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Google Businesses The Internet

Google's $10 Local Search Play 193

Posted by kdawson
from the cheap-feet-on-the-street dept.
thefickler writes "Google has come come up with a novel way to boost the information it has about local businesses. As part of its Business Referral Representative program, Google is offering individuals up to $10 to visit local businesses and tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords, collect information (such as hours of operation and types of payment accepted), and take digital photos of the business. Reaction to the program has been mixed."
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Google's $10 Local Search Play

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  • by garcia (6573)
    They are already doing it with Dodgeball [] which they never did much with and could have provided them with free access to this data.
  • I LOVE this idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blhack (921171) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:28PM (#20219893)
    Back when i was in school, the job i was working didn't quite pay enough to cover all of the bills...being able to toss a notebook in the car and go hit a bunch of places for 10 bucks a pop would have been a godsend for me and most of my friends. This is especially true if you plan; hit 10 places in one day all in a row (heck, if you live in a downtown area, just take out the whole street in an afternoon).
    • Re:I LOVE this idea. (Score:5, Informative)

      by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:33PM (#20219945) Homepage Journal
      It says $2 from google and another $8 if the business verifies that the information is accurate. I'd like to see what the rate of getting that $8 looks like. Because a quick $10 bucks might be worth it, but $2 - not so much.
      • by catbutt (469582)
        Well its up to you to convince the business they want to be listed and it is worth 8 bucks. Why wouldn't they? (unless you gave them a terrible review...but its up to you to pick businesses that are good)
        • by blhack (921171) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:45PM (#20220081)
          I was actually having a conversation with somebody about this the other day:

          If you don't exist on, you don't exist. My generation (I'm 20) doesn't use the yellow pages anymore, its WAYYY too slow, 8 dollars to have all of your accurate information on the de facto place for people to find businesses is one HELL of a deal.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by rootofevil (188401)
            from what i understand of the program, it doesnt cost the business any money either, they just have to verify that what you put in is true. which would make the deal even sweeter.
          • Re:I LOVE this idea. (Score:4, Informative)

            by pthor1231 (885423) on Monday August 13, 2007 @10:47PM (#20220493)
            You know that exists right? How is a search there any slower than a search on google? In fact, if I just want the phone number, is a bit easier to navigate, due to it mainly being a phone directory.
            • by orasio (188021) on Monday August 13, 2007 @11:40PM (#20220839) Homepage
              In the US, only old people use the yellow pages.
            • You know that exists right? How is a search there any slower than a search on google? In fact, if I just want the phone number, is a bit easier to navigate, due to it mainly being a phone directory.

     sucks and it's not an application on my cell phone that shows me a map, gives me a phone number, and tells me how to get there.
              • by sumdumass (711423)
                So for you, it isn't as much "if it isn't on google, it doesn't exist" as much as it is if it isn't one your cell phone?

                Here is a question, what would happen if you got half way there and the phone network cut out or the battery went dead and you couldn't use it. Would you be stuck in the middle of nowhere? Or would you be able to use your memory and other tools to get back home?
            • by ShaunC (203807) * on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:02AM (#20221011)
              Yep. As well as, and, etc. In fact, there's a nasty rumor going around that a few times a year, while you're at work and unable to catch them in the act, someone will toss a yellow bag into your yard, and if you open that yellow bag, there's a book full of phone numbers inside. I know it's passe, and it really isn't sexy, but it's usually pretty reliable. Most places don't change their phone numbers all that often.

              Google is my first destination for many things, but phone listings aren't among them. I tend to have better luck with phone numbers (both ways: look up a business, or reverse-lookup a number who called me) on other sites. I've never used for anything, and I use Google for a lot of stuff. The local aspect doesn't appeal to me, at least not yet. Maybe I'm out of touch with the current generation of web-2.0.71 users, but aside from internet cafes or eBay consignment stores, I can't imagine that "if you don't exist on, you don't exist" really rings true in many cases.

              Last month, I took a vacation. I found my hotel through Google (but not, my directions through Google (won't do that again), and that was it. I showed up in town, found my room, and had good meals at a few locally owned restaurants that I found the old fashioned way... By driving past them and thinking "mmm, Mike's Steakhouse, that sounds good, I'll go there for dinner tonight." I have no problem with folks who want to use Google as a concierge to their city, or the myriad cities to which they travel. It blew my mind that I could get an up-close satellite view of my hotel and its surroundings from Google. But they're hardly a make-or-break thing for local businesses.

              Tourists and natives alike will always be adventurous and they don't need Google to do so.
              • by masdog (794316) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {godsam}> on Tuesday August 14, 2007 @12:32AM (#20221221)

                Google is my first destination for many things, but phone listings aren't among them. I tend to have better luck with phone numbers (both ways: look up a business, or reverse-lookup a number who called me) on other sites. I've never used for anything, and I use Google for a lot of stuff. The local aspect doesn't appeal to me, at least not yet. Maybe I'm out of touch with the current generation of web-2.0.71 users, but aside from internet cafes or eBay consignment stores, I can't imagine that "if you don't exist on, you don't exist" really rings true in many cases.

                I was camping with my family recently and didn't have Internet access during the trip. After a disastrous morning fishing where I lost two lures, I wanted to find a good bait shop to get some advice about the lake we were fishing on. So I pulled out my blackberry, fired up Google maps, and searched for bait shops (and several variations on that term) for that area. Only two local shops came up, and we set out to find them.

                After an hour of driving around looking for these shops, it turned out that neither shop was in business any longer, and we had to settle for the sporting goods section at the local Super Walmart. Next time, I'll settle for talking to the person at the campground store.
                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by ELProphet (909179)
                  Would your experience have been better if one of the local fishermen had taken the time to put local information on Google? Google has seen an area of their services that falls short (small, Mom & Pop business listings) and taken initiative to fix and improve that area of their service. I can't see anything wrong with that, and can point to several other technology companies who could take a lesson in increasing stock value by providing quality, and letting quantity follow.

                  OTOH, local fishing and huntin
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by blhack (921171) *
                  That blackberry device that you were using can also make phone calls. Phone calls travel really fast, and can generally inform you whether or not the business is open.
                  • by masdog (794316)

                    That blackberry device that you were using can also make phone calls. Phone calls travel really fast, and can generally inform you whether or not the business is open.

                    That assumes that my blackberry was set up for voice+data service, and not data only service. In this case, my blackberry was set up for data only.
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by devilspgd (652955) *
                I checked my yard and found one of those books. I can't see where I type in "NEAR " or "NEAR " and it reduces my query to the nearest few hits.

                Perhaps you can show me how to work this thing?
              • by AvitarX (172628)
                I use google local a lot. I use it in place of the business white pages more than the yellow pages though.

                for example the search super fresh, 19711 in the google search box turns up an address and phone sumber far faster than looking up super fresh and then guessing the right address. It also gives a map that doesn't exist in the phone book.

                I can wake up my sleeping computer and do this much quicker than the alphabet.

                Another search that took me a long time to get the correct catagory in the phone book is
              • by falsified (638041)
                Me Too!!

                Seriously, I did not know existed until just now. I just went to it and I don't really get the point. Is it just a redirect to Google Maps?
            • by Nazlfrag (1035012)
              He's not looking for a phone number, or address. He's googling their web presence. Yellow pages is last century, gramps.
              • by pthor1231 (885423)
                He was the one that brought up the yellow pages in the first place. I was simply correcting him that searching yellow pages and take about the same amount of time. And believe it or not, sometimes all you need is a phone number, in which case yellowpages, along with other simple phone number lookup sites, perform perfectly fine.
          • My generation (I'm 20) doesn't use the yellow pages anymore

            If you are 20, I assume you are broke. Therefore random business owners don't care.

            I can kind of see why Coke or Pepsi would try to "grab" you, to establish a lifetime of brand loyalty. But right now, I really don't see how "Tim's Deli" could really care one way or the other why random-20-year-old would care.

            The reason "Tim's Deli" should care, is because of me! I am a 40-mumble-something and I do have money. And you know what? I don't use the freak

            • by sumdumass (711423)
              A lot of these companies have already went through the dot com era when the Internet was everything including expensive but usually only delivered on the expensive.

              It could be an uphill battle to some extent. So don't take it personal when they don't jump at the chance to get your dollar as you put it. They are still remembering all the dollars people got from them.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by devilspgd (652955) *
              Perhaps not all 20-something year olds have money. Some of us do, some of us have a lot of disposable income, and I spend more of it (in absolute dollars) then what my dad spends on fast food / take out food, despite the fact that he makes far more then I do.

              Around here, for a small (especially trendy) mainly impulse-buy shop, younger working folks are the target market.
            • by dAzED1 (33635)
              proof that I am over 40-mumble-somthing is the fact that I asterisk'd the questionable use of "And" as the start of a sentance.

              and what does your spelling of the word sentence prove?

              (sorry, had to)
          • by Lumpy (12016)
            Fun part, most businesses are ran by old luddites. they cantfigure out how to get their business on there is not clear and easy to find instructions to do it. It's near impossible to find the button "ADD MY BUSINESS TO LOCAL.GOOGLE.COM" because they intentionally hide it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arth1 (260657)
          Because the receptionist or clerk you get to talk to has no authority to say yes or no, and can't even verify the information to Google. The people who can verify this and is authorized to email outside companies on behalf of the company won't talk to unsolicited visitors with neither credentials nor an invitation.

          So what you'll end up with is a lot of time spent for $2 per business, and you paying all the expenses (car, gas, camera, net access, et cetera). Evil.
          • by mgblst (80109)
            Yes, receptionists are clearly not allowed to tell anyone the address of the business, let alone the opening hours - that would be tantamount to selling corporate secrets. Might as well hand them the keys to the safe. What sort of business wants this information around?

            Where do I sign up to pay to have people like you removed from the internet?
      • by viniosity (592905)
        Interestingly, the economics of this make it hard for the little guy to compete. From where I'm sitting, Google sure looks a whole lot like Microsoft did back in the 90's. Initiatives like mine [] are almost certainly doomed.
        • by Firehed (942385)
          How so? If I search for local businesses in Google Maps (either for directions or to see what's in the area), I usually get awful results. I can find a Best Buy or a Barnes and Noble easily enough, but even decent sized chain stores often aren't listed and local stores are rare at best even if I know the name of the business. If this program will allow me to find more relevant businesses in my area, then I'll have all my options laid out. And I'm generally much more inclined to go with local stores as c
        • by Skidge (316075)
          I was thinking the exact same thing. I've been working on a restaurant review [] website in my spare time, and there's no way I could afford to pay for validation or submission of restaurant information like Google can.

          On the other hand, it is an even greater incentive to try to build a community around the site to help keep information up to date. The little guy may not be able to compete against Google, but perhaps a bunch of little guys working together can.
        • I don't see how so; google doesn't provide information about the businesses (ie, customer reviews and feedback), only location information. Since it seems that your site seems focused on telling people /about/ the business rather than simply where they are, I don't see why this would even be considered in competition?
        • is a great concept, and I don't think it's doomed at all. It's closer to a MetroMix than a Google Local, but it serves a more specialized purpose than either. There's great opportunity for using the local aspect to promote the Indie music scene as well, linking artists' merchandise (both local and web outlets) with their appearances, venues, and reviews of same.

          I'd like to see it be a little more suburbanite-friendly (e.g. put a zip code box front and center), but that notwithstanding, the conc
    • by ShaunC (203807) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:36PM (#20219981)

      This is especially true if you plan; hit 10 places in one day all in a row (heck, if you live in a downtown area, just take out the whole street in an afternoon).
      The problem is the economy of scale. If you're in a relatively large-sized metropolitan area large enough to have 10 businesses per day not far out of your reach, chances are good that your city also has a lot of other cash-strapped college students who would also love $10 a pop. The competition would be insane, and remember, $8 of that $10 only comes after Google follows up with the business and they verify the information you collected. For each business you stop at, take some photos, ask the manager a few questions, then go home and upload it all, you're only guaranteed $2.

      Personally, I think this will wind up backfiring and taking a lot of Google's goodwill with it. As someone who managed a retail store in a previous life, nothing used to piss me off more than people coming in trying to solicit (especially trying to push anything advertising related). Shop owners are going to get really frustrated at Google after they start having to explain to 10 people a day that "no, I'm not interested in AdWords and besides, 10 people a day have been trying to peddle this shit to me for two months now."
      • by blhack (921171) *
        Google would more than likely flag the businesses that already have information associated with them; at most you are going to have 10 people coming in to ask you about it for only ONE day. It wouldn't surprise me if google actually came out with an optimizer FOR this. You create an account and get assignments for businesses to go to.
        • An optimizer would work only in so far as it could tell you which businesses have already been hit, not the reverse for assignment purposes. I would assume there are still some things left on earth that google don't know about yet, in particular the commercial nature or otherwise of every unknown building on the planet :-)
          • by blhack (921171) *
            I don't think that this service is necessarily meant for discovering new businesses, but rather confirming (and adding) information to the database of businesses that google already has.
      • by linguizic (806996)
        $10 a pop isn't enough to send people out in droves. And besides, this kind of thing isn't like showing up for a shift and putting in your time at a job, it takes someone with a little more (just a little more mind you) motivation than average to get off their butts to do it.

        The only large-scale metropolitan areas that I can think of that might have a large enough student population with slightly greater motivation is the Bay Area and the Boston area. Even then the surrounding areas are HUGE, there are
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It seems like it should be the other way around. Design a web interface and supporting middleware to a database of the x million businesses Google compiles. If the college student wants to participate and they live in the geographic area, they'd sign up and "check out" a maximum of 5 or so businesses at a time. "Check out" meaning a couple fields in each business's record gets flagged and timestamped like a library book.

        If you don't do the job within a day or two, the records get reset and the next lucky
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        So in reality it is free google sales reps peddling google's services. Catch for google is more accurate searches and the paying customers, the addworders are paying for nothing, less accurate searches and people are more likely to use addwords but they just get annoyed with the google and start using on of the competitors instead. Of course addwords has already become more spamwords than anything else.

        Overall, it comes of as a really slutty advertising campaign, get free press for it, get lots of word of

    • by macraig (621737)
      Yeah, but each place is only good for one visit, period! Do the whole main drag in a single day, and what pays for the beer the rest of the semester? 8-o
    • I've always thought that one of the best ways for Google to do work on this is to do a large campaign (online, direct mail, magazines, I don't care), where they cross promote their services. So for signing up a company gets $10 that can be spend on Adwords. This way you help SME's into using adwords for their business. I noticed recently that when I searched for a store in my town that would have a specific thing, I would watch out much more for Adwords than if I search for grand ideas.

      All in all I feel tha
  • by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:33PM (#20219947) Homepage Journal

    ...Don't forget to factor in your time spent processing the materials, talking to the shop owners, getting to and from the shop, etc...

    ...and that's not even considering potential gas costs...

    Anyone feel like doing a breakdown on cost/profit margin on this? Urban versus rural areas?
    • Right - so it wouldn't make a good full time job, probably not a part time one. But if enough people decide to pick up a small amount of easy money for places they regularly visit anyway, google gets what they want for cheap. Pretty smart on their part.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nacturation (646836)
      Why go to all the trouble of doing it yourself? Develop a site where businesses can go to submit their own information for inclusion in Google Maps -- it should take a few days to build if you do it right. Or if you make it quick and dirty, a few hours. The shop owner goes to the site, enters their zip code, and it prepopulates the city/state as well as locates the general area on an inline Google Maps control. They fill in their details, place their marker at the exact location in Google Maps (if requi
  • U.S. only :( (Score:5, Informative)

    by aeschenkarnos (517917) on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:33PM (#20219955)
    Cool and stuff, but "... in the U.S.". WTF? Should be noted first in the article.
    • this is the third time this week I have seen someone whine about a US company doing something with mainly the US in mind. what gives?
      • Google operates in a global marketplace and has offices globally. When it comes to internet based businesses, addresses of headquarters are merely a courtesy for finding out where the CEO spends the majority of his day.... and even that is unreliable.

        Google do themselves and their stakeholders no favours by artifically limiting their market to the geographic borders of the country in which their headquarters are coincidentally found.
      • by l3v1 (787564)
        U.S. company, right, now explain me how would they do without their revenue that comes from over your borders.

        Somewhat - maybe distant - similarity to Apple, see how much ipods they sell internationally, and in how few countries itunes is available. It's a wierd philosophy, since it's like hey, we've got enough customers, don't bother with the rest, even if they want to spend their money on us.

        All in all, I don't care that this is only national now at Google, since you always got to start fr
  • by wamerocity (1106155) on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:36PM (#20219983) Journal
    To go and track down and get the info for all the stripclubs and brothels/"gentlemen's clubs".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by neoform (551705)
      Heh, ever try whipping out a camera in a strip club?

      Not a bad idea if you want to learn how to fly (bouncers can throw far).
      • Since I haven't been in one...

        Isn't this kind of hard to enforce, now that cameras are on every cell phone almost?
        • by mgblst (80109)
          I don't know if you have noticed before, but it is pretty easy to spot the difference between someone talking on their phone, and someone taking a picture. Especially when the flash comes one, which is what you will need when you go to a strip club.
      • by Random832 (694525)
        I would assume Google wants photos of the _exterior_ of the business.
    • This reminds me of a restaurant reviewing site. One of the comments read something like

      "I really like this restaurant, because of the atmosphere blah blah yadda yadda. Great desserts. Also very cute waitress, came home with me and I got great head."
      Needless to say, when it started appearing on blogs, it got removed.
    • by sootman (158191)
      Someone beat you to it. [] By about a decade.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:37PM (#20219989) Journal
    I wonder if Google has ever heard of a Property Release []?

    While rare, I can see someone getting their panties in a bunch over their place of business being photographed without permission...

    Then we have the "hey! I got an idea! let's photograph the inside of a Wal-Mart!" (where the photog will promptly get thrown out...)

    Could be wrong (they might've covered, you know, permissions), but I can see lots of kids getting snagged in something like that. /P

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheDormouse (614641)

      ...I can see someone getting their panties in a bunch over their place of business being photographed without permission....

      Umm... That's probably why Google wants you to go inside and

      ...tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords, collect information (such as hours of operation and types of payment accepted), and...

      get permission to

      ... take digital photos of the business.

      It all seems pretty well implied. You didn't even have to read the article.

    • by tjr (908724) on Monday August 13, 2007 @10:03PM (#20220189) Homepage
      Except in weird cases, you can photograph anything you want to from a public location. While you might not be able to go INSIDE Wal-Mart and take pictures [it's private property, and they have every right to make you stop], you're free to stand on the public sidewalk and take a picture of the exterior.

      Many smaller businesses don't even care if you take pictures inside anyway... it's mostly the big chain stores that disallow it and, ironically enough, also tend to be less interesting to photograph in the first place.
      • I recall Target will let you videotape or photograph inside. Been a couple years tho, might have changed.
      • by tkw954 (709413)

        While you might not be able to go INSIDE Wal-Mart and take pictures... you're free to stand on the public sidewalk and take a picture of the exterior.

        I don't know how it is where you live, but none of the Wal-marts near me have public sidewalks anywhere near them.

    • by daBass (56811)
      You only need one if:

      a) you are photographing from a private location. (public road is fine)

      - or -

      b) the photograph is used for commercial purposes.

      What Google is doing can very easily be justified as editorial, not commercial.

      In any case, it would not surprise me if it is included with the questionnaire that is taken inside to the owner.
      • If the property in a photograph is recognizable and unique to the business, they can demand and get a release, or they can demand royalties, or they can demand its removal.

        Like I said - it would be rare, but it is something to consider.


    • by jgoemat (565882)
      Businesses have a much lighter right to privacy, and it would be difficult to show how submitting a photo to Google (for use as a free service to help people find their business) could cause harm.
  • by searchr (564109) <<searchr> <at> <>> on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:54PM (#20220127)
    not quite the cornucopia of insta-wealth it appears, to all you starving students out there.

    It's only $2 bucks for all the legwork. $2 bucks, and that only once Google is happy with your hard work.

    The remaining $8 bucks comes once a business "Confirms" the info is accurate. They do that either via a mail-in card, or online. In other words, a teeny tiny fraction of the businesses you hard-working stiffs collect, will likely ever follow up on this part. And among the ones who do, what do you bet that if there's any correction, ANY, then the $8 bucks is forfeit?

    It's great for Google, bad for the pavement pounders. Best bet is to hire your 12 year old kids to do the leg work for you, give them the $2 bucks and a valuable lesson in hard work and communications. Then any "confirmations" that pan out, keep that for yourself.

    Kids gotta learn about payroll deductions sometime.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nacturation (646836)

      It's only $2 bucks for all the legwork. $2 bucks, and that only once Google is happy with your hard work. The remaining $8 bucks comes once a business "Confirms" the info is accurate.
      What are these two dollars bucks and eight dollars bucks you speak of?
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Monday August 13, 2007 @09:56PM (#20220151)
    In from the tions []
    Compensation. For each month during the Service Period, Google will pay Contractor (i) for each Customer for whom Contractor has collected and submitted Customer Data to Google in accordance with these Terms and Google, in its sole discretion, has accepted or approved of the Customer Data submitted by Contractor for such Customer, a one-time fee of two U.S. dollars ($2) (a "Base Referral Fee") and (ii) if such Customer is a Verified Customer, an additional one-time fee of eight U.S. dollars ($8) (a "Bonus Referral Fee" and together with Base Referral Fee, "Referral Fees"). A Customer is a "Verified Customer" if and when Google receives written confirmation (whether by mail, email or on-line via a URL designated by Google) from such Customer that the Customer Data submitted by Contractor for such Customer is current, complete and correct. Payment of any Referral Fees is contingent upon Google's receipt of a completed W-9 Form by Contractor. Notwithstanding any of the foregoing, the Referral Fees will not be considered earned by Contractor should Google, in its sole discretion, determine that it has previously received Customer Data for such Customer by a party other than Contractor and so inform Contractor no later than five (5) business days after Contractor's submission of such Customer Data. Google shall pay Contractor Referral Fees earned during each month, with payment for that month being made within thirty (30) days of the end of the immediately following month, if Contractor has earned at least twenty-five U.S. dollars ($25) for such month. If Contractor has not earned at least twenty-five U.S. dollars ($25) in a given month, then Google will defer payment until Contractor has earned at least twenty-five U.S. dollars ($25). Payment will be mailed to Contractor at the address provided by Contractor on Contractor's IRS W-9 Form. For the avoidance of doubt, (x) Google has no obligation to accept or sell Google products or services to any Customer and (y) in the event that a Customer purchases any Google product or service, Contractor is not entitled to receive any compensation or payment in connection therewith.
  • by KTheorem (999253) on Monday August 13, 2007 @10:06PM (#20220219)
    This would be a great thing for those who want to help out the small businesses in their area. They can go out and literally put them on the map. The more people that are aware the small shops exist, the more likely people will be to shop there.

    I know that I, for one, don't neglect smaller shops because I would rather go to Target. For the most part, I do it because I am unaware that there even is a small shop that could serve my needs.
    • by NickCatal (865805)
      I was thinking exactly this...

      I was searching for some information about a mail-receiving place near my new apartment (as I don't believe the apartment I am in will sign for packages and I need someplace to drop off eBay shipments) and I found the name of some place but no more information. I did all the searches I could find and got no information. Had to wait until they were open for business before I could find out any useful information (and even then, it turns out they open at 10:00AM instead of 9 so t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038)
      The small shops can be on the map all they want. They'll still close at 4pm and refuse to take cards.
  • What about Canada? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kinetix303 (471831) on Monday August 13, 2007 @11:06PM (#20220627) Homepage
    I live in Montreal. Montreal's metropolitan area has a population of 3.6 million people. This is equivalent in market to Los Angeles and Chicago, your second and third largest cities. Montreal is entirely neglected by this program. Additionally, Toronto's metro area has a population of over 5 million, second in size on this continent only to New York City. Again, Toronto is entirely neglected by this program. I understand Google Labs technologies such as street view and traffic require the participation of local governments, but a program like this one is driven entirely by market... and not only are there Canadian Google users, but lots of them, too.

    Google could be making real money in Canada, and yet they choose not to. Why is the Canadian market ignored yet again? Google has access to prime revenue streams: we can be paid in currency that Google already does business in, our cities are already well integrated into the Google Maps grid, and Canadian business can and does take advantage of Google's paid placement programs.

    While Canada itself is a significantly smaller overall market than the United States itself, I don't understand why the international border comes into play at all. After all, our urbanized centres easily compare the market sizes of the American cities that Google is focussing efforts on... and isn't that what counts when it comes down to it?

    Google, please include Canadian cities in your future service rollouts. Our advertising dollar is every bit as useful to you as an American one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nazlfrag (1035012)
      Yeah, you and every other city & country on the planet outside the US. Ever think that the program might expand if the US trial is successful? Give it some time, it's unlikely any company would launch such a program worldwide without testing their home market first.
      • We often see the inverse. For example, secure direct debit consumer payment has reached almost 100% penetration in the Canadian marketplace, and did so several years before the US reached its present (and laughable) level of electronic transaction processing.

        Other examples of areas where Canada has set the lead ahead of the US technologically:
        -microwave communications in the 1950s
        -high speed internet... now... everywhere... affordably.
        -GSM cellular network penetration

        We've been able to do things like this
    • Our advertising dollar is every bit as useful to you as an American one.

      Actually your dollar is still worth less than ours...

      Montreal's metropolitan area has a population of 3.6 million people.

      You don't know much about urban sprawl in America. You can take most of the populations here [] and triple them. While it says LA has only 3.8 million people, the LA metropolitan area has almost 13 million. That's 3 times as many people, and the per capita income for LA is $35,1881 American dollars while Montr

  • As a small business owner -- an IT business, at that -- one of the first things I did was make sure I was listed with Google. I followed up with the phone books.

    The thing is that many of my acquaintances are small business owners. And I decided to Google their businesses while I was registering mine. Most came up with name and address -- even though they didn't register to be listed with Google. Some didn't come up at all.

    I went to them. I explained the situation. Google acts as a phone book to many of
  • Hmm, is anyone else at all reminded of the CIC from Snow Crash? Being paid to go around and find information that someone 'may' be interested in, one day? The only difference is that you won't be paid per hit that the store you scoped out gets, though that could work too, i suppose.
  • This isn't about taking pictures. This is a door to door commission sales scheme. The "Business Referral Representative" gives a handout to the business owner, encouraging them to sign up with Google. "As a Google Business Referral Representative, you'll visit local businesses to collect information (such as hours of operation, types of payment accepted, etc.) for Google Maps, and tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords." Google pays $2 for each sales call, and $8 for each sale.

    Door to door selli

    • by apt142 (574425)
      It's the Mom and Pop shops that are going to benefit the most from this. They get a huge amount of exposure with very little effort. It can turn a hole in the wall into something a little more prominate. I suspect comic book shops, hobby shops, small repair places, etc. will benefit from it. There has been times when I didn't know those places existed until I had drove by them.

      The big box stores have all of their information on their related sites already. I wouldn't expect much from them.
  • Beware (Score:2, Interesting)

    by qeorqe (853039)
    Google seems to expect a lot for $2.

    From their terms and conditions []:

    "8. Rights to Developments. As between the Parties, all software (including modifications and documentation), products, inventions, documents, writings and other materials conceived, prepared, made, discovered or produced by Contractor during the Service Period, including without limitation Deliverables that relate in any manner to the Program or business of Google (collectively, the "Developments"), shall be the sole and exclusive prop

  • Many of the comments missed the long-term view. Let's suppose that it works the way Google intended. Then, some of these small businesses then go out of business, change location, change their name, come under new management, etc. Who tells Google?

    Keeping directory information current is a friggin' nightmare. Good luck to them.
  • This is not a unique idea, we at O'WONDER have been offering people in the UK 33% of our £295 lifetime membership fee to rep our directory at []. Note, we are a directory, not a search engine, so our results are more succinct. We're initially just covering a few areas of London, but working to expand once we improve the service later in the year. Want to rep for us? Drop us a line to []. Our price is high as membership is for life and we don't resell our data.

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke