Collecting reviews on steroids


Andy

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Dears

I was about to advise a dentist to purchase/subscribe the grade.us SW when this same dentist met a representative from a company called Birdeye (I think this happened whilst the dentist was at a medical congress).

This company provides a service/SW that allows SMBs to collect "reviews on steroids". It avoids the "no review kiosks" guidelines by sending patients an SMS right when patients are at the dental office (if SMB is a dentist), hence when they are the most receptive to a request to leave a review.

If the patient has an android phone, and after it is ascertained (by the SW) that feedback will be positive (in other words patient is screened) he/she is led to a link (maps listing I surmise) where he/she she can leave a review.

If the patient is on iphone, depending on the apps he/she has installed, he/she is given the choice of leaving a review on Yelp, FB, Google Map.

This whole process seems incredibly effective with SMBs managing to collect much higher than average n?s of reviews. I was shown listings with 150 reviews collected over a year! Also, the company, though it provides a SW to embed reviews on web site, does not provide (unlike grade.us and fivestars) a SW to collect reviews from web site. Reason for this (apparently) is that web site SW is dwarfed by the efficiency of the SMS collection system

It does not seem technically difficult to send an SMS to a smart phone, with a link. Why hasn't Gradeus (or Fivestars for that reason) done it?

Any thoughts?

Andy
 

mborgelt

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That is a great idea. We have a lot of clients in the auto repair space and this would be killer for them. The technology may seem invasive to some customers is the only negative aspect of this I can think of. Thanks for sharing!
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Andy,

I've heard people talk about them and I think there was an issue brought up at the old Google forum.

Whoa. Went to check them out via a link to one of their blog posts in Google.
Not sure if they are spreading adware or what, but I would not think a reputable company would do this.

There is a whole series of popups telling me I need to update my browser.

A bare white screen comes up saying: "Checking your browser before accessing birdeye.com...

Then you click "continue" and it tells you your browser is out of date "update now."

My Firefox is up-to-date. Not sure what they were trying to get me to download.
Then it redirected me to some funky domain like test0 . com that was a parked page.

I tried it on Chrome, same thing. Whole series of popups telling me 1st it needs to check my browser.
Then you have to click continue. When I did it tried to redirect me to a domain that was something like: werkjkljghsd . cz

I got the heck out of dodge. :confused: Felt like it was going to try to install adware or malware or something.

I would have thought they were hacked except the opening screen said:
Checking your browser before accessing birdeye.com...

Can you Google: "BirdEye Blog Google Lost My Reviews — What Can I Do" and then click the Google link to that blog post and see if it happens to you?
 

JoshuaMackens

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How easy is it to get customers' cell phone numbers? And how effective is it to bombard them with SMS marketing?

I've heard people talk about SMS before but I've never been interested because I don't want anyone texting me that I'm not interested in talking to personally. I have email for that.

Thoughts?
 
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Hi Andy,

Thanks for bringing this question out in the forum. (I know I owe you an email on this topic, and I knew it would be a long one ;) Hopefully someone will write a TLDR; version.

SMS is powerful and to Michael's and Joshua's pointa, slightly dangerous, since you do risk blowback if a message comes across as invasive or unexpected. In that sense, I think context matters most: if a customer just bought a car, it's a momentous, once-in-a-few-years event--they are likely pumped and even happy to share it. If they just bought a slice of pizza for the third time this week, maybe they don't want you texting them :) Dental patients probably fall somewhere in between.

Since you ask specifically about Grade.us, I'll answer for us: the only thing here that we don't already do is send the SMS message. (And when we do introduce this capability--probably this month--we'll have some provisions in place to minimize the risks mentioned above.)

I really like Birdeye's solution, they are legit (despite the adware ;), but they do some things we would never do. And honestly they appear to have convinced people that built-in features of Android and iOS are their "engineering".

For example, for many months we've supported "deep-linking" into native apps including GMaps, Facebook and Yelp, only without hi-jacking the reviewer's intent by auto-forwarding them to one app without their choosing. Frankly, I think it's better to let the reviewer choose--both in terms of being a good Internet citizen and in terms of conversions. If I'm an avid Yelper and you forward me directly to Google, you lost me.

Anyway, these days, it doesn't require any special sorcery or software to do this. On both iOS and Android, when a user clicks through to a Yelp listing and has the Yelp app installed, the listing is opened in the Yelp app. Ditto Google Maps with the new Maps URLs. The Facebook app can be targeted, too, with the right URL, so our system can identify mobile users and serve them that URL if you want.

The technology for this kind of campaign is quite trivial, really--much as I should be telling you otherwise and you need Grade.us to make it happen :) But our selling point is keeping up the the changes and making it easy--especially at scale.

You don't need to--and probably shouldn't--sniff out installed apps (actually, that's not technically what Birdeye is doing, and you have Internet security to thank for that!) and coerce the customer to your chosen review site.

To see these kinds of results, it's the design of the campaign that matters, and above all else, the relationship that the business in question has with its customers. Which is why I wouldn't risk being too aggressive.

Cheers,
Jon
 

theitsage

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I completely agree with Jon - build good rapport with your customers first is the key. A year from now, many businesses will have plenty of reviews on their listings. The question is, how are the reviews for your business listings different from these steroidal reviews?

A strategy I use without fail is to ask for it in person, then follow up with an email after a couple of days. I've noticed people tend to write more details/longer reviews on a computer than a mobile device. With GMB doing away with listing description, keywords from reviews imo are now the most crucial aspect to get your listing in the top 3 of local pack.
 

JoyHawkins

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Sounds interesting! I often see BirdEye stuff in the SERPS with the gold stars and often wondered what it was. Any idea what they charge for their service?
 

mborgelt

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Thanks for shedding more light on the review space, Jon. That is also a good point on catering to a user's preferred platform.
 

djbaxter

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Whoa. Went to check them out via a link to one of their blog posts in Google.
Not sure if they are spreading adware or what, but I would not think a reputable company would do this.

There is a whole series of popups telling me I need to update my browser.

A bare white screen comes up saying: "Checking your browser before accessing birdeye.com...

Then you click "continue" and it tells you your browser is out of date "update now."

My Firefox is up-to-date. Not sure what they were trying to get me to download.
Then it redirected me to some funky domain like test0 . com that was a parked page.

I tried it on Chrome, same thing. Whole series of popups telling me 1st it needs to check my browser.
Then you have to click continue. When I did it tried to redirect me to a domain that was something like: werkjkljghsd . cz

I got the heck out of dodge. :confused: Felt like it was going to try to install adware or malware or something.

I would have thought they were hacked except the opening screen said:
Checking your browser before accessing birdeye.com...

Can you Google: "BirdEye Blog Google Lost My Reviews — What Can I Do" and then click the Google link to that blog post and see if it happens to you?
I did that Google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=Bir...-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=tfZpVrTkCsnXe_yJk4AF

The first time I clicked the link in Google I got the "Checking your browser before accessing birdeye.com..." message with a "Press Continue" box.

I didn't press continue. I went back to Google. Then I tried the same link again; this time it went straight to the blog page, so it's like similar exploits over the past few years which are cookie based and only hit "new" visitors.

I think this might be a WordPress hack... they may not be aware of it.

Update: it is cookie based - I cleared the cookie for birdeye.com and repeated the steps above... got the "Checking your browser..." nonsense again.
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks for checking David. Glad it wasn't cooties on my PC.

That's like the one we had a few years ago at the other forum. This one is a little clever though since it personalizes it for the site and makes it look like it's them. I didn't really think a company like that would do that, but since their name was on it, made me wonder.
 
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I recently talked to a Birdeye rep to learn more about how it might benefit my attorney clients. In addition to the SMS piece, they also offer new customers a pre-population review scraping service.

This system aggregates reviews from many sources that the client can choose from including Yelp and Google and smaller niche sites. Their tool consolidates those existing reviews and puts them into a new birdeye profile which will likely rank for business name searches.

The feature that advertisers will really like is that they can apply a filter to the consolidation process. In other words, the advertiser can cherry pick only the 4 and 5 star reviews and disregard the bad stuff - thereby giving them a nice 5 star search result that will show up in the serps with Google's stars.

Do you think this business model will survive? Once people catch on that their low star reviews are being diverted, they could circumvent birdeye and go directly to the source. In addition, I would think that they are potentially violating third party review sites by scraping their content.

Nevertheless, I'm sure this will be a popular product in certain markets.
 

Andy

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Sounds interesting! I often see BirdEye stuff in the SERPS with the gold stars and often wondered what it was. Any idea what they charge for their service?
Hi Joy - It is definitely higher than grade.us (or fivestars) but they also offer a different service for this price includes on site visits by "a dedicated trainer to train staff and also a success coach. The idea is to teach staff to use proper verbiage" and make the process of collecting reviews smooth. That is what I understood.

Best

Andy
 

Andy

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I recently talked to a Birdeye rep to learn more about how it might benefit my attorney clients. In addition to the SMS piece, they also offer new customers a pre-population review scraping service.

This system aggregates reviews from many sources that the client can choose from including Yelp and Google and smaller niche sites. Their tool consolidates those existing reviews and puts them into a new birdeye profile which will likely rank for business name searches.

The feature that advertisers will really like is that they can apply a filter to the consolidation process. In other words, the advertiser can cherry pick only the 4 and 5 star reviews and disregard the bad stuff - thereby giving them a nice 5 star search result that will show up in the serps with Google's stars.

Do you think this business model will survive? Once people catch on that their low star reviews are being diverted, they could circumvent birdeye and go directly to the source. In addition, I would think that they are potentially violating third party review sites by scraping their content.

Nevertheless, I'm sure this will be a popular product in certain markets.
An example of what the scraping service does can be found at the following URL: Pennsylvania Center for Dental Excellence Reviews | Cosmetic Dentists | Philadelphia, PA 19116 | BirdEye I have a checked a few reviews and they mostly seem to come from Facebook

Andy
 

Andy

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(And when we do introduce this capability--probably this month--we'll have some provisions in place to minimize the risks mentioned above.)
Thank-you for your reply Jon - it is good news that you will also introduce the SMS capability. What is the worst/best case scenario for launching this in terms of timeframe?

Best Andy
 
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@Andy, sure thing! Best case: next week; worst case: next month. Reason is, once the holidays are upon us, I become a jerk if I push too hard :)
 
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Jon - I agree that this example you are showing for Dr. Richard Crosby is very effective marketing. One difference I noticed compared to Birdeye is that these reviews attribute back to the full reviews on the original source. Birdeye hides the original source and doesn't link to it.

Does grade.us also offer the 5 star filtering process like Birdeye? If so, a link back to the source will be damaging to an advertiser who's trying to bury their bad reviews.
 
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Scott,

Great points. I think it's important to A) help the client/advertiser use the marketing value of their earned positive reviews; B) not betray the consumer's trust in those reviews, which is the source of all the value; and C) be a good Internet citizen.

Therefore, for A, the "Review Stream" Wordpress plugin used in that example above allows the business to decide which reviews are "amplified"--meaning: they have control over which reviews are published to their website, and yes, by default it's only 4- and 5-star reviews.

BUT, for B, unlike the filter you describe above, we do not allow the business owner to manipulate the aggregate rating. If it's bad, they can simply hide it (i.e. not amplify it), and instead a single schema-marked-up review will take its place in the SERPs.

Frankly, manipulating the aggregate rating in the way you describe is in my opinion very short-term thinking: In due time, neither people nor Google will trust it, and down it will go.

As for C, attributing and linking back to the original source of the content is just good Internet citizenship. Doing so respects the interests of the publishers who, as you point out, might otherwise take issue with re-publishing "their" content--one of the reasons it's prudent to re-publish just a snippet and link back.
 

mborgelt

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I have always been curious when Google would boot the aggregate stars created from schema. This is a great idea and we use it where we can internally but a lot of sites spam the feature and/or don't use it correctly. Also good idea on linking back. A great to stay out of trouble with bigger sites.
 

Linda Buquet

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Jon, I really like the way you've explained things in this thread, looking at it from all sides and always taking the high road with your review solution. I think that's what will win in the end.

High integrity review amplification instead of manipulation.
 

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