Google Places & the New Postcard-Only Validation Process

January 27, 2011

A little new, a little well-known. The newer information is courtesy of Mike Blumenthal letting folks know that Google Places has been tightening up their verification process for new businesses.

I really like this, even though it can (and has) take more time to get listed. About a month ago, a company with a new location caused Google to allow only the postcard option. It looked something like this. Notice there’s no phone option?

In early 2007 and before, the postcard option was it and often took a lot more than 2-3 weeks to receive. This time, it took about 1-1/2 weeks. However, it took another 2 weeks for the listing to show after I confirmed the listing. This is from a business that’s been trusted in Google Maps Places for years. Another new location just this week also gave the postcard only option.

I still welcome this. If Google is indeed tightening up like this, it would sure be harder for those who want to artificially manipulate local results.

With this said, there are a few tips to make sure the postcard option is working. These aren’t new tips, maybe more of a refresher and communications is key.

  • Call and then send an email to your contact(s) including whoever is responsible for receiving mail. In the email, explain exactly what you’re doing.
  • Include an image like the one above
  • Explain how important it is to not throw away the postcard and to call or email you back with the 5 digit confirmation code provided
  • For good measure, copy and paste the image below to show what the actual direct mail piece will look like (not the best quality image, sorry)

Having the phone option with almost immediate results is sure nice and definitely preferred. Having the postcard only doesn’t have to be bad. Maybe it can at least be another communications opportunity.

Have you seen Google’s new process for new business locations? Let us know of your experiences…. Good or bad.

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Weekend 3 of 5 For Sun Country Promo – Las Vegas

September 26, 2010

OK, weekend three of five for the Sun Country promo is in the books. This post will be a bit different. The first two weekend trips were solo and just went to businesses on my own time to hopefully have good experiences to showcase via reviews or social media formats.

This weekend was different. Close to 20 of us met in Vegas to help four people celebrate turning 4-0 this month. This was more about having fun amongst friends. To my knowledge, none of us have big things to hide so we can apply the phrase “What happens in Vegas, goes on Google Maps, Twitter, Foursquare and Flickr”.

Again, speaking of Flickr, here is a small picture set of the short trip.

Thanks to Sun Country and the promo, I did unlock the Jet Setter badge on Foursquare upon checking in at McCarran at 7am this morning. That’s right, 7am. The airport was busier than I would have figured.

Don’t care? Yeah, I really don’t either.

I did have one, absolute five-star review to give to a place called The Griffin. The bar is in the downtown Fremont East district. The area apparently used to be pretty shady but has certainly cleaned up. The place is wonderful!

This next four-star review for Uncle Joe’s Pizza probably should be closer to a three-star but it was still fast and convenient.

I’m big into staying at locally-owned hotels/motels. The staff are often the owners and they always appreciate your business. This time, the dollar won out as the downtown Super 8 was available for something like $55 a night through Expedia.

I had to have a little fun with Aaron Weiche when he heard I was going to Vegas.

4am in Minnesota is 2am in Vegas. We all had our fill of food and drink Friday night and got back to my motel about 1am. I didn’t have any uploaded pictures at the time but decided to somehow wait until 2am to send him a random DM on Twitter. Aaron was definitely amused. At the airport this morning, I sent this.

Weekend four will be in Boston (Cape Cod) with hopes to showcase nice locally-owned businesses. It turns out Boston itself is very expensive but you can get to Cape Cod and live very thrifty for a couple days. See you soon, Hyannis Holiday Motel and thank you, Vegas!

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