The Problem With Review Sites

Review sites can be a great source of information with reviews from actual customers or feedback on a product, service, or type of business. However,  a general trend is that a website owner develops and promotes a review site; Some have real information while others may have artificially generated data. In some verticals, competitors will create false or bogus reviews for their competition.

The problem that exists with some review sites is they turn out to be a form of online extortion for businesses that show up or get listed. Once a review site gains some traction in a particular market or niche, they are typically marketed to the businesses in that niche under the auspices of pay, or you won’t be able to manage or contest anything negative that might show up as a review or rating.

With the advent of review and rating sites and the growth of social media; a new industry call Online Reputation Management has been created. Companies that perform reputation management services will work with various rating, review or social media sites to bury or remove negative online information.

Has your business been unfairly characterized or slandered on a review or ratings site? Share your story with our readers below. Have you dealt with a review or ratings site that wanted you to pay before you could negative information about your company?

How To Track Social Media ROI White-paper

Compete.com has written a whitebook / white-paper on Tracking Social Media ROI.

Excerpt:

“In the past estimating Social Media ROI was acceptable.

Social Media is a fairly new communications medium and activity that is often considered to be “free” and available to everyone. With abundant free and low cost tools and platforms to create, promote, monitor and analyze social media content businesses and individuals, excited about what Social Media can do for them, too often assume that measurement of Social Media can be taken care of as more of an afterthought. ”

Get your copy of How To Track Social Media ROI today (click link)

Craigslist Phone Authentication and Internet Marketing

It’s March 31st, 2010 and my stats indicate that nearly 40% of all my inbound traffic this month is related to craigslist phone authentication not working. It’s amazing how many Internet marketers or Craigslist users are trying to figure out to work around the phone authentication issue.

I’d like to propose one thought on why this is such a big issue  right now; Too many online marketers put all their eggs in one basket. Lots of folks discovered that Craigslist was a good marketing alternative to understanding how to use Google or some of the other major search engines, directories, blogs, classified ads, or other marketing tools.

Now, Craigslist has implemented phone authentication which for many does not appear to be working at all and I have not seen one valid work-around or a post that would indicate someone has figured out how to get around Craigslist phone authentication.

So where does that leave the folks that have staked their entire online business model with Craigslist? Time to try something different. I’m guessing that some creative folks out there will develop a Craiglist alternative or develop a list of really good classified ad sites.

It’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket, just as many marketers discovered when Google turned off their Adwords account for no understandable reason.

Marketers used numerous classified ad sites before Craigslist so why would they have stopped? Craigslist was too easy. If online marketing was easy, everyone would be doing it. Online marketing takes time, effort, and some good old fashioned hard work from time to time.

Here’s my advice if your business is crashing because you can’t authenticate your Craigslist account. Try something different. Don’t stand by and watch your business tank, and what ever you do in the future plan on being more diversified in your traffic sources.

See my original article and thread here: Craigslist Phone Authentication

Shameless plug for two classified ad sites:

Text, Images and Cell Phones

This is odd article for me, but I want to make a point regarding the use of text and images on your website. Many folks embed their phone number or contact information in a header graphic or image on their website, but don’t post contact information anywhere in text for the search engines or folks using cell phones. More and more Internet users are using their cell phones with data to search for business listings. All the stats show cell phone use for browsing the Internet is increasing.

It only makes sense that you should put your phone number or contact information as text somewhere on your site. The other nice thing about this is that most cell phones detect a phone number displayed as text so the user only has to click on the phone number to dial the number they are trying to reach.

Here are two sites I like to visit, but notice how the phone number is embedded in an image leaving no way to simply click a number to reach the business.

dallas-bike-works

I’ll give them both some link love here, but I think the point is clear. Don’t embed important information in a graphic unless you are intentionally trying to hide it.

cto-networks

As more and more cell phone users utilize their data connections to find businesses and listings online, it is imperative that website owner ensure  that their websites are cell phone friendly.

Is your website cell phone friendly? One last item that folks overlook are JavaScript based navigation. While most cell phones with web browsers support java, I’ve yet to find one that can support Java based drop down menus. If your website has JavaScript drop down menus, make sure you’ve got the text equivalent on your site-map or a cell phone friendly page.

Twitter Results on Google and Bing

Most know that Twitter results are now being displayed on Google and Bing. But how quickly do potential results appear? I did a quick test on both Google and Bing. See screen shots below for “watch olympics live online”

As you’ll see in the first screen shot, Google shows two results on my initial search.

twitter-results-google

On my second query, I first posted my search phrase in a tweet. The results are amazing. Google displayed my tweet in about 60 seconds (that’s fast!!)
Notice the Twitter post highlighted by yellow. Google shows the time in which the tweet was posted. Google also displays Twitter results in its SERPs / organic listings. Also, notice in my second search, Google displays Twitter results in an active news scroller. Google certainly does a better job at displaying Twitter search results than Bing. (see Bing results in last image)

twitter-indexed-google1

Bing Twitter results: While Bing did display my test tweet I’m not sure if Bind displayed it as quickly as Google. I’ll need to run another test or two.
One of the things I don’t care for in Bing Twitter results is that you need to know enough  to go to http://www.bing.com/twitter/ – The method that would seem to make the most for searchers is to just display Twitter results directly in SERPs as Google does. It also appears that Google results from Twitter are a bit more relevant than  (I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Do you care if results show up in SERPs or on a dedicated page?)

twitter-results-bing