Google Places Reviews - How to Monitor Them?

by MarkR 60 replies
I'm interested in monitoring new reviews that show up on Google Places. I have about 20-25 Places listings I want to monitor.

I want to be notified when a new review is made, but only for "Google" reviews - directly from people with Google accounts. So, I'm not interested in reviews from Yelp, Judy's book, etc.

Is there an automated or semi-automated way to do this?
#offline marketing #google #monitor #places #reviews
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  • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
    did you ever find an answer to this ?
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  • Profile picture of the author k60mall
    The only thing I use is Google alerts but you will get alerts from everywhere including yelp etc.

    Keith
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    • Profile picture of the author rbrShorty
      Online Reviews Tool - Learn How To Ask Your Best Customers for Online Reviews | myReviewsPage

      Covers Google Places. If you don't need the others, don't set them. The tool is free.

      Greetings,
      Nyagoslav
      OptiLocal
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      • Profile picture of the author eshera
        Be careful with them, I signed up three of my clients only to find out they turned around and called them to offer "their" services...remember Free is not every really FREE...
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        • Profile picture of the author rotten72
          Originally Posted by eshera View Post

          Be careful with them, I signed up three of my clients only to find out they turned around and called them to offer "their" services...remember Free is not every really FREE...
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        • Profile picture of the author doncampbell
          Originally Posted by eshera View Post

          Be careful with them, I signed up three of my clients only to find out they turned around and called them to offer "their" services...remember Free is not every really FREE...
          eshra - if you are talking about MyReviewsPage that is absolutely not true. We have never called anyone who signed up for it. The reviews monitoring dashboard and email notifications are free.

          The problem we are having with it right now, is that Google does not have an API to get reviews for a business (Yelp, Yahoo, CitySearch, Bing all do...) so getting the Google reviews is challenging (we have to screen scrape, which breaks when they change the screen layout...)

          -Don
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          • Profile picture of the author eshera
            Don,

            Mean no disrespect what so ever, I just tried out the service (on a Thursday afternoon) for 3 of my best clients, and someone did call two of them on Friday to offer SEO type services from a "review site". I apologize, perhaps it was just a coincidence, however one of my clients was very unhappy and I had to "put out some fires" to appease him.

            Again, sorry if I was mistaken, but the timing seemed interesting as they are both very small ma and pop operations.
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            • Profile picture of the author MarkR
              @thedealmaker, Thanks. That looks good. I have an email into them to see if they monitor Google Places reviews, and get pricing. Not a very useful sales page at all.

              @doncampbell, thanks for responding. You have some comments on your plugin page that we are waiting on a response to. Please update us on any progress toward fixing the Google issue. I hope you subscribed to this thread.
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              • Profile picture of the author doncampbell
                Originally Posted by MarkR View Post

                @thedealmaker, Thanks. That looks good. I have an email into them to see if they monitor Google Places reviews, and get pricing. Not a very useful sales page at all.

                @doncampbell, thanks for responding. You have some comments on your plugin page that we are waiting on a response to. Please update us on any progress toward fixing the Google issue. I hope you subscribed to this thread.
                Hi Mark,
                Thanks - you are right I’m way overdue on responding to those comments. I just went there and responded. Basically, we've halted development on the plugin until we have a better way of pulling the review information from Google. They do not have an API, and we've tried all manner of scraping and parsing, including using their mobile site because it changes less frequently. But they are updating and changing things so fast now that it isn't sustainable for us. Its hard to believe they don't have an API for this information yet, especially when Yelp, Bing, CitySearch and others do!
                Once Google has an API for this we'll look at it again.
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            • Profile picture of the author doncampbell
              Originally Posted by eshera View Post

              Don,

              Mean no disrespect what so ever, I just tried out the service (on a Thursday afternoon) for 3 of my best clients, and someone did call two of them on Friday to offer SEO type services from a "review site". I apologize, perhaps it was just a coincidence, however one of my clients was very unhappy and I had to "put out some fires" to appease him.

              Again, sorry if I was mistaken, but the timing seemed interesting as they are both very small ma and pop operations.
              Hi eshera,
              No worries. I can see how your customer would perceive that. So many of my customers are getting calls from these call centers promising all kinds of things. And they are really aggressive too. I can assure you the calls weren't from us though. There is only two of us; no call centers
              Anyway, thanks for filling me in on what happened.
              -Don
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          • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
            Originally Posted by doncampbell View Post

            eshra - if you are talking about MyReviewsPage that is absolutely not true. We have never called anyone who signed up for it. The reviews monitoring dashboard and email notifications are free.

            The problem we are having with it right now, is that Google does not have an API to get reviews for a business (Yelp, Yahoo, CitySearch, Bing all do...) so getting the Google reviews is challenging (we have to screen scrape, which breaks when they change the screen layout...)

            -Don
            Google Alerts at work


            Thomas
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      • Profile picture of the author sandalwood
        Originally Posted by rbrShorty View Post

        Online Reviews Tool - Learn How To Ask Your Best Customers for Online Reviews | myReviewsPage

        Covers Google Places. If you don't need the others, don't set them. The tool is free.

        Greetings,
        Nyagoslav
        OptiLocal
        I clicked on your link and found this message on the page:

        We're sorry - new signups have been disabled until we can fix problems retrieving review information from Google Places.

        Guess we are out of luck for the moment...
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  • Profile picture of the author JustSomeWarrior
    I don't have a suggestion for doing it automatically, like that. My old computer repair company had something like 20 listings. We were constantly encouraging customers to give us positive reviews. This lead to boosted rankings, but also helped me realize where any negative reviews were right away!
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  • Profile picture of the author ADHardwick
    You could probably pay someone to build a scraping script and email the results or something. You could even scrape the pages and then import it into an XML format and email you when it finds certain negative keywords.

    I would set up a simple wordpress site that only you can see.
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  • Profile picture of the author raphnexx
    @Mark ,have you used ratepoint? I think this is related in this topic.RatePoint offers user straightforward way to find , monitor, and enhance business reviews.

    Here's the link: http://www.ratepoint.com/
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  • Profile picture of the author DillonPatterson
    Banned
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  • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
    Here is a good one that I have been tested:

    WatchThatPage - Monitor web pages extract new information
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  • Profile picture of the author fitzpatg
    There is an excellent webpage by Karen Blakeman of RBA Information Services that lists and reviews 13 possible solutions for tracking changes to web pages. Unfortunately I do not have enough posts here to insert the url's, but here are the names of the solutions she reviewed:

    Web Based Services:

    Change Detection
    ChangeDetect
    Femtoo
    FollowThatPage
    Infominder
    Page2RSS
    Watch That Page
    Websnitcher

    Desktop Programs:

    Copernic Tracker
    Internet Owl
    Update Patrol
    Update Scannner for Firefox
    Website Watcher

    But after reading Don Campbell's comments above, I am doubtful any of these solutions will work well for Google Places reviews. DON - Please find a solution for us!

    --Gary Fitzpatrick
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    • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
      I have had a positive response from the developer over at Watch That Page so it is good to see that these automated free services have a voice on the other end which is always difficult to justify providing support for free.

      Watch That Page allows you to monitor a keyword in a sentence. So I added the keyword 'reviews'.

      I got a confirmation email with the 4 sentences that had the keyword 'reviews' in it and the first one was: '2 reviews....' now if this number changes to 3,4,5, etc then I will get a notification.

      This for me is sufficient for the task at hand to know at least that a review has been left.

      Azzam
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  • Profile picture of the author philboy uk
    Can you not just create an RSS feed for each google place page, and have this feeding into a blog ?
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    • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
      Originally Posted by philboy uk View Post

      Can you not just create an RSS feed for each google place page, and have this feeding into a blog ?
      That would not do anything other then create an alternative file that is hosted unless you find a method to notify you of any the changes.

      The simplest thing you want to do is know exactly when a review has been left and be able to respond to it with the least number of effort. For me this includes 200+ branches.
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      • Profile picture of the author philboy uk
        Originally Posted by AzzamS View Post

        That would not do anything other then create an alternative file that is hosted unless you find a method to notify you of any the changes.

        The simplest thing you want to do is know exactly when a review has been left and be able to respond to it with the least number of effort. For me this includes 200+ branches.

        say for example you have 25 rss feeds, these could be fed into one blog, so instead of having to look at 25 google places, you look at one blog.
        I have not much experience of google alerts, but if the blog had an obscure title - kljaljgljagljlj.com, I believe a google alerts would only be triggered when a post is put onto that blog - please correct me if I am wrong on this,

        You can also monitor the rss feed of that single blog
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        • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
          Originally Posted by philboy uk View Post

          say for example you have 25 rss feeds, these could be fed into one blog, so instead of having to look at 25 google places, you look at one blog.
          I have not much experience of google alerts, but if the blog had an obscure title - kljaljgljagljlj.com, I believe a google alerts would only be triggered when a post is put onto that blog - please correct me if I am wrong on this,

          You can also monitor the rss feed of that single blog
          Google alert works of google search so if content appears in the cache of Google that contains a keyword it will notify you, it would not notify of previous page change.

          So if you have obscure title kljaljgljagljlj.com with all the content on the there as rss full content any changes made would not notify you. Can anyone correct me if I am wrong?

          You can go back regular to a single page which is better then visiting multiple urls but you still have to go to that page and sift through to see any changes.

          That said you still have to create the rss feeds, create a web page and upload to server, etc.

          If you plan on doing this then please do upload the method here for others to follow
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  • Profile picture of the author philboy uk
    2nd thoughts

    create feeds using a service like html2rss,this allows feeds to be easily created and mashed together to form single RSS feed.

    then use a service like feedmybox, which will convert Rss feed into email

    no creating webpage, uploading to server etc required.
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    • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
      Originally Posted by philboy uk View Post

      2nd thoughts

      create feeds using a service like html2rss,this allows feeds to be easily created and mashed together to form single RSS feed.

      then use a service like feedmybox, which will convert Rss feed into email

      no creating webpage, uploading to server etc required.
      Awesome so far.

      what about notification of change ?
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      • Profile picture of the author philboy uk
        when the google places is updated , the rss feed is updated and you receive an email in 24 hours from feed my box. I am sure there are also services that would send you a text aswell

        there is a 57 second video on feedmybox that explains it quite well
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        • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
          Originally Posted by philboy uk View Post

          when the google places is updated , the rss feed is updated and you receive an email in 24 hours from feed my box. I am sure there are also services that would send you a text aswell

          there is a 57 second video on feedmybox that explains it quite well
          sounds like a solution.

          Jusst to ensure that the feed captures either the reviews [which could be behind a javascript or iframe] or from my experience usually most changes are due to a review added other then business listing change or Google made some changes.

          Well done!

          Azzam
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          • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
            You can gain access to the Google Places API (code.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/places - I can't post links yet).. They'll let you do a limited number of queries against it per day - I think round about 50 a minute or so. Then you can take the JSON or XML feed, search through it and write your own queries against it.

            I work for a company called Palm Beach Software, and we developed a program that does this for a client of ours. We realized the value in it, and packaged it with our Are We Online website/server monitoring service. It does Google Places and Yelp review monitoring.

            I don't want to post links right on my first post, because that's definitely spammy. But if you want to find it you can google it (google places review monitoring) or you can pm me and I'll shoot you the link. Either way you'll find it.
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            • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
              How much do you guys charge for this?
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              • Profile picture of the author qu4rk
                Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

                How much do you guys charge for this?
                Meaning how much do you charge to monitor Google reviews?
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                • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
                  Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

                  Meaning how much do you charge to monitor Google reviews?
                  Qu4rk, sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. It's $10 a month per domain, and you can watch I believe 5 or 6 different Google Places / Yelp accounts. You can get more info at Website Performance, Uptime and Server Monitoring | Are We Online

                  If you have any questions, just post em up here and I'll answer them. Or you can read the blog I wrote on setting up Google Places Review Monitoring here: Website and Server Monitoring Blog by AreWeOnline.com: Are We Online: Add Google Places Review Monitoring
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                  • I've tried a few of the change detection programs and G blocks them. Please let me know if you find any FREE service that picks up changes to Place pages.
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                  • Profile picture of the author MarkR
                    This is what's great about the WF! People pitching in to solve a problem.

                    I've been testing ratepoint, and it seems to work, but it's pricey, very clunky and not built for folks monitoring large numbers of Places review pages.

                    For clarity, philboy uk is referring to "feedmyinbox" I believe, not feedmybox. I've used that service and it works great!

                    LakiPolitis mentions the "missing" Google API for Places. Isn't that what Don Campbell needs to complete his plugin? Don, are you monitoring/subscribed to this thread? Comments?

                    LakiPolitis - your solution sounds like it's fully baked. I like what I see. I have over 30 Places pages to monitor though, so the pricing jump to +-$60/month for me right? Also, I want to know about any new reviews, good or bad. Could I set the threshold to 6 and would it notify me of all reviews that way?

                    So, there's been mentions of cobbled together systems that "should work". Has anyone implemented one of these and proved it works? Like AzzamS, I'm concerned these won't work because the Places page is designed to have to click on "more reviews" to see the remainder of the reviews and it's not built like a traditional, static, HTML page.

                    Good stuff guys!
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            • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
              Originally Posted by LakiPolitis View Post

              You can gain access to the Google Places API (code.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/places - I can't post links yet).. They'll let you do a limited number of queries against it per day - I think round about 50 a minute or so. Then you can take the JSON or XML feed, search through it and write your own queries against it.

              I work for a company called Palm Beach Software, and we developed a program that does this for a client of ours. We realized the value in it, and packaged it with our Are We Online website/server monitoring service. It does Google Places and Yelp review monitoring.

              I don't want to post links right on my first post, because that's definitely spammy. But if you want to find it you can google it (google places review monitoring) or you can pm me and I'll shoot you the link. Either way you'll find it.
              I works be interested in funding a project likes. Drop me a line at azzam.sheikh@gmail.com
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  • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
    Catalyst, those are all site scrapers. Google will not let you scrape their content (that's their job ). However, you can access their API and work with the XML feed and JSON feed that comes out of Google Places. If you want to cache that, or store it in a DB you can.

    All free services that scrape will inevitably be blocked. I don't think anyone's written an open-source Google Places review monitoring service off their API, because you have to host the application somewhere - and it takes up some bandwidth.
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    • Laki, please email me a screenshot or examples or more info. If it works I may blog it!

      Originally Posted by LakiPolitis View Post

      Catalyst, those are all site scrapers. Google will not let you scrape their content (that's their job ).
      So True! :p

      I use 2 change detection scripts however to parse changes on the Google Guidelines page so I can see whenever she adds or changes anything. Prob is, I get notified on ALL changes and she rotates all the sidelinks, so it's a pain.

      My guess is the same thing would happen for Place page detection. You'd get a notice every time the Adwords changed?

      Anyway I want it for more than reviews. Don't know if anyone caught the NYTimes story a week ago that I contributed to about Google allowing businesses to be marked as permanently closed? But she also often changes NAP on you, so you need something that will monitor everything on the Place page.

      Thanks Mark!
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  • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
    I have subscribed to the pro version of 'follow that page' for $20.

    It will monitor the 200 google places pages for our business, it works on the basis of two keywords provided 'review and reviews'.

    If the any of the places pages changes which has this sentence in it i.e. review changes to 1 review or 2 reviews then it should trigger and send me an email to let me know the change has taken effect. Then I need to go to the page to check for the change.

    I can only assume this will work in theory and frankly with the number of Google places pages will not know that it has not worked unless I stumble on a review that has appeared and I got no notification. Otherwise I will assume there has been no review hence I received no notification by email.

    Also this service has been specific for website changes so the developer has not taken into consideration the possibility of blockage from Google for scraping which could stiff occur and again I will not know whether the site gets hit by this block unless I notify the developer it is not working.

    The service from Lakipolitis looks ideal but with the number of branches we have 200+ the costs can not be justified if it will be $200+ a month. Are the maths right for me?
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    • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
      Originally Posted by MarkR View Post

      LakiPolitis - your solution sounds like it's fully baked. I like what I see. I have over 30 Places pages to monitor though, so the pricing jump to +-$60/month for me right? Also, I want to know about any new reviews, good or bad. Could I set the threshold to 6 and would it notify me of all reviews that way?
      Hey guys. Right now we're still doing some testing and some price-point setting, so it may be useful if you guys want to hop on and give us some feedback. I've set up 2 months of free service as a promotional code, I'll PM each of you. All I ask in exchange is you guys provide us some feedback with the service - kind of like our testing team. If you guys are real helpful I can extend the free trial period. (We haven't set up pricing for multiple Google Places / Yelp accounts. So it's unlimited right now. That is definitely going to change.)

      Mark, it puts all reviews in your brand associate monitor, but only emails, texts, calls, and/or IMs you if you have a review that goes under your specific threshold. You can set that threshold to whatever you want (1 - 5 stars)

      Originally Posted by Catalyst eMarketing View Post

      Laki, please email me a screenshot or examples or more info. If it works I may blog it!
      Catalyst, I would 1,000% appreciate you blogging it and we would be happy to reply, tweet, and re-blog your review ourself. You're getting a PM for 2 months of free service.

      Here's the blog I wrote that talks about setting up the service: Website and Server Monitoring Blog by AreWeOnline.com: Are We Online: Add Google Places Review Monitoring, I'll be writing one about Yelp setup soon.

      Originally Posted by AzzamS View Post

      The service from Lakipolitis looks ideal but with the number of branches we have 200+ the costs can not be justified if it will be $200+ a month. Are the maths right for me?
      Azzam, you're also getting 2 months free service. If you have 200 accounts you'd like to follow, it looks like we may need to set up an enterprise level monitoring service. The pricepoints we have right now don't particularly work for that. What would you say is reasonable for measuring 200 accounts?


      Originally Posted by qu4rk View Post

      Meaning how much do you charge to monitor Google reviews?
      Qu4rk, shoot me an email too. You'll get 2 months to try the service out as well.
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      • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
        Bad news, guys... I went to go send all of you PMs and because I only have 35 posts that's not going to happen apparently

        If you guys want to send me an email, I send all of you the coupon code. I don't want to publicize it in case someone else grabs it. My email is laki { at } palmbeachsoftware.com
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        • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
          Originally Posted by LakiPolitis View Post

          Bad news, guys... I went to go send all of you PMs and because I only have 35 posts that's not going to happen apparently

          If you guys want to send me an email, I send all of you the coupon code. I don't want to publicize it in case someone else grabs it. My email is laki { at } palmbeachsoftware.com
          Please send me the coupon to my email azzam.sheikh@gmail.com, also would like to have that chat about enterprise level monitoring which would be good to have.

          Azzam
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      • Profile picture of the author zachbrowne
        I have 200+ physician websites I manage that I would like to talk about as well. Please email me - zbrowne @ uspi . com
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  • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
    Sent. The owner's in Atlanta, but when he's back we'll discuss. Right now you've got the free service.
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  • Profile picture of the author AzzamS
    Ignore the above since I was using the wrong section.

    Once I add a uk postal code to the https://www.areweonline.com/users/ratingsites.aspx page I receive a server error issue

    Azzam
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    • Profile picture of the author LakiPolitis
      Originally Posted by AzzamS View Post

      Ignore the above since I was using the wrong section.

      Once I add a uk postal code to the https://www.areweonline.com/users/ratingsites.aspx page I receive a server error issue

      Azzam
      Did you put the space in the postal code? Take that out. I'm going to replace those with nothings, and then if there's an error, I want that to go to an error page, not the lovely ASP.net error page.



      I'm not getting an issue... Do me a favor. Shoot me an email or an AIM message if you have more problems so I can keep track of them with the rest of the dev team.
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  • Profile picture of the author Review Notfier
    Working with franchise clients we developed a simply application to provide this service. We are looking for testers let me know and I can provide access. I can also send a demo of how it works. We are looking at between $15 monthly to $50 for unlimited urls.
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  • Profile picture of the author Overlander
    any updates for this post
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    • Profile picture of the author JonKragh
      I have a solution for Google Places Monitoring. I worked with the Google Places team lead to come up with a monitoring solution that uses the Google Places API and got signoff on our implementation (which took some doing! :p ).

      My solution is part of a larger "Shareable Promotions" product called Oh So Tasty: Shareable Promotions built for Social Media - Oh So Tasty

      The Google Places Monitoring I have is positioned as an "extra benefit" of my main Promotion product (I charge for our "Promotion" features because I can control those, and but I can't control Google's future terms).

      The feature set for Google Places Monitoring as they stand now are as follows:

      - Email you when your rating changes for a Google Place
      - Email you when your "Most Helpful Reviews" change for a Google Place
      - Checks automatically for you every hour, for each Google Place you are monitoring
      - Enable you to monitor multiple Google Places
      - Monitoring one location is completely free
      - Paid Accounts offer more locations/Gooogle Places to be Monitored

      The feature set above is based on what Google currenlty offers in it's Places API: A Places Rating, and the Most Helpful Reviews.

      We have requests in for the Places API for more reviews to be exposed so that we can monitor additional Places changes.

      Documentation on how to setup this feature of my product can be found here:
      How to Monitor Google Places Step by Step – Oh So Tasty Help Site

      I just launched the product and am still putting together the information site and documentation so please be aware that my homepage may be a little bare at this time.

      However, the actual product does work and is tested.

      I worked hard on getting buy in from Google on this feature and tried to make it very easy to use!

      I would love to work with you on this forum to see if it offers you value!

      You can monitor one location (and run one active promotion for that matter) completely for Free if you want to try it.

      Shareable Promotions built for Social Media - Oh So Tasty

      Thanks much,
      Jon Kragh
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      • Profile picture of the author JonKragh
        Thank you for those of you who contacted me and provided feedback! The Google Places monitoring is an added feature on to my main product. Since you guys/gals are interested in marketing, the "Shareable Promotion" piece of Oh So Tasty product might be of interest. I just launched and am looking for feedback.

        I added a coupon warrior25 which is valid until December 31st, 2012 for a lifetime 25% off discount on any paid plan.

        Thanks all for the feedback!
        Jon
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  • Profile picture of the author JonKragh
    FYI - I rebranded my site from OhSoTasty (linked above for the Google Place Monitoring) to SocialPromos.com - Promotion Tools for Facebook and Social Media - SocialPromos.com

    All of the Google Places Monitoring features are still there.
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