Sometimes, even when you are online, you have to reach out to the physical world.
Google is paying independent contractors to visit local businesses, gather data and photographs of local businesses, and tell the business owners about Google Maps and Google AdWords, according to gSpy:
Google … would like to pay US residents to help them add in more listings by being a Google Business Referral Representative. The details of the program is listed in form of a FAQ below.
What do you have to do?
You would have to visit local businesses to collect information (such as hours of operation, types of payment accepted, etc.) for Google Maps, and tell them about Google Maps and Google AdWords. You’ll also take a few digital photos of the business that will appear on the Google Maps listing along with the business information.
How much will I be paid?
You can earn up to $10 for each approved and verified referral. $2 when a business referral is approved by Google; and $8 when an approved business verifies that the information you submitted is accurate.
As one commentator points out, while this is not a professional sales force and may not be an immediate threat to the yellow pages operators (which are scrambling for a bigger online presence), it is a toe in the water.
Google clearly is positioning itself to be THE place for information about local businesses, especially since adding the ability to include ratings on Google Local/Maps listings.
As a business owner, don’t be surprised if someone comes knocking on your door to tell you about Google.
Read the Google FAQs on the program. More coverage on Techmeme.