I’m pleased to introduce a new Catalyst guest blogger, Richard Newman an Attorney that specializes in Internet Marketing. If you ever need help, Richard is highly skilled and great to work with!

Richard will be weighing in on local Internet marketing and search marketing legal issues here at Catalyst. Today he shares observations about Google Places problems that business owners sometimes face.

This is a guest post by Richard B. Newman – Internet Marketing Lawyer

It is no secret that Google is the world’s top search engine. Recently, critics of the giant have expressed dissatisfaction with Google Places – which provides user-generated local recommendations and consumer reviews. A great concept, sure to give Yelp! a run for their money, right?

Well, critics of Places have been quite critical about the numerous indexing bugs that exist, including missing reviews, disappearing reviews, and incorrect business addresses. Small business owners count on these reviews to drive business and create brand awareness. Additionally, a recent article written by Miriam Ellis points out other “bugs,” including the deficiency of accurate information pertaining to local information for hospitals, fire departments, and police departments.

While small business owners around the world are complaining about the customer reviews that are just disappearing and the direct consequences it is having on their businesses, the indirect consequences are that search rankings begin to suffer as well. For those that have been actively soliciting reviews from customers, perhaps as the lifeblood of their business, and have lost some or all of their reviews to “technical problems,” your anger is not misplaced. The inability to communicate with Google’s customer service team does not help matters (is there one?).

For the small business owner, this a perfect example of not putting all of your eggs in the same basket. Prudent business practices dictate that business-specific content should be spread out amongst various consumer review sites. Call it, “loss mitigation.”

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Richard B. Newman is an Internet Lawyer and
Internet Law Specialist at Hinch Newman LLP

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