Google Using Points To Boost User Reviews, Beef Up Maps Content

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A couple of years ago, Google created a program in the mold of the Yelp Elite Squad called City Experts. It was intended to accelerate the acquisition of “high-quality” local business reviews. The name of the program was changed in January of this year to Local Guides.

The original program offered rewards based on the number of reviews submitted. After 50 reviews, for example, members got to be part of a Google+ community and be invited to exclusive local events and more. Reviews were required to meet quality guidelines.

With the shift away from Google+ and the renaming of the program, Google has also revamped its incentives. In addition, the company is trying to broaden participation and the types of content collected.

Here are the levels and new point system:

Local guides point totals

As indicated, the reward system is now based on points that can be earned in various ways, not just by contributing reviews. In a blog post, Google says, “You can earn points and level up by writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, fixing outdated information, and answering simple questions. Each contribution type is worth one point, so you can earn up to five points per place.”

In other words, the company has broadened the function of Local Guides to not only provide reviews, photos and tips but also to help flag and fix incomplete or inaccurate information.

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