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Guidelines for hosting a sponsored meet-up

Level 2

Local Guides are passionate about supporting small businesses. Some of you have even formed partnerships with businesses to hold meet-ups. These partnerships can be great for everyone, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about hosting a sponsored meet-up.

 

Please take a look at our guidelines below. You’ll soon find them in the Local Guides program rules and help center, too.

 

Google-Local-Guides---Day-3-geo-walk-93 (1).jpgCaption: A chalkboard at a cafe that reads, “Welcome Google Local Guides”.

Meet-up sponsorship guidelines

Local Guides can partner with businesses to make their meet-ups more fun and less expensive for attendees. A business might agree to sponsor a meet-up by providing goods or services (for example, a discount to rent a venue, or complimentary snacks). However, it’s important that sponsorships don’t influence contributions on Google Maps. Below are the guidelines that Local Guides should follow when hosting a sponsored meet-up:

  • Local Guides should not accept sponsorship in exchange for contributions on Google Maps. For example, you shouldn’t agree to write positive reviews about a business that sponsors a meet-up or negative reviews about its competitors. This applies to the Local Guide hosting the meet-up and to all attendees. Attendees should not be required to do anything for or on behalf of the business in order to participate in the meet-up.
  • Local Guides should not accept any form of payment in exchange for hosting a meet-up in partnership with a business.
  • If a meet-up is sponsored, the host should mention that fact in their meet-up description. For example: “Jason's Ice Cream Shop is sponsoring this meet-up. They'll be providing ice cream for us all to enjoy. They understand that none of us is promising contributions of any kind to the business in exchange for sponsoring the meet-up.”
56 Comments
Level 10

Hi @HelloJess This is a welcome development and a good initiative. Although It has its positive sides in various ways, but the disadvantages of this can be very alarming. I think this a shift from what we do normally. Local Guides organized meetups and meet with each other to connect with themselves. In my own viewpoint this would bring promotion to the program. It is really not possible for a Google Map Contributions not be influenced after a business owner as decided to sponsor a meet-up event. We want our contributions to be real and not be influenced by any factors at all. 

Level 9

Owh wao @HelloJess what a coincidence because in next month my friend @AdarshUmangRaj opening a cafe in Delhi and he invites me for a meet-up. We'll also discuss about "The 36 walk" by @PaulPavlinovich.

Level 9

@HelloJess

 

Thanks for the guidelines .

I would like to point out one thing - that the business owner replies to review is not notified back . If it was there it will definitely create a relationship with customers

 

It is always better to have an awareness about Google . Mostly restaurants and hotels are looked at  reviews on Trip adviser , Zomato , Facebook etc 

 

We had a better solution and every one have the opportunity to comment not only the memeber of Local Guides . 

 

There must be a campaigns happening in towns to promote and claim the business . It is always good that a business owner can give there updates via Post on My business . Interior , Exterior , team , Logo etc . 

 

The business owner can answer the questions better than a local guide. 

 

 

So then how does participant of the Meet Up at the Local Business write a review on google maps about the place of Sponsored Meet Up?

Level 9

@HelloJess thanks a lot.  for inform  us meet up  rules  update 

Level 8

@HelloJess thank you for the clarification. Kindly PIN this post.

Level 8

Interesting :) basically i agreed with you.

Level 8

Hi @HelloJess Thanks for inform us about this matter. It is quit important for us. 

Happy Guiding !!! 

Level 9

Thanks for sharing the updating meetup guidelines @HelloJess

Level 8

Merci beaucoup @HelloJess pour ces précisions.

Un guide local doit être juste, loyal et impartial. Il est vrai que c'est facile de faire des contributions malhonnêtes.

 

Nous devons faire preuve de déontologie. C'est l'image de toute la communauté des LG qui est remise en jeu.

 

Level 8

I like this Guidelines @HelloJess , very clear very direct Guidelines 👍☺️👍

@HelloJess 

Since Local Guides are expanding so fast some rules definitely had to be changed & some new ones added 👏👏.

Level 9

thank you @HelloJess for sharing this important rule.

Level 7

Thanks you lot @HelloJess for Guidelines for hosting a sponsored meet-up .

It really helps me and I know lot of information of about meet-up .

Thanks you once again @HelloJess.

 

Happy guiding.

Thanks for update @HelloJess. Yes we should do a genuine review regardless of the support the business provides.

Level 8

What do you do when no one shows up :( 

Level 10

Dear @HelloJess 

great Ideas very important and informative article you wrote, thanks for sharing your experience. 

Level 9

Great initiative. This will lessen the cost of local guides in meetups. And there is a chance of more and more local guides attending meetups. As @HelloSamsonR said we'll make sure that this will not reflect in our contributions. 

Thank You

Connect Moderator

@HelloJess Thanks for this article, it's certainly welcoming to know that there's some avenue for Local Guides to work hand in hand with local businesses for some events. We used to try our best to avoid these situations, but glad we can help local businesses more moving forward. :-) 

Level 10

Thank you for guidlines for local guides

Level 8

Hello @HelloJess !

Thank you so much for sharing these guidelines for hosting a sponsored meetup. We will follow your tips if you we get Sponsors for our meetup and also will share our event experiences with you. 

Thanks!

Greetings from Nepal.

@HelloJess exactly all Local Guides must be neutral while posting their reviews and ratings

Level 8

@HelloJess Thanks for sharing this important topic.

Level 10

Thank you @HelloJess for this "Guidelines for hosting a sponsored meet-up".

 

 


@HelloJess wrote:

Local Guides are passionate about supporting small businesses. Some of you have even formed partnerships with businesses to hold meet-ups. These partnerships can be great for everyone, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about hosting a sponsored meet-up.

 

Please take a look at our guidelines below. You’ll soon find them in the Local Guides program rules and help center, too.

 

Google-Local-Guides---Day-3-geo-walk-93 (1).jpgCaption: A chalkboard at a cafe that reads, “Welcome Google Local Guides”.

Meet-up sponsorship guidelines

Local Guides can partner with businesses to make their meet-ups more fun and less expensive for attendees. A business might agree to sponsor a meet-up by providing goods or services (for example, a discount to rent a venue, or complimentary snacks). However, it’s important that sponsorships don’t influence contributions on Google Maps. Below are the guidelines that Local Guides should follow when hosting a sponsored meet-up:

  • Local Guides should not accept sponsorship in exchange for contributions on Google Maps. For example, you shouldn’t agree to write positive reviews about a business that sponsors a meet-up or negative reviews about its competitors. This applies to the Local Guide hosting the meet-up and to all attendees. Attendees should not be required to do anything for or on behalf of the business in order to participate in the meet-up.
  • Local Guides should not accept any form of payment in exchange for hosting a meet-up in partnership with a business.
  • If a meet-up is sponsored, the host should mention that fact in their meet-up description. For example: “Jason's Ice Cream Shop is sponsoring this meet-up. They'll be providing ice cream for us all to enjoy. They understand that none of us is promising contributions of any kind to the business in exchange for sponsoring the meet-up.”
Level 10

@HelloJess, I share similar view with @HelloSamsonR.  ...and maybe there is need to critically look at all these Guidelines for hosting a sponsored meet-up?

 

 

 


@HelloSamsonR wrote:

Hi @HelloJess This is a welcome development and a good initiative. Although It has its positive sides in various ways, but the disadvantages of this can be very alarming. I think this a shift from what we do normally. Local Guides organized meetups and meet with each other to connect with themselves. In my own viewpoint this would bring promotion to the program. It is really not possible for a Google Map Contributions not be influenced after a business owner as decided to sponsor a meet-up event. We want our contributions to be real and not be influenced by any factors at all. 


 

Thank you so much for this information @HelloJess. I have my sponsored meetup in a way and I submitted it before this post.

 

Bro @HelloSamsonR what you presented is somehow right but I also have disagreement also. It's almost obvious that businessmen invest for profit but not all sponsors seek personal benefit on sponsoring the meetup. I am sharing my experience. I already had joined 2 meetups that were sponsored and nobody even know that they were sponsored. The one was mentioned in recap and the other, recap did not publish.  In one meetup we were there to help small businesses. In the next one we were in a venue to explore Bhaktapur Durbar Square. In both cases sponsors were fully neutral about there business. What not only they but we also wanted is to expose the place in Google map as well as localguideconnect. So choosing the true sponsor can be beneficial.

 

This time also  we have sponsor  for showcasing the beauty of our city with null expectation. The only thing we concern is to expose the city not the sponsor's private business. What we are going to give sponsor is a big THANKS.😊

 


@HelloSamsonR wrote:

Hi @HelloJess  It is really not possible for a Google Map Contributions not be influenced after a business owner as decided to sponsor a meet-up event. We want our contributions to be real and not be influenced by any factors at all. 

Level 10

Important post @HelloJess thank you for meet up rules update. 

Connect Moderator

Hi @MrFredRogersFan,

 


@MrFredRogersFan wrote:

So then how does participant of the Meet Up at the Local Business write a review on Google maps about the place of Sponsored Meet Up?


I will take it this way:

 

When you visit a place, they might be offering some kind of promotions for visitors.  As long as those promotions do not ask for Reviews be written in return, then we can take it as a normal customer. 

 

I will following the same principal after attending any Sponsored Meet-ups.

Level 10

Hi @HelloJess , thanks for the great post and some examples. It's extremely helpful. I'd love more specifics. Even though it's very clear that the business owner can't give Local Guides cash for a meetup, there are many parts that aren't really all that clear, and I think there are still lots of gray areas.

 

In your example, you said that it's okay for the business owner to give Local Guides ice cream while they're having a meetup at their business.

  • But, can the business comp a whole dinner for local guides?
  • Can the business pay for a whole dinner plus give the local guides $50 in gift certificates to their business?

Eventually, if we keep adding non-cash foodstuffs, the answer will become no, but where exactly is the line? And what kind of things can other types of businesses besides ice cream shops give to Local Guides? Can a tailor shop give fabric samples? A few yards of fabric? A full custom tailored suit?

You mentioned that we shouldn't agree to give positive reviews in exchange for the business hosting. And, the meetup text should include that local guides won't give any guaranteed contributions in exchange for the meetups.

  • But, the only example you gave only talked about reviews. Are edits, photos, questions, verifying facts, making lists, making customized Google maps with their business listing featured, clicking "Yes I'm here," also considered contributions? Probably, but it's not fully clear which ones constitute contributions. In a way, everyone with location tracking on their phone who also looked up the businesses Place page (probably 95% of Local Guides attending the meetup) is contributing to that business by giving Google data about the business just by attending the meetup.
  • Your example says the business shouldn't expect reviews, but is it okay for the host to say, "hey, I know you're not obligated to make contributions, but it would be really nice if we took some pictures, wrote reviews, and checked all the business info and clicked that we are here at the business."
  • Or, can the host say, "Okay, we now have 30 minutes of our meetup scheduled to take pictures of the business. Note that you're not obligated to upload any of these as contributions to Google, but if you choose to, then you can take and upload pictures now."
  • Or can the host say to the business, "well, Google requires us that we don't obligate attendees to make contributions, but in my experience, if we get 15 people at this meetup, then you'll probably get 100 pictures added to your business and 7 new reviews." 

I used to do a lot of reviews for Amazon, many in exchange for free product. I used to be top Amazon reviewer #152 out of about 40 million people who had written at least one Amazon review. Now, in 2018, Amazon, and the FTC have really clear guidelines for Amazon reviewers that get free product. But when Amazon first started letting reviewers get free product, they really didn't have clear guidelines, and I saw their guidelines really evolve over the 18 years while I was doing Amazon reviews. I look at Google reviews as being in their infancy in terms of guidelines, since right now we just have some general guidelines with only a few examples, and meetups are a pretty new thing. Note for fellow Connect members: I fully understand the differences between Amazon's policies and Google's policies for reviews, I've read all of both of their policies, and I understand that Google doesn't allow reviews in exchange for free product like Amazon does.

As a side note, in your example, the FTC would actually require reviewers to disclose in their reviews (should they choose to write them), that they got free ice cream, even if Google doesn't.

Level 7

@HelloJess Thanks for this updates. I totally agree that contributions on map about any places should be real, original and natural, regardless of a sponsored meet-up or what so ever it could be.

Level 7

Super nice info! Thanks a lot @HelloJess 

 

Surely, Sponsored Meet Up have more impact to get many Local Guides to join. Isn't?

Level 8

With this guidance is very helpful for the local Guides all over the world. By doing a sponsored meetup of the places we visit will assist store / restaurant and ease the participants meet up fee. 

 

And is consistent with the experience that is felt during a meet up at either place location of the facility and taste of the food we provide a review of the appropriate facts (factual).

 

Dengan pedoman ini sangat membantu bagi lokal Guides di seluruh dunia. Dengan melakukan meetup yang disponsori dari tempat yang kita kunjungi akan membantu pihak pengusaha dan meringankan Biaya peserta meet up. 

 

Dan memang sesuai dengan pengalaman yang dirasakan saat melakukan meet up di tempat baik lokasi fasilitas dan rasa makanan kita memberikan review sesuai fakta (factual).

Level 8

Thanks @HelloJess for the guidelines to a sponsored meet-up. I,ll mind this anytime.

Level 8

@HelloJess Those were great tips and thanks for sharing...

Level 9

Thanks to @HelloJess

Local Guides could have a meet-up in some store, it is better that the store provide some discount or something else.

But even no, we won't select another for this reason.

Local Guides do everything(command or ....) should stand fair~!!

Level 8

You know @HelloJess. Cannot get the idea out of my head... if a business sponsors a meet-up by default they will expect a good write up... what if you the LG reviewer (and your team) cannot honestly write a good review?

 

I suppose we better be sure, in advance, about  the quality etc. Before accepting the sponsorship.  

Level 8

Hey, 🖐️ At this conversation, I'm thinking exactly same way like @HelloSamsonR .

I live at least Corrupted Country in the World, and it doesn't even came to my mind that someone is going to sponsor Our walks! There's a many researches that shows a fact that human being can't be impartial if he/she get even a lollipop or a lunch.

Good question.  My answer is to complete that meetup by yourself and host some more.  Not everyone gets attendees for every meet up.  Resilience is key for hosting meetups.

 

I recall the first meetup I attended.  The host didn't even show up!

 

Keep the spirit!

Level 7

Thank you so much for your kindling information.

Level 8

Thank You @HelloJess for this great article!

 

Last month i was in talk with one of brand in my locality who were very keen to host Local Guide meetup at no additional cost but i was not sure whether Local Guide Community can collaborate with corporate for events or not but i am surely sending this article link to them & planning for big meetup next month

 

One General Query @HelloJess,

while promoting our meetup to invite more & more Local Guides can we make posters saying Local Guide in collaboration with XYZ Brand hosting Free Event for all Local Guides of India?

 

OH! That's such a good idea!

If I get enough people signing up I will try to arrange that!

 

Level 6

Thanks for the guidelines .    I agree there should be more feedback in  order to generate a fluid communication and enhance the experience 

très bien dit , ont tachera de nous en souvenir pour s'en servir
Level 1

I'm going to take a stab at answering this question bc I see it was posed nearly a month ago (and still no official reply from our Google Local Guides moderators on this board.) 

 

It feels like Google is aware that local guides want to host meetups to get to know one another and that (unless we choose a park or some sort of monument that isn't actually "owned" by a business) it's likely we're going to be gathering at a local business (as commercial properties like coffee shops, restaurants, bars and even bookstores all exist to sell a product or service.)

 

Therefore, my recommendation is to be wary of choosing a spot that you have any connection to personally (don't pick a bakery your cousin owns or host a get together at your own restaurant) because it will just look like you selected that venue for personal or family gain. Additionally, don't accept any money from the hosting business (naturally) and never suggest to your attendees that they need to leave a positive review - or even any review at all - for the business that is hosting. Perhaps it would even be best to NOT accept any sort of special treatment from the establishment (like free appetizers or coupons and discounts) just to avoid the appearance of the business owner trading favors for good reviews. This policy will protect the integrity of each LG as well as the reputation of the business.

 

Finally, my instincts tell me that you should NOT add the phrase "in collaboration with" to the poster. Anytime you place a business's logo on the same poster as the Google logo it appears that they are trying to "piggyback" on the positive image of Google and could be misinterpreted. Perhaps just put the name of the venue on the poster in text (not their logo) and add the address too. That's my two cents on the topic. What do the rest of you guys think?

Pas mal comme réponse @AdrienneC2

La solidarité étant une culture pour d’autres, il est plus facile de faire des randonnées, visite gastronomique, etc... dans un endroit accessible surtout pour un débutant  où tu peux être accueillie.

Mes néanmoins la conscience de toutes organisateurs est en jeux.

Je vous remercie.

Level 6

Who is allowed to host? 

Level 8

I clicked few photos and asked for his business card, told him that I am posting his shop on Google. He can also find his shop on Maps from next time. He gave me an extra large coconut for the same price.

**####**, I should stop taking favors for adding places on Maps! :D

Level 6

Thankyou @HelloJess for your guidelines.

Level 6

I love the idea, business owners should be able to comments to reviews like other website people using 

Level 10

Namskar.. @HelloJess

 

Thank You So Much For your Guidance..

We all Passionatete LG Looking forward to It..

Regards From Mumbai