Linda Buquet

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Yesterday, helping someone on the Google forum I stumbled across new Photo guidelines for Google Local+. Most made sense but a couple made me scratch my head and think "this is going to be a problem". Then my friend Miriam Ellis blogged it this AM and it turns out she has some of the same concerns/questions I did. See the new guidelines, my thoughts, Miriam's post and comments below.

<center><img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/NoLogos.jpg" alt="" title="NoLogos" width="331" height="203" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-6123" /></center>

MAJOR CORRECTION 7/26 3:20 PST: Just saw a Tweet from Blumenthal. He says these guidelines are for USER image uploads NOT Business owner uploads. So both Miriam and I took it wrong.

But Google does not explain ANYWHERE it's for users and MANY others including concerned business owner on the forum thought it was for business owners too. So not our fault as much as just poor Google communication. Still kinda embarrassing. :eek: Sorry!
More info here - Mike's Tweet.

Another update 8/8 Jade just let me know they were able to get those guidelines changed and they no longer prohibit user photos of people or logos providing they are related to or appropriate for the business. See the link below and you'll see the guidelines have been updated.

Official Google Guidelines Below
<strong><a href="http://support.google.com/plus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2689731">Google+ Local photo guidelines</a></strong>

These are the guidelines used to determine which photos are appropriate for Google+ Local pages.

If a photo is determined to be inappropriate for a specific Google+ Local page, then it is removed from that +page. At the same time, the original photo will still exist in the album of the user who uploaded the photo.

Photos that are uploaded to Google+ Local pages should be relevant. Specifically they should:

<strong>- Not be graphical logos

- Not be merely text, unless it is relevant to the place, for example the menu of a restaurant or a photo of the storefront with large fonts

- Not be copyrighted

- Not be screenshots

- Not have people as the main subject

- Be of respectable quality. Photos that are overly blurry, noisy, rotated, or too dark may be removed</strong>

If your photo has been removed from a Google+ Local page, you can appeal it through
<a href="http://support.google.com/plus/bin/request.py?contact_type=photo_appeal">this form</a>

So my 1st concern is logos. I've seen fairly subtle comments from Googlers in the forum that lead me to believe they didn't really want logos. BUT didn't know it was an official guideline. WHY? Almost everyone adds their logo to their Place page/G+ Local page. It's called branding Google. You even have a logo you feature everywhere, right???

So in other words she really wants PHOTOS not graphics. But then in #4 she says she does not really want people pics either??? What? That really limits lots of images that many businesses need to show to illustrate what they do. Smiling patients for Dentists, Family and Wedding photos for photogs, I could go on.

Miriam makes some great points: <strong><a href="http://www.solaswebdesign.net/wordpress/?p=1244">Google+ Local’s Photo Guidelines, or, Sorry Dentists, You’re Sunk!</a></strong>

Miriam nails it when she says "<em>Not have people as the main subject (<strong>so, sorry to all you dentists who think a big toothy smile is the best showcase of what you can do for patients, and while we’re at it, stop those happy elders showing off on your assisted living organization’s Google+ Local page and as for those family portraits rendered by your photography studio, well, you’d better knock that off right now.</strong>)</em>

Another thing I wonder about re the pic rule is profile photos of the business owner and/or staff. For many professional service businesses like Dentists, Doctors, Lawyers that is primarily what they want to show - a pic of the provider and/or staff. Not my fav type of image to show on Places I do, but it's relevant. Now it's a no-no?

Kinda conflicts with all the emphasis they put on author photos and the fact that your profile pic MUST be a head shot of you. Seems they are really pushing for transparent personal photos - EXCEPT if it's a + Local page. Then they just want photos of what? The building? The equipment? The product?

Well what if the product is YOU? As is the case with lawyers for instance, then what? Can't show a pic of yourself? Oh and if you are a divorce lawyer, you are really out of luck because you can't show a pic of a family either!

What do you guys think???

"HEY all you Lurkers! Register & Join the Conversation!" :)
 

Russ

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Haven't I said repeatedly that Google has no clue about small business? This is just the most idiotic thing I have ever heard of!

I'm going to delete all the photos in my Local Plus profile then I'm going to proceed to take a logo and upload it EVERYWHERE! Then watch Google find them, "the logo" and put it in the local plus profile on their own.

Watch the hypocrisy ensue!
 

Vince Gere

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I sure hope Marissa, over at Yahoo, shows those two idiots running Google how to do local search right.

Who the hell is running Google local anyways? Some engineer geek that doesn't like people and plays fantasy games, in his spare time, in his parents' basement?

Duh!

nerd1.jpg

nerd1.jpg
 

Linda Buquet

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Who the hell is running Google local anyways? Some engineer geek that doesn't like people and plays fantasy games, in his spare time, in his parents' basement?
M&D New Display.jpg

LOL Vince. Maybe that's the problem! :p
 
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Okay, so what exactly can you put on your Google Plus Local page?

Small business owners want to market and brand their business on their pages.

What is Google's Mission statement when it comes to the new Plus Local pages? They should spell it out clearly so small business owners and SEO's can stop scratching our heads.

It is totally reasonable to have a photo policy to avoid spam, porn, and copyright violations, but that is where it should end. Facebook came out with strict image guidelines on their new business timelines but nobody is listening and they don't seem to care. Maybe someone told them their image rules were stupid!

The reality is, small businesses like to showcase their logo. Professionals like to post a photo of themselves and in some cases their entire team online. Why should a small business owner invest time and resources to a neutered page?

Does the team at Google Local have anyone there that has ever worked at or owned a small business? Are they really that out of touch with the real world or is there some nefarious ulterior motive at work?

I work with small business owners everyday. Some have seen there local listing drop out of site, reviews disappear, and many are complaining that they cannot get customers to leave reviews on Google plus because of the extra hoops they must jump through.

Some business owners are directing their customers to leave reviews on Yelp, and other review sources and are cutting their adwords advertising.

Word of advice to the lords of Google... create a small business panel comprised of real small business owners, doctors, electricians, plumbers, restaurant owners, etc... and listen to them!

These are real people with employees, some are struggling to survive and Google's lack of empathy is starting to resonate in the small business world.

If Google truly wants to be business partners with small businesses, they need to drop the mightier than thou attitude and start listening to the little guys out here.

The new photo policy is just another example of how out of touch they are with the small business world!
 

Russ

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Honestly I think they want to drive people to use Adwords. Truth
 

Linda Buquet

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Jeffrey, could not agree with you more. It's sad!

Russ, you may be right but so far I'm kinda liking Vince's answer best. :p
 

Linda Buquet

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OOPs, just edited post and added this:

MAJOR CORRECTION 7/26 3:20 PST: Just saw a Tweet from Blumenthal. He says these guidelines are for USER image uploads NOT Business owner uploads. So both Miriam and I took it wrong.

But it does not explain it ANYWHERE on that page, so it's not our fault as much as it is Google just not being clear.
Still kinda embarrassing. :eek: Sorry!
Mike's Tweet.
 

Dr Gil

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WOW Linda,

They have done it again to us. No more beautiful smiles from the dentists. I guess the folks at G would like to see photos of root canals, extractions and anesthetic injections!! Unreal. How does a portrait or wedding photographer show their business?? The dentists will be hurt badly by this, I think, except for some of the dentistry specialists.

I am still trying to figure out G+ and now this. Thanks for all of your info.

Gil

  • :D
 

Linda Buquet

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Heya Gil, so glad you could join us!

You may have been posting while I was adding an update.

Please see the post right above yours. I jumped to wrong conclusion and it appears that was not image rules for business owners - just for users. BUT the page does not explain anything to clarify that AT ALL!

So sorry to say everyone can ignore this whole post. Sorry I wasted all your time AND mine creating the image, making the post and promoting it. Google you need to do a better job with your help docs! :mad:
 

Dr Gil

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I hope this is the signal for Yahoo & Bing to become "big boys" & overtake the big G!
 
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@ Jeffrey Taylor

Word of advice to the lords of Google... create a small business panel comprised of real small business owners, doctors, electricians, plumbers, restaurant owners, etc... and listen to them!

If I may revise...

Word of advice to the lords of Google... create a small business panel comprised of LINDA BUQUET and real small business owners, doctors, electricians, plumbers, restaurant owners, etc... and listen to them!
 

Linda Buquet

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Thanks Don!

I just was a one person panel today and told upper management at Google what I thought about the issue of having to mark your business as permanently closed when you move and offered a few solutions. :mad: Trying hard to make progress BUT it's just really hard sometimes. :(
 

Chris Ratchford

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Wow. I read this post first thing this morning about about threw my computer out the window. :eek:

Thank god I read Blumenthal's clarification.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hey Jo - great to have you here!

FYI all - I just finally had time to escalate this to Google. There are a bunch of complaints and confusion coming in on the Google forum too.

I just escalated to Jade and said that page needs to be properly labeled to avoid confusion. Silly Google...
 

Jo Shaer

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Hi Linda
I just cant believe that YOU have to go on and 'escalate' it. Why don't they monitor it and work it out themselves?

I guess it's like everything technical. Those who write the software and make the decisions never get someone not involved with the process to read the manual. They make assumptions about the level of understanding of the user. And we all know that will make an ASS out of U and ME. And sometimes they just leave out crucial info or write it in such a way that it is ambiguous.

Grrrr....


90 minutes til kick off here. In traditional British fashion, we are all keeping our fingers crossed that the technical stuff will work at all :)
 

Linda Buquet

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For grins, here are the 2 threads at the Google forum where folks are complaining and/or confused.

<a href="http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/business/TF_XtHWlbnI/discussion">What to Use for Images on +Local (Based on the New Guidelines)</a>

<a href="http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/business/RQEh4UFxMK0">Jade: Could you provide clarity on image guidelines?</a>

Waiting for answer from Jade.
 

Jo Shaer

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Everyone spending hours going round in pointless circles :)

Yet another reason for guidelines to be read by people external to the main body so that 'interpretations' can be taken into account and the language adjusted accordingly.

Although, of course, then you run the risk of it sounding like a legal document... :)
 
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