Google is adding more features to its Google Places platform, such as Google Boost.
Online coupon company, 8coupons thinks Google Boost will not work and that group buying services such as GroupOn or BuyWithMe are better for businesses. Here’s a blog post they wrote on this:
In short, Boost allows local business owners to promote their business listing on Google by having it appear in the “sponsored links” section when appropriate, at a cost. If you are a Thai Restaurant in San Francisco, and someone in San Francisco searches for “Asian Food”, well now your listing with phone number, address, ratings, even videos will appear on the top of the page. The business only pays when someone clicks on the ad.
Having worked with local business owners for the past 3 years, my humble opinion is this is another Google product that is destined for failure (Google Wave, Google base, Google Local mobile coupons, etc) . Here are 2 reasons why…
The Groupon Model is changing the way small business owners think about advertising, and specifically about how to track campaign results. With Groupon, a small business owner will know exactly how many of their coupons are redeemed, and subsequently the cost and effectiveness of each campaign. It puts them in control. When you move to a pay-per-click model like Google Boost, you know how many clicks your ad is receiving, but the owner has no way of knowing if those clicks are converted into sales. Small Business owners hate that. Obviously, this is also one of the reasons why print has been dying.
In General terms, most small business owners don’t even know that you can create a business profile on Google. In fact, according to their statistics only 2 million of the 50 million (4%) small business owners in the U.S. have claimed their page. Google acknowledges this in their press release by saying “Hopefully you’ve gone to Google Places to claim your free business listing that appears on Google and Google Maps.” Google can keep hoping but from my experiences, most small business owners don’t have the awareness, time or knowledge to even use the free service.
I’m not sure if I agree, but the post does give something to think about and consider.
I disagree as I think that group buying is great for some businesses, but it’s different than maximizing and capitalizing on local search. Having a local listing is great and all businesses should maximize their listing on Google Places, Yelp, MerchantCircle and other local search platforms. In Google’s case, those businesses that take the time to tweak their listings and invest to pay to make them even better and more visible might reap even more rewards.