James

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Ive recently taken an interest in the google local guide program, I notice that there are published rewards at certain levels such as discounted music or extra space on your google drive but from what I gather there are also less documented features.

For example I think when you get to level 5 you are able to make amends to the map which take effect more quickly, however, these features are not documented anywhere that I am aware of.

Im a level 6 local guide at the moment and wondered if anyone had seen a post or any info I could read that detailed what could be done at each level, I am also really interested to know what the higher levels might hold.

Does anyone have any insight on this? I know its quite new but it amazes me it is not talked about more.

Thanks
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi James,

We have a ton of local guides here. Most are not playing the points game, but using the program as a way to become more trusted, hoping edits go through faster. Sometimes all it takes to help your client rank is to get rid of the spammers and scammers, so being able to report them and getting Google to suspend their accounts or edit their listings can help a lot.

Our discussions about the program are usually buried in another discussion with a title about spam fighting or speed of map edits or something, so I don't think there are many threads that have "Local Guide" in the title. You can find a few good ones tho using this query in Google.
 

bhartzer

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I agree, it's more about being trusted, but I have to admit that it's actually fun getting more points. I've been able to get up to level 7 fairly quickly, but that's working on it every day.

As for features and benefits, many perks aren't advertised or posted. I've heard of shirts being sent, but haven't really heard about any others.
 

James

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Thanks for the replies.

I found it pretty easy to get to level 5 just by looking back at the places google maps told me I had been in the last month or so and leaving them a review. I know its a very white hat forum so I am going to keep much of the darker stuff I do to myself but I have also tasked an outsourcer in India with getting 2 accounts up to level 10, I am not sure how quickly or if he will manage this but it will give me some interesting insight which Ill share if relevant. I love experimenting with anything SEO related and testing this stuff out for myself.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hi James,

There is some correlation between the level a guide is at and the amount of trust their edits carry. But there is more to it than that. I have seen level 5 local guides with more trust than level 6 and higher.

My guess is that building up accounts in India will be a waste of time. They will likely have a high level but next to zero trust.
 

James

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Hi James,

There is some correlation between the level a guide is at and the amount of trust their edits carry. But there is more to it than that. I have seen level 5 local guides with more trust than level 6 and higher.

My guess is that building up accounts in India will be a waste of time. They will likely have a high level but next to zero trust.

You may be right on that one but I have a couple of VAs I like to keep busy, Im not so worried about getting ROI on everything they do but more with learning how things work inside out so I will let them take their course and see what happens, Im sure Ill learn something even if its to not get Indian VAs to push accounts to level 10. Google is good but I find when you do some detailed testing with stuff they are never quite as good as you would be lead to believe.

Regarding a level 5 and 6 accounts not having the authority that you would think I have actually noticed that the age of the gmail account associated with the account seems to play a part. Where it is an old google/gmail account and I push it up to a level 5 things seem to work as a trusted account but if I make a new gmail account and push it up to a level 5 then it does not seem to work as the aged account, that could be a factor in this but I have only my own test accounts as a sample so I cant be conclusive, however, I have a strong hunch.

One of the accounts been levelled up in India is old and was made in the UK for me to do some youtube testing with a few years ago so when I next check in with the VAs I might have something more to back this up.

Im pretry facinated by this Local Guide thing at the moment as you can probably tell.
 
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The Local Guide Program is certainly a fascinating experiment. Google's power is in it's data gathering and processing, and what better way to gather data than through crowd sourcing? In practice though it's been a mixed bag at times. Question answers are sometimes incorrect (I know of at least one business owner that was struggling to keep the business listed as having a 'wheelchair accessible entrance', due to all the guides giving incorrect question answers. An even more damning issue is the number of fake reviews being left by point chasers. I've submitted a few fake looking level 10 accounts at this point as I've come across them. Google doesn't have a great system for marking spammy accounts yet, but they're at least aware of the problem.

For my own two cents... I think the longevity of the local guides program will ultimately depend on Google's ability to make sure the data coming in through the program is clean. The problem with any extrinsic reward system, is you have people taking part for entirely the wrong reasons. Quality reviews from real patrons is going to be a huge piece of consumer trust coming up here, and the local guides program has definitely had a negative impact on that front from what I've seen. I'll be interesting to see how all this plays out.
 

James

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The problem with any extrinsic reward system

I think that is why they publish details on the offers like increase storage space on google drive or discounted music but they dont publish anything clear about the actual account privileges such as at what point (be it a time and level combo). There are quite a lot of freeloaders levelling up but if there was a post somewhere like blackhatworld saying that you could do xyz at level abc then there would be an absolute rush on leveling up accounts, people selling accounts and levelling up services etc.
 

Dino

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James, I apologize if I've misunderstood your approach, but how can you push an Indian outsourcer to get higher points unless they are giving fake reviews or submitting fake images?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but is your guy actually experiencing the businesses he rates? It appears not since you implied being involved in "darker stuff." That's fine with me, but your approach is likely doing damage to real businesses. My clients have a number of point chasers leaving average ratings having never visited the business so yea, you're contributing to the problem that has frustrated so many of us. Wish you would choose to run experiments that did not impact real people trying to make an honest living.
 

James

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We are using a bit of trickery but nothing too bad, we are avoiding fake reviews. You would be surprised how quickly you can get to a level 5 just by reviewing places you have actually been in the last 12 months, when you then consider the questions that google asks you about these places and the points that come with that the point rack up.

In addition to the above adding photos and suggesting edits is a pretty quick way to level up too. Adding a missing business with a typo in the name and then correcting the name as an edit, then adding the times as another edit, then adding the website as another edit then adding further info as another edit etc is all adding the maps program and getting way more points than you perhaps would if you just did things all in one go. They might add a few shady reviews from time to time but I keep an eye on it and its not just a case of blasting out 1000 reviews ASAP.

I also advised they dont leave average or poor reviews because I dont want the accounts to get the wrong kind of attention.
 
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