SEMA News—November 2011
Re-Tooling Your Online Reviews Strategy
New Tech and Added Punch for 2012
Search-engine Bing is countering Google’s +1 recommendation button with a similarly tooled “Bing Bar.”
New free tools from Google, Bing and Twitter are making it virtually effortless for companies to solicit a positive review from a satisfied customer and then instantly redistribute that review to the customer’s online social circles. The technology—essentially a recommendation button that is clicked to indicate an endorsement—can be added to any company webpage or product page in a matter of seconds.
Newest to the pack is the Google +1 recommendation button, which rolled out in June and currently appears on more than a million websites, according to Vic Gundotra, Google senior vice president of engineering. Under the recommendation service, a simple click on the +1 button authorizes Google to run a personal endorsement under Google search-engine returns associated with the company or product, under Google ads for that company, or on the recommended company’s website. If the endorsement comes from a member of the new Google+ social network, the recommendation even gets sweeter: For those thumbs-ups, Google is also authorized to run a photo of the member along with the hurrah.
“This isn’t social simply for the sake of social,” said Pehr Luedtke, CEO of PowerReviews, a popular online review platform that has incorporated the +1 button into its own reviews platform. “It’s a way to drive real business results by leveraging the power of recommendations made between friends and peers.”
To add any or all of the reviews buttons to your own website, check out the
Bazaarvoice CEO Brett Hurt agrees. Bazaarvoice is another online reviews platform provider that has added the +1 button to its products. “The next evolution of social brings our friends and peers into every decision we make, and we’re excited to partner again with Google to allow consumers to interact with leading brands through search in ways never possible before,” Hurt said.
Web surfers using the service need to be signed into a Google account to see and click on the +1 button. If they’re logged into Google Mail, YouTube, Google Apps or the new Google+ social network, for example, they’ll be able to see and click on +1 buttons.
While Google reserves the right to display a +1 recommendation to any Google user, Gundotra indicates that the search giant is most interested in showcasing the endorsements to friends and acquaintances in the reviewer’s social circles on Google. Currently, that translates into the social connections the reviewer has on the Google+ social network, Gmail or Google Talk chat list, Google Contacts, Google Reader and Google Buzz.
Not surprisingly, Bing and Facebook have decided to partner to promote a rival recommendation program that’s just as easy to use. Dubbed the “Bing Bar,” the feature enables anyone logged into Bing to use a universal Facebook “Like” button to endorse a company or product page to friends on Facebook.
Still another similar recommendation service is available from Twitter, which offers a free “Tweet” button that also can be added to any website in a matter of seconds. The beauty of Twitter’s button is that a web marketer need not be a member of Twitter—or even understand how Twitter works—in order to derive promotional benefit from the button. Simply embed the button on key pages of your website, and Twitter users will handle the rest by clicking the button and instantly tweeting to their “followers” about your company, product or service.