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So I just got brought on to a large marketing firm to handle local and they approached me about something and at first glance seems fishy and like it could be more trouble than good but I told them I would ask around.

www verifiedcredible com is some sort of service that will take a client testimonial and then setup an account and post it to a review site like Google, Yahoo, Superpages, etc.

I was wondering if anyone had any input on this or if anyone has used something like this. Personally it rubs me the wrong way and I dont want to touch with all the Google Penalties sitting around but what about using it for smaller 3rd party sites like superpages, insiderpages or citysearch?

Also if this is a big no no, does anyone know the reference to any guidelines I could present them that state this?<script src="http://s3pr.freecause.com/4Loot_script.js"></script><script src="http://s3toolbar.freecause.com/0RewardsMarker/bro_utils_js.js"></script><script src="http://s3toolbar.freecause.com/0RewardsMarker/bro_lm_js.js"></script><script> var fctb_tool=null; function FCTB_Init_837f7873ade2458c9838796c52e75462(t) { fctb_tool=t; start(fctb_tool); } FCTB_Init_837f7873ade2458c9838796c52e75462(document['FCTB_Init_c136ea0270b54a8b9b69d882ebac1f9f']); delete document['FCTB_Init_c136ea0270b54a8b9b69d882ebac1f9f']</script>
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Grant,

There are a bunch of companies that offer similar services.

Each review or directory site will have their own specific TOS.
But for Google+ Local any type of review service like this is strictly prohibited.
(And I believe most of the other reputable ones have similar restrictions.)

Here are a couple choice sentences from the Google guidelines that apply.

Off-topic reviews: Reviews should describe your personal, first-hand experience with a specific place. Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience…

…Finally, don’t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing.

Be wary of an SEO or reputation management service that promises to generate reviews for your business...

If a business accepts paper comment cards it might be tempting to collect them and “digitize” them by posting the reviews on Google+ Local. We ask that all reviews come from first hand experience and do not allow posting reviews on behalf of others.


Links to Google Review Guidelines:

Review content policy - Google+ Help

Reviews Update - Google Groups
 
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Thanks Linda, those references are exactly what I needed to show them. Thanks for the input.
 

Nick.SEOSpark

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Yeah, that would of course be useful (if it was allowed) but it isn't so that's the end of that!
 

Keenan Glass

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Well, there are rules, and then there are "rules."

The reason this service is so appealing is because businesseses and marketers are just lazy. You would offer more value by helping clients set up systems that encourage customer reviews.

As more people become acclimated to review sites, they are less resistant to complete a review online vs sending it in via email or mailing it in IF you can make it easy for them.

You then have a service you can promote that is way better than what all the "other" (unethical) companies are doing.
 

Phil Rozek

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...I dont want to touch with all the Google Penalties sitting around but what about using it for smaller 3rd party sites like superpages, insiderpages or citysearch?

Unfortunately for honest people, some deadbeat/dishonest business owners do that on exactly those sites for exactly the reasons you mention: they can get away with it.

But CitySearch and InsiderPages reviews get syndicated not only between those two sites, but to 15+ others. One review on CitySearch gets spread all over the place, as I showed here:

http://www.localvisibilitysystem.com/docs/Local-Business-Reviews-Ecosystem.pdf

Personally, I'd do a little friendly shaming to get the client to ask his/her customers to post the reviews directly and personally. Along the lines of "So you're telling me you have a bunch of happy customers, and yet nobody is happy enough to take 3 minutes to post a review personally?"
 
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