Google Places to Portlanders: Please Create Garbage Reviews!

June 13th, 2011
by Tim Resnik

Google continues to push Places and Offers very aggressively in the Portland area. When Google first released HotPot in Portland in December, Matt McGee  wrote about how they broke their own guidelines by offering over $13,000 in free dining to those who posted the most reviews.

Well, it appears they are at again. This time it’s a promotion centered around the Google Offers for Ground Kontrol and the only place it is being promoted is on a Facebook Events page. Interesting.   This promo incentivizes folks to go review mad. 50 reviews gets you an invite to a special event at Ground Kontrol, 100 gets you the invite plus a drink and a unfathomable 200 reviews gets you 2 free drinks, some grub, a t-shirt and a $15 gift certificate. If you have enough time to write 200 reviews for some SWAG and a couple of drinks, you either need to look for a job or move out of your parents’ house.


Google’s current policy:

Conflict of interest
Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. Even if well-intentioned, a conflict of interest can undermine the trust in a review. For instance, do not offer or accept money or product to write positive reviews about a business, or to write negative reviews about a competitor. Please also do not post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing.

At the time of Matt McGee’s article the guidelines had the following sentence: “In addition, we do not accept reviews written for money or other incentives.” That sentence is now removed.

I understand that Google is trying to prime the pump by injecting the system with some reviews, but I question whether a synthetic strategy versus an organic one is wise. Google built a search empire on the foundation of quality and relevancy and shouldn’t forget its roots as it forges ahead in social.

P.S.  add a comment to this blog and be automatically entered to win a one-of-a-kind AudienceWise trucker hat (comment bots not eligible)

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