March Month End Round-up - Near Media

March Month End Round-up - Near Media
Photo by Rod Long / Unsplash

In this part of the woods March came in like a lion and left like a lion and Mother Nature's cruel April 1 joke was a snow storm. Hopefully it was more springlike for you.

With talk of spring, Greg Sterling is taking a spring break this coming week so the Near Memo newsletter is taking a short hiatus and will resume on Monday, April 11th.


We spent a fair bit of time looking at reviews through a long lens as well as a deep dive into the FTC HomeAdvisor complaint and Google's ever more transactional local pack.

Reviews, the long view:

Yelp’s Hidden Headwinds: Declining User Traffic and Aging Reviews
Yelp made structural changes during COVID that improved performance, but there are major obstacles to growth going forward.
Google Review Growth in Decline
Google was gaining reviews until 2017. Then everything slowed way down.
Consumer Review Trust Down but Usage Up
Trust in reviews has been declining since 2017, but consumers still rely on them to make decisions. Businesses must adapt review strategies and embrace the negative review.

The FTC & HomeAdvisor:

HomeAdvisor Cheated SMBs for Years – FTC
The FTC filed a complaint against HomeAdvisor, saying the company overcharged SMBs and misrepresented leads, and the “likelihood they would result in actual jobs,” since 2014.
Details from the FTC’s ‘HomeAdvisor Cheated SMBs’ Complaint
We got a copy of the heavily redacted complaint, which contains numerous claims of misrepresentations to SMBs.

The ever more transactional Local Pack:

Google Increasingly Showing Product Images in Local Packs
Google has been working steadily for at least a decade toward real-time product inventory in local search results.


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Ep 57: Featured Snippets & Ranking, Consumer Expectations: Chat vs SMS, Google Product Images in Local Packs
Featured Snippets & Ranking- Jumping the Queue; Consumer Expectations for Business Responses: Chat vs SMS; Google Increasingly Showing Product Images in Local Packs to Gain Edge in Product Search Battle
Ep 56: Google goes local w/ product search; FTC: HomeAdvisor cheated SMBs; SMBs dislike direct sales model
Google goes local w/ product search and smaller stores filter, HomeAdvisor accused of cheating service businesses for years by the FTC, How do small businesses prefer to work with Sales people?
Ep 55: Google Sued Over GBP Order CTA, Publishers Angry about Scraping, Yelp’s 2021 Traffic Declines
Google sued in class action by restaurants for adding Order buttons through 3rd parties to their Business Profile, Publishers argue ad providers are scraping too much content to deliver contextual ads, Yelp’s 2021 showed solid financials but user and review acquisition headwinds
Ep 54: Review reliance up but trust is down; Amazon kills bookstores for Grocery Business, Nextdoor’s #s
Review reliance up but trust is down, where will it lead? Amazon kills bookstores for Grocery Business, Nextdoor’s 1st earning report surprises with small $, big losses & limited user base.

Our Most Read Newsletter for the Month

In case you didn't get enough of us and need something to noodle during Greg's absence...

Restaurants Sue Google, Yext’s Lerman Leaves, Kohl’s Retail Concept
Suit: Google ‘Deceived’ Consumers with Online OrderingAs part of the effort to make search more transactional, Google added an “order online” button in the GBP for restaurants in May, 2019. Google worked initially with a few national food-delivery vendors (e.g., DoorDash) as partners. In September 2…

As always, we love to hear from you. Were the articles useful? Do you have suggestions for th podcast? Want to write with us? Or just chat about the state of local marketing? Whatever the reason, you can reach out to us at: