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Brian Pasch

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Google Places To Stop Requiring Gmail Accounts For Posting Reviews

Gmail Accounts Not NeededYou may have seen this button on a Google Places page when you attempted to write a review for a business while you were not logged into your Google account.

Up until recently, if you didn't have a Google account you could not post a review on Google Places.  Inside sources are saying that this is going to change!  Read current policy.

For business owners, the current policy meant that only about 25% of their happy customers could post an in-store review if they were asked to share their positive experience online.  

The Google Places App simplifies review collection right at the point of experience for Google account holders but it left many people unable to participate.

In the automotive industry, Google Places is the #1 free source of referral traffic for car dealers.  Our busiest automotive clients have Google Places listings with over 40,000 impressions a month with the average around 15,000 impressions a month.

Properly configured and merchandized Google Places pages drive thousands of clicks per month to the dealer's primary website.  Google Places is an important part of a digital marketing strategy; it is the yellow pages meets consumer reports.

Change In Review Posting Policy


A respected industry source has started telling clients that Google will drop the gmail account requirement and allow anyone to post a review.  

This change, according to this source, will be happening over the next week.

What does this mean for Google Places?  What does this mean for third party review platforms? 

In the automotive industry there are popular platforms that include Dealerrater.com, PrestoReviews.com, and CarDealerCheck.com so what will this change mean for them?

I will have a follow-up article on how this change, when confirmed, will impact 3rd party review platforms.

When this change is confirmed,  it will be a great opportunity for business owners and especially car dealers who have strong customer service processes and have implemented iPads in their store for review collection.

Of course, you don't need an iPad to post a review, any device can be used for Google Places; this was confirmed recently by Scott Falcone with an email from the Google Places team.

Don't Put Your Review Eggs In One Basket


Apple 4s Siri Review with YelpWhen Google changes their review posting policy to allow non gmail accounts, I still recommend that business owners spread out their posts to the review website that are dominant in their market on Google Page One.

I especially want business owners to identify existing YELP users because Apple's Siri assistant uses Yelp.com reviews in listing local businesses.  

If you have not tested this feature, ask Siri on your Apple 4s this question: "Chevrolet Dealers" and you can see the output Siri gave me in New Jersey.

I also recommend business owners use review platforms that allow the business to own their review content.  These platforms allow business owners to syndicate reviews on their blogs, websites, and even to create custom profile pages for the sales professionals.

A solid reputation marketing strategy must acknowledge that many review sites can impact buyers during the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) and thus you can't just focus on Google Places.

However, if this change in policy is confirmed this week, this will be a big boost for Google Places relevance.   Dealers who want to increase traffic to their website can focus on increasing their total reviews on Google Places.

It will also allow Google to better monetize the Google Adwords Express program which allows business owners to run ads with their current review counts, as shown below for Norman Jeep Chrysler Dodge in Oklahoma City.

These special Adwords Express ads really stand out from the normal Adwords ads and they have some very interesting ROI, which I will cover at the 2012 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Las Vegas, Feb 1-3rd.

Norman Jeep Reviews

 

So I'll keep you posted when we can get an official response this week to this insider tip.

Brian

Brian Pasch CEO of PCG

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing

Text PCGedu to 75674 get information on our upcoming conferences

Bryan Armstrong
Wow! Thanks Brian. I hope it's accurate as this could be HUGE! Great "heads-up" call, much appreciated.
Eric Miltsch
If this does happen, review counts would most definitely increase - however, if a Google account, or any other type of login isn't required, the end results could be drastic. A study done earlier this year showed the types of reviews and their quality was considerably different between platforms which allowed anonymous reviews vs. those tied to a login/profile. (Study compared general consumer sites such as Yelp, CitySearch, etc) The average ratings for Yelp were steady with 3 stars, while the others had a wider divergence - greater 1 & 5 star ratings. The reason being that Yelp reviewers had profiles linked to their accounts while the anonymous reviews weren't tied to a user account. The comments themselves were also much different; Yelp reviews being more detailed and lengthy b/c the reviews were a reflection on the person giving them - the other reviews were more along the lines of "This place sucks" Knowing this, greater attention will need to be placed on this source as a possible defensive measure against these "wild card" reviewers - as Brian stated, this is a primary source for reviews.
Kevin Frye
Great heads up in this important area, thanks Brian.
Justin Duff
Great news for dealers, good find Brian. Let's see how long this sticks as Google never seems to stay stationary for long.
Jim Bell
This is great news for dealers and thanks for keeping us informed Brian. My question is are we safe to have customers do a review before leaving the dealership on wifi or from one of the desktops? I have seen some reports that Google is getting more relaxed on this with IP addresses.

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