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  1. #1
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    Question Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    UPDATE 3/14: Also doing this in NYC - See post #4.

    Found an interesting post on Yelp from Daniel "UYE Wizard" B. a YELP Elite reviewer.

    Google AT A MALL with a booth full of swag and REVIEW STATIONS???
    Offering swag in exchange for 10 reviews???


    Google bribing people to write Google+ Local reviews

    I was in San Francisco last week and went to Westfield Centre, SFO's nice downtown mall. I walked through one of the main entrances on Market Street and right there to greet me was a stand with Google swag -- t-shirts, water bottles, etc. Standing next to this display was a young Google employee wearing a Google+ t-shirt, politely greeting each customer who walked through the doors. Behind him were shelves with more swag, swanky couches, and thin laptops. Some ordinary looking people were on the couches, focused on the laptops, and typing away.

    I wasn't interested in anything Google was trying to sell or any personal info. they may have wanted from me, so I just walked right past the stand. On second thought, I was curious what Google was up to, so I made a U-turn back to the stand and inquired about the merchandise on display. The Google employee asked me if I had a Gmail and/or Google+ account, to which I replied yes. He then said if I wrote 10 reviews on Google+ Local (a minimum of 3 sentences per review), I could take any one of the Google-branded items on his table. I thought about it for a second, but then told him it was too much work. I was actually considering doing it.

    So this is one way Google is trying to populate Google+ Local with reviews and gain ground on Yelp?
    I thought it was interesting.
    I wonder if all the reviews are legit and for places these people have actually been to? Or if passerbys are just making stuff up and writing fiction to get their G swag? I'd be hard pressed to think of 10 local businesses I'd been to and wanted to leave a review for right on spot.

    Hmmm... I also wonder if those reviews will get filtered since they are all coming from the same IP???
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  2. #2
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    re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Isn't this exactly what Google told small businesses NOT to do? I don't understand the hypocrisy... Normal businesses do this, and reviews get removed... Then Google decides they need to get more reviews to compete so, they create a review station and give away an incentive to write a review.

    Interesting....

    "
    We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews. As a reviewer, you should not accept money or product from a business to write a review about them. Additionally, don’t feel compelled to review a certain way just because an employee of that business asked you to do so. Finally, don’t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing."


    Specialized review station... check (although not at a business where a review is for... so... grey area)
    Accepting products to write a review... check (once again not from a specific biz.. grey)
    Misrepresent identity... possible since it could be a business owner or an employee writing a good review since Google's giving away swag.

    If I write 10 reviews can Google send me a water bottle?
    My rarely updated website (I should fix that) - https://www.ericrohrback.com
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  3. #3
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    re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Ya at 1st glance it seems like hypocrisy but it's kinda different.

    Me bribing people at a review station at MY business to review MY business is what they don't want.

    But I bet if the Chamber did a contest to have people review local businesses, for example, it would not be frowned on. It would be impartial as opposed to a business owner trying to unnaturally inflate reviews for their own business.

    The parts that are interesting to me about this are:

    1) That Google wants to increase reviews or their visibility in the review space badly enough to set up a Mall booth???

    2) I would wonder about the quality of reviews and if they were legit. Some people would do anything for a buck... or for some G swag.

    So unless Google is telling people they MUST review businesses they've actually been to, then it kinda seems like they are going after quantity over quality. PLUS the guidelines say reviews need to be legit based on 1st hand experience.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

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    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  4. #4
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    re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Mamma Mia, Linda. Great catch. And review stations thrown into the mix, no less. 'Do as I say, not as I do," said Google. Fascinating.
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

  5. #5
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    re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    "a minimum of 3 sentences per review"

    hmmm......

  6. #6
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    Exclamation re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Quote Originally Posted by keenan View Post
    "a minimum of 3 sentences per review"

    hmmm......
    Psssst, that's what Google determines to be an optimal review length (assuming its on topic, good grammar, etc).

  7. #7
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    re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Google with a MALL BOOTH? I thought it was an anomaly or a test just in that one Frisco mall.
    Looks like it might be a TREND! Check this!

    Announcement from a New York Mall

    Experience the “Google+ Local” Booth March 9-30 | The Shops at Columbus Circle

    Here’s a secret as to how bloggers – like yours truly – learn about what’s timely, topical and trending. We use Google+ Local! It’s the best way to find great restaurants, shops, salons – you name it. You can also leave reviews, preview scores and plan your trip by previewing via Google Search and Maps!

    Google+ Local New York will be setting up shop from March 9-30 on the second floor of Time Warner Center to show you how to use Google+ and share reviews of local businesses – stop by the Google+ Local booth to check out Google+ and rediscover your city – plus, you’ll take home some free swag for sharing your opinions!
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

  8. #8
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    Re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Man, who is in charge of Local these days? Silvio Berlusconi?

  9. #9
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    Re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    Man, who is in charge of Local these days? Silvio Berlusconi?
    I don't know but they seem to allow a lot of spam on the Map to remain. Hopefully with the shakeup in Maps, things will greatly improve on the Spam front.

  10. #10
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    Re: Google Bribes People at a Mall Booths to Write Google Reviews?

    OK folks - here are quotes from the type of folks who post reviews in exchange for Google swag at malls.

    Name:  photo.jpg
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    "At a +Google+ Local kiosk at the mall. Did 8 reviews and got the G+ gloves, but not the pillow."

    "I did it too. They gave me 4 shirts bc I had so many reviews"

    "Did you try the google hearing aid? It should be right next to the glasses and google walking canes :-P"

    "Better to be hanging out in the Google store instead of the Barbie section of Toys 'R Us....just saying"

    Hear ANY comments about sincere reviews like "I was so excited to review my fav restaurants"? No they just want swag! I would say incentivizing reviews in this manner, does not lend itself to honest sincere reviews. But then again - maybe I'm a little jaded.
    Linda Buquet .:. Forum Founder, Google Local Specialist

    If you benefit from advice here... Please pay the community back by sharing on social OR helping someone else at the forum. Thank you!

    Don't Miss Important News & Tips! Subscribe to Daily Email Digest Here

    Note: Due to mulitple RSI injuries, pardon short replies. Typos? Blame it on "Dragon".

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