much activity there was on the review sites about this and given Yelp’s response, to get a sense of whether the other sites themselves had responded to the issue in any way.

I looked at how many old reviews existed before the incident and how many new reviews were placed after the incident and whether they were supportive or not of Big Earl.

Total Visible 5 star New 1 Star New Removed Old Reviews
Superpages 11 8 3 0
Google 6/4 102 19 82 1
Google 6/6 3 0 3 99 0
Tripadvisor 10 0 9 1
YP.com 11 0 7 2
Yelp 3 0 2 930 1
Facebook 193 60 133 0

 

The stats are interesting and say a lot about the review world that we currently live in. People obviously have no qualms about expressing their opinions about a political issue via reviews.  And as you can see on their Facebook page, have no qualms calling each other names in a public forum.

Clearly due to Yelp’s demographics, they are first place where a protest review of this sort might go and it’s apparently on the order of 5X more likely a spot than Facebook and 10X more likely than Google. Tripadvisor, YP.com and Superpages are also rans in this race.

Also it is interesting that of the 930 reviews removed by Yelp I only saw one favoring Big Earl (to be honest I got tired of looking after checking several hundreds of them).  This would jive with my research indicating that Yelpers are younger and more urban and obviously in strong support of gay rights.

Facebook, while not having anywhere near the volume of reviews of Yelp, certainly had many more review comments and of the three sites they had the most supporters on a % basis of Big Earl. It is also intriguing that there were more reviews there than at Google. It could very well be that when no one was looking Facebook has built out a decent sized review corpus. Uncurated for sure and perhaps less than stellar quality but big none the less.  ( Note: I am unable to load the page this am so perhaps it has been taken down?)

Google users seem to skew closer to Yelp than Facebook in political view. Although because of the lack of transparency of their filter we don’t really know if any reviews have yet been pulled downs.

Update 6/6 1:45 PM: Dave spotted the fact that Google has removed most of the reviews as of noon today. Interesting that they left 3 new reviews and removed the one review from a year ago. The 3 reviews they left are all somewhat suspect.

It would appear, although it isn’t certain in Google’s case, that most of the review sites have not removed these reviews.

It certainly raises some interesting questions:

Should review sites be used as a political forum?

Should these obviously political reviews be left to stand regardless of the fact that they never visited the business?

Does it make sense, as a political act, to use reviews as a forum?

What should the review sites do in response to a situations like this?

I certainly have my own opinions on these issues but I would love to hear yours. So before you read on, take  a moment and think about what you think makes sense in the review world for readers, for the sites themselves and for any political/social movement that might think about using reviews in this way…..

Continue reading Reviews, Politics and Big Earl’s

New Google Direct Answer Type: YouTube Video?

Brian Alaway of Brian Alaway Consulting has spotted what appears to be a new YouTube Video Knowledge Graph direct answer type inserted at the top of the serps.

Google has been rapidly adding these direct answer knowledge graph results to top of the search results over the past few months. They have added Menus,  Geometry Answers, Nutrition and sports answers  amongst others within the past few months. These are on top of the previously added Map inserts, air travel and other inserts added over the past few years. This could add additional fuel to the Google anti-trust case in Europe if it roles out more widely.

An interesting side note noted by Brian is that Google’s code identifies the result as a knowledge graph result: div class=”_iL kno-fb-ctx knowledge-embedded_video_result__/* 

To see the results search on: florida sex crime lawyer

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 10.39.22 AM

Video inserts appear to be new at least to me. Have you seen these elsewhere?

How Many Businesses Have Verified G+ Pages for Local?

While at SIINDA conference, Google was an obvious point of reference and conversation both in the formal sessions and the informal discussions afterwords.

One number that was bandied about was the total number of currently verified local business listings worldwide. While I have no way to independently verify the number of 20 million verified listings,  as Google has not confirmed it, the number noted seemed credible and reasonable. Roughly 20% of all of the world’s businesses as of last November.

Google has chosen to not publicly share this number since December of 2011 when the number of claimed listings was 8 million. 
number-verified-w-labels-est

 

How does this compare to Facebook? Continue reading How Many Businesses Have Verified G+ Pages for Local?

Some Thoughts on the YP industry & Google in Europe

I am just returning from the SIINDA conference in Budapest. SIINDA is the newly formed association born out of the combined efforts of the EASDP, the European Association of Search and Database Publishers (YPs), and EIDQ, the Association for the Directory Information. Most of the attendees at the conference were Yellow page companies that were in various states of conversion from print to digital. Many were fairly far along and appeared to be succeding with the transition. It was an incredible personal AND work learning experience.

One of the speakers was Karen McGrane, who if you haven’t followed you should. She has really thought through the idea of systems to allow content to be re-purposed and right purposed. A critical question for any pre-digital organization that is sitting on a ton of great content as well as new media companies.

Budapest and Hungary are amazing places. Budapest has incredible architecture and cultural assets. Their public transportation made moving around the city a breeze. As far as local tools there, Yelp was a non starter in terms of usefulness and Google’s leading position in all aspects of local were obvious – tourist information, mapping, navigation, listings and reviews. Apple Maps, due to their weak set of POIs, was a non starter as well. I tried it on my first day to take my wife to a nearby restaurant/poi for her birthday dinner and realized that it just wasn’t going to cut it.

Interestingly Apple had three people in attendance (but not speaking) at the conference including one from Cupertino that joined Apple from Locationary. When I asked several of the Apple employees if their attendance was an indication of coming activity on the local front I was obviously answered with non answers. Equally interesting though was when I broached the topic with several of the participants (mostly data providers) and they also felt compelled to note that they were unable to respond. Hopefully Apple is picking up some decent local POI data sets that will make their product more useful in Europe.
Continue reading Some Thoughts on the YP industry & Google in Europe

Google Bulk Being Upgraded to Google Plus Capability

Nicolai Helling of the United Digital Group is reporting on Google Plus the upgrade of the Bulk Upload to allow multiple administrators. Apparently this upgrade will add full social functionality as well (the link from the help file is currently not working).

Image from Google Help files

I have not seen this new feature in dashbaords that I have access to. Here is his post in its entirety:

    Multi-Admin for Google Places Bulk Upload becomes reality

With the ability to enable companies to upload location data in a corporate Google account and then authorize another Google account to manage a single location, a feature is going live that has been awaited for a decade in local search!

This development was preceded by lots of smaller changes to the bulk upload tool, that had been long treated as an unwanted offspring. But as the demand from local search experts and businesses for a more robust Google Places bulk upload backend had steadily increased, this step was somewhat overdue.

It is noteworthy that users using the bulk upload have to wait, until Google changes the account to an upgraded account. A good indication for an upgraded account are the new owner status icons in the backend (see attached screenshot).

With the ability to have multiple admins the bulk upload will also use the rights management architecture and the “one claim rule” that is already in use for listings in the Google+ backend and for manually verified locations in the regular Google Places for Business Center.

So to be clear at this point: A company can now upload and manage up to 10.000 locations in one corporate Google account and remains in full control over each listing by adding and removing other Google accounts (i.e. store managers) for single locations at the same time.

Nicolai notes in the comments on a previous post about recent Bulk changes updates to the help file:

There has been an update to the announcement page (https://support.google.com/business/answer/6002011?hl=en)

It now lists:

Manage access to your locations by adding and removing managers and transferring location ownership – New!

as a new feature for upgraded accounts!

There is also a new help page about adding and removing admins: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4669095?hl=en

And a new help page about transferring account management (i.e. using a different Google account for managing bulk uploads): https://support.google.com/business/answer/4669093?hl=en

And a new one about transferring ownership on a per location basis: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4669094?hl=en

And another one about requesting ownership on a per location basis: https://support.google.com/business/answer/4646651?hl=en

I think Google is getting serious! :)

Google Mobile Search Results for Hotels, Restaurant and Other Entertainment Locations Updated

Google announced yesterday that mobile searchers would now be able to filter restaurant results more effectively. It appears that the mobile display for restaurants and hotels has also been updated and hotels also offer a filtering option. These new results are also showing for museums, music venues and amusement parks. The list of location types is very similar to those that return the carousel on the desktop.  The change applies to both iPhone and Android clients. H/t to Linda Buquet. This was reported in her forum yesterday.

I presume, like the carousel, that it is US only. Can someone confirm that?

Only three results are shown in the initial search and all locations and all results that display like this (amusement parks, music halls etc etc) offer a filter option if only by rating.

photo 3-2

 

When you select “See all” you are presented with a longer list and no organic results.

photo 2-2

When you click on the calendar you are offered the ability to select a date range

photo 1

Hotel filtering allows choice by class and rating: Continue reading Google Mobile Search Results for Hotels, Restaurant and Other Entertainment Locations Updated

Google Review Snippets – Hall of Shame Favorites

Front page, full sentence Google review snippets are in full swing and I can’t take my eyes off of them. I have spent more time than I should looking for front page examples of smb armageddon. And I am finding them even on more highly rated businesses. And they can certainly add “color”.

Its still not clear exactly when or why Google includes certain snippets or no snippets at all. For example here is a knowledge panel for a hotel in Chicago with 22 reviews, some within the past 4 months, many within the past year and yet nary a front page panner. And there are some doozies in there.

Pubic Hairs
Bold is all Google’s

But here are some of the ones that I have seen on the Knowledge Panels that have struck me as powerful examples of what a business DOESN’T want to happen. There is no hiding any more. It will be interesting to hear from some owners once they start seeing these.

Bottom line is that a business with bad service can run but they can’t hide.

Please share your favorite “hall of shame” examples.

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.56.37 PM

——Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.55.57 PM ——

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.49.32 PM ——

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 12.48.28 PM

Although this example from the other day is still one of my “hall of shame favorites”:
Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.14.57 AM

Some others:

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.41.13 AM

—–Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.39.08 AM

Google Review Snippets – More Impactful by Half

With the rollout of review sentiment snippets to the Knowledge Panel in Local search, Google has again elevated reviews another notch in their visibility and impact. These “review synopses” are not just more visible but in being just one sentence and clearly highlighted they are more capable of having greater affect on the reader.

nightmares

In the previous incarnation of sentiment snippets (still extant on the about page) Google amassed a jumble of words that really had little affect and was easily ignored. The graph is clear but the sentiments provide little of value and no context :

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 8.27.40 AM

The new review synopsis on the other hand stands out and guarantees, by both the brevity and boldness, a higher likelihood of being read and a higher likelihood of impacting the searcher attitude:

Continue reading Google Review Snippets – More Impactful by Half