Google AIS Custom Search

dealerrater (3) 

Man Bites Dog? A Way to Fight the Deleted Google Reviews Dilemma

No different than numerous dealers, a client of mine, 25-year dealer Mohammad Ahmed―president of Northend Motors in Canton, Mass., in the Boston area―had numerbous positive reviews, all collected legitimately through very satisfied customers, stripped from his Google Places listing. Before this action, his dealership rated a score of 28 out of 30, which by Google standards is defined as “Extraordinary to Perfection.”


Removing his 145 legitimate positive reviews is one thing, but Google chose to leave six negativereviews and three negative scores without reviews―he has collected one positive review since. His dealership score has fallen to a 5, which is defined as “Poor to Fair” by Google.


According to articles posted by industry experts online, 70 percent of customers are using online reviews as part of their consideration as to where to buy. The results of Google’s actions have had a devastating effect on Northend Motors, even though they have hundreds of other reviews posted on CitySearch, Dealer Rater, InsiderPages and Yahoo.


Mohammad is not alone! Many other dealers all over the country have noticed the same thing.


How can you possibly fight a company like Google―which is so big and all-encompassing―where you have no real customer service contact and their own sales and engineering sides do not even communicate on their changed algorithm issues? E-mails sure aren’t going to do any good.


My brainstorm today was for Mohammad to do what so many consumers seem to do when they have a problem with their car … contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. It may have worked. If you, too, have had a problem, I suggest you take similar action immediately!

The following is directly from Mohammad: 

I called FTC, (877) 382-4357, and also used and (Internet company complaints). I have not filed a complaint in writing yet because the person I spoke to on the phone took the complaint over the phone. My complaint number is 39764404. After I explained in five minutes what Google had done throughout the country to good businesses, she was very receptive and (she) also said this doesn't help the consumer because they are only seeing the bad reviews. ‘They should see both, only then a consumer can make an educated decision.’ She recommended that we should have every business that we know and dealership that we know file a complaint and that will speed up this process because this is unfair to business and to consumers.”

Mohammad also reached out to his attorney general. He was less successful there since Massachusetts only takes complaints from individuals—not businesses. However, they thanked him and gave him a feeling that even though they don’t take complaints from businesses, if they received enough calls they would take their own action. Each state has its own position, so don’t rely solely on Massachusetts’ stance.

If you are a dealer or dealership employee, this is where you come in. Have you checked your Google reviews? If you haven’t, you should. Nearly every client I have has found their positive reviews have disappeared. A prominent dealer and client of mine in central Kansas had hundreds of reviews and ascore of 29 disappear, leaving but four negative reviews that averaged five-and-half-months old. They now have nine reviews (five new) and no score. Any doubt how that impacts a business?

I am not an attorney, but my opinion is what Google has done reeks of a deceptive trade practice (treble damages), and I think it could well cross the line of libel.

If you have the same problem, I urge you to call the FTC using the number Mohammad provided. He said you are welcome to reference his case number. I would also recommend you contact your state attorney general’s office.

Very few dealers, no matter their size, can have an immediate impact with a company the size of Google. The federal and state governments can. Google just paid a $22 million fine recently (I know, a drop in the bucket for them), and they will have to answer to the FTC.

It is their business, and they can cause changes like this at will, unless it materially misrepresents what your customers previously posted. Removing your positive reviews and leaving negative ones does just that. You may never get your positive reviews back, but just as the woman at the FTC said, leaving the old negative reviews just isn’t right. Hopefully, they will relent and repost the positive reviews; but if not, with enough of a voice against them, I would think they will quickly remove the old reviews as well.

Thanks for your ears today. Good selling, and for once, maybe the FTC can be viewed as a friend of the dealership as opposed to the bad guys. Go do your part!

Best regards,


Greg Goebel, CEO

Auto Dealer Monthly, LLC

Source -

Read more…

Google Places Out, Google+ Local Takes Over

Last night several new rollouts were seen in Google+ Local, seeming to merge Google Places accounts into the newest social search display of your Google+ dashboard. Here's what we've seen in our research about the new way search and reviews are changing for Car Dealers for automotive internet marketing on Google.

Do the new changes show in Google Search today?

As of this article's publishing, no. However, we're sure its only a matter of time before the Google+ Local becomes integrated into your standard search engine results page from Google. Where can you find the new Google+ Local Search? Log into your Google+ account. You'll find the new Local button on the left dash.

From there, the Search boxes at the top are broken down into two uses: What you're looking for | Where.

In the following example, we went looking for "jeep dealers" in "Philadelphia, PA". Just like in Google search, the auto complete starts as you begin to type, and its obvious some of the "Categories" from Google Places have made it over to Google+ Local.

What do Google+ Local Search Results Look Like?

From the looks of the new search results, Google has been busy! Immediately we're presented with a new layout of information. You've got your standard Company Name, Address in a lighter color text, then your overall review score, At a Glance terms, and a quote from your most recent review. Photos are a bigger deal taking up a larger portion of the listing.

Even more shocking, where did your star ratings go? Some car dealerships will notice that reviews have been dropped in the transition, something we hope Google notices and fixes in the future. (Read more about reviews below)

While Google has dedicated more room to the first photo of your account, and the new reviews rating system, it has left a lot of the "Where did that come from" information on the listing, namely the "At a glance" terms.

I was fortunate enough to have spoken with some of the Google Places team at a conference earlier this year and I asked them where the "known-for" or At a Glance terms came from. Their response: "even we don't know", its another part of a Google formula most of the Google Places team is not familiar with, or was unable to comment on. My speculation, its from an old patent Google applied for several years ago surrounding actionable or descriptive wording. Type "great customer service" in a review, Google might be grabbing those  descripters after positive or negative indicators.

The map display with pins is nothing new along the right side of search results and the "Key To Ratings" helps describe how the review values have changed.

30 is the new 5! Big Reviews Change for Car Dealers on Google+ Local

There have been many changes in the way review information is handled in Google+ Local. First point of business, they've moved away from the STAR value reviews. Its now apparent Google's acquisition of Zagat several months ago was only the beginning, as  they've rolled out No Stars, but a point scale ranging from Zero to 30. This also brings up the question, will Google move away from displaying Star values in standard SERPs from other sources like Yelp & DealerRater, only time will tell.

Past reviews are there, some have been dropped, but most have made it over. The new 0 to 3 values are a departure from 1 to 5 stars. Perhaps this is an answer to the requests from review writers to be able to give a Zero star rating in the past, so Dealers be warned, no longer can you score a 1, you can be a zero. The overall formula is pretty simple to grasp. Previous reviews are still rated in a conversion of 5 stars now equals 3, averages are made, and then multiplied by 10, rounded and there's your 30 points.

When writing new reviews on Google+ Local, you're prompted for 3 different ratings. As seen in the screen shot above, Google is asking for your feedback based on different "Labels" or areas of review. By default, the systems asks you for a 0 to 3 rating on Quality, Appeal & Service. It appears right now that there are no specific review types for "Car Dealer", so hopefully this will be a change in the future. Even when testing and writing for this article, we found different variations for the "Labels" that were available, first only 5 selections, then by mid-day 7.

Its easy to see that once enough of these new reviews have been created, Google will roll out the individual Label ratings like they do for restaurants; the threshold at which point that will turn on was not apparent in our testing like it is for Places (the star rating turned on when you hit 5 reviews).

Photos, Reviews now pop on Business Listing

The company name is still front and center, but if its more than 33 characters its currently being cut off after character 32 with an ellipsis (...). For some reason, the address is in the listing info twice, once under the company name, and again under About. Fancy new icons represent different parts of the data. Phone number and Toll-Free numbers are displayed but not labeled, and the website URL seems to stand out less. Categories carried over from Google Places, along with the Hours of Business. We'll be watching the "actions" in the Google Places metrics to see how this new layout changes the way customers use the listing.

If you're wondering where all the time you spent picking those 5 key categories went, and now you're only seeing 2 or 3, click on the new Categories terms, and you'll see a list of hidden items, who really knows why they didn't display all by default, there's certainly enough room.

Your standard Description from the old Places listing has been brought over and is now called "From the owner:". The once large, bright red "Write a Review" button has changed to a more soothing white text on light blue. Another more transparent black on white Review button has also been added at the bottom of the page.

Abilities to Google +1, Share (only on Google+ of course) and upload a picture have all been added or moved around, but are in a logical flow as buttons under the Map on the right side of the listing.

Hopefully, the amount of personal data that is now displayed via the Google+ profile when you leave a review will discourage those hit and run negative reviewers.

Claiming and Optimizing your new Google+ Local page

Not much has changed when it comes to claiming your listing, even Google admits this process is the same as it has been.

You're still presented with the old Google Places claim interface asking for verification.

However, from the outside trying to update an unclaimed or claimed listing that is not yours, the editing screen is significantly different, as seen in this screen shot.

You can now select which part of data is incorrect and how it should be corrected. While the old radio buttons are still available a level or two down into the editing screen, there's more specificity to your edit suggestion.


What's a Car Dealer to do now that Google+ Local is taking over Google Places?

Go with the flow. Google is just asking you to do what it feels is best business practices. Claim your account, add a description, photos of the staff & showroom, pick the right default categories, fix your marker, ask for reviews in the service lane and at sales.

Start to focus on social indicators like Google and Bing are now doing. They want a personalized feeling for your customers, and increased engagement with social factors like +1, Shares, Tweets, Links and Likes.

Expect that the next change is just around the corner, and when Google flips the switch you'll need to be on the cutting edge to keep up with automotive internet marketing.

UPDATE! As of May 30th @ 5pm Eastern:
There seems to have been an update to Google Maps searches, but not to Google SERPs for straight search. What we're seeing now is if you do a search in "Maps", it now displays the new Google+ Local review ratings and upon clicking "XX reviews" are brought to the new G+ L listing page. Interesting, we'll see if tomorrow brings us the actual Google Search change.

Source - 

Read more…

DealerRater 101 - Intro for Canadians

18 Oct 2010

DealerRater your new Ally?

DealerRater, Social Media No Comments
DealerRater Revie page

DealerRater Dealer page

Just last month my girlfriend and I made a last minute decision to drive to Manhattan for the weekend. Without months to plan the trip we needed to book a hotel quickly. After spending only one night scouring, Trip Advisor, Travelocity, and another dozen sites, we settled on a destination. The hotel turned out to be great and the user review sites really helped us make the right decision in choosing our crash pad for the 3-day excursion.

Enter the car dealership. When I was on the sales floor I quickly understood that referrals and word of mouth were a big part of our business. Dealers should realize that it is just as important to be aware of what potential customers are reading and writing about their dealership. If you want to do a quick test, try typing “Toronto Toyota” in a Google search and make note of the dealers that appear beside the map (7 pack in geek terms). You will see that beside the phone number, the reviews of these dealerships are showcased. Such powerful reviews are just one click away from your potential customers. Ratings can be posted directly on your Google Place page or extracted from various review sites such as DealerRater. Want to see a dealer that has hit it right out of the Rogers Center on to Front Street? Try typing “Toyota dealer MA”. The last time I checked this dealer, Acton Toyota, it had 1,019 reviews associated with their dealership listing, with the vast majority of reviews coming directly fromDealerRater. Since Google Maps is so visible, it is critical for a dealership to have their page loaded with positive reviews from their customer base.

What the heck is DealerRater? –

Founded in 2002, DealerRater® established the first car dealer review website worldwide. As a social network and user review website, features more than 30,000 US and International car dealers, 190,000 user reviews and over 1,000,000 classified ads. The site attracts more than 3 million consumers every year who visit the site to search for car dealerships, read current reviews, write their own descriptive reviews, and find car deals – all for free. Car dealers are rated on the criteria of customer service, quality of work, friendliness, price and overall experience. In addition, both consumers and car dealerships may post free auto classified ads. DealerRater’s users may request vehicle quotes and the company’s Certified Dealers receive free vehicle leads.

Source –

How do I make DealerRater work for me?

With more than 250,000 people joining the DealerRater user community each month, DealerRater is quickly becoming an important online resource for anyone seeking third-party information on car dealerships. The site is equally important to today’s car dealers for a number of reasons. DealerRater helps Dealers stay in touch with customer feedback and also gives Dealers access to an ever expanding market of potential customers. In addition, the content on DealerRater’s site is jam-packed with customer reviews and classified ads, all of which appear in organic Google Search results. As a result, as a dealer you are able to expand your online presence and achieve higher search engine ranking across the Web with the help of DealerRater’s user-generated site content.

But what about negative customer reviews that may pop up from time to time? Through DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, DealerRater offers qualified dealers the opportunity to actively monitor and respond to customer reviews and save relationships. Certified Dealers can take advantage of a two-week reconciliation period to communicate with unsatisfied customers through a privatewebsite panel before negative reviews are publicly posted. Given this key feature of DealerRater’s Certified Dealer Program, as a Certified Dealer you can actively manage your online reputation and address customer feedback, enabling you to retain more customers and generate increased business.

Automotive Marketing

Dealer Panel

Another interesting feature DealerRater offers its Certified Dealers involves complete integration with the popular social networking site, Facebook. This recent addition offered by DealerRater allows a Dealer’s most recent positive user reviews to automatically feed to a custom tab on the Dealer’s Facebook Page, which is updated real time. A Dealer’s classified ads also can feed to a custom tab on the Dealer’s Facebook Page, and are updated daily. As a result, as a Certified Dealer, you can draw leads directly from your Facebook fan page.Additional Program Highlights

  • Positive Review Testimonial Feed – As a Certified Dealer, your most recent 10 positive reviews feed to your website and automatically update as new reviews are added, enabling you to gain instant website client testimonials that are labeled “Powered By”.
  • Unlimited Vehicle Leads - Certified Dealers receive instant email alerts for all leads generated for their brand in their state. Leads can be fed directly into a CRM system.
  • Employee Review Pages - Certified Dealers have “MyReviews Pages” for your employees to showcase their respective reviews.
  • Unlimited Auto Classified Ads -As a Certified Dealer, you can place an unlimited number of auto classified ads on DealerRater’s website. Ads also appear on and in organic Google search results. DealerRater provides inventory upload management from your Dealer Management System to the DealerRater database. Dealers can list vehicles with multiple photos and Dealer notes to generate leads on specific vehicles in your inventory.

There are a number of user- based review sites all over the Web that dealerships can utilize. DealerRater has created a model that works for both the buyer and the seller. Stop storing those thank you cards on your desk and start getting those positive reviews in front of potential customers.

By: Ryan Thompson

Ryan is an active on-line marketer, blogger, and Canadian Account Manager for Car Chat 24

Read more…