You may recall that earlier this month, Google launched a social, Yelp-like service for consumers. Dubbed Hotpot, the service was based on data from Google Places, but it brought an entirely new, user-friendly interface and recommendation engine.
At the time, we noted that Google had beat Facebook to the punch in launching location-based recommendations; we wondered which company would be most aggressive on places-based marketing.
While Google has already dipped its toes into location ads within Google Maps and Search (and with special programs like Boost, its Hotpot marketing scheme is something entirely new.
Here’s the original Hotpot interface.
Just like Yelp does, Google will be sending businesses window decals and kits. According to Bernardo Hernandez, Google’s director of emerging marketing, “These kits are a multi-flavored sampler of marketing materials that can help businesses get even more exposure, get them rated and reviewed online and get more customers through their door.” The samplers will include basic cards and stickers as well as “high-tech, Google-ized goodies.”
Portland business owners can request a kit if they’ve linked their business to a Places page.
The most important part of the kit, according to Google, is the "Recommended on Google" window sticker pictured above. The sticker has Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built in, so many smartphone users will be able to touch their phones to the sticker and instantly receive more information about the business.
“Suddenly stickers are cool again!” writes Hernandez.
While we’re of the opinion that stickers are and will be perennially cool, we do think the NFC tech twist is a neat trick. In addition to the stickers, Google is also testing out some community events and competitions around Hotpot.
We look forward to seeing the results of Hotpot marketing — and eventually, we’d like to see numbers on Hotpot, itself. Do you and your friends and neighbors use Hotpot yet?