Statement from CEO of Buuteeq

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Innkeep's picture
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On the Buuteeq blog. Answers to Questions from PAII Forum, April 2011. Of interest to any who are following the Wandari situation.  Swirt, if this is in the wrong place, please feel free to move/remove it.

http://www.buuteeq.com/blog/answers-to-questions-from-paii-forum-april-2...

[swirt - I moved this from resouces into the forum]

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A few in our association have voiced their dismay at the lack of any response from PAII. Anyone else thing that kind of odd?? Maybe they're 'looking into' it. If that's the case, I do wish they would say something.

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Madeleine's picture
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And more from the blogosphere: http://www.tnooz.com/2012/04/20/news/lessons-from-startup-land-and-seo-a...

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Our place was listed twice of the W. site. I wrote them an e-mail and it took them a whole week to respond back. They have finally removed our listing.

The Acorn team really does a great job of protecting their customers.

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 An update from the Acorn blog:

Unauthorized Buuteeq Web Site Pages Being Indexed by Google: An Update  B&Bs

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

 An update from the Acorn blog:

Unauthorized Buuteeq Web Site Pages Being Indexed by Google: An Update  B&Bs

ASIDE: Anyone else think that the unauthorized design looks a lot better than the acorn design in their example?  

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CafeMae wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

 An update from the Acorn blog:

Unauthorized Buuteeq Web Site Pages Being Indexed by Google: An Update  B&Bs

ASIDE: Anyone else think that the unauthorized design looks a lot better than the acorn design in their example?  

No, I like the Acorn design. I told them to remove me from their Wasari site. It was not correctly puncuated and the language was poor and the information was not correct. Obviously just scraped by a machine and out there for all to see and nor formatted. Awful

Riki

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So...  help me with this

I went to this beta site. Hundreds of listings lumped together. Our listing had a link which took me to our regular website.

Others had unauthorized websites made for their property?

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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Looks like they've done a major overhaul the past week. Before, when you clicked 'more details' it would give you a replication of the inns website sometimes and mostly, scraped information from not only your website, blog, bb.com and other listings from the internet.

They also got exposed for unethical practices. Looks like they're trying to clean up their act. It took a lot of innkeepers from PAII, and most all of the major b&b design/host companies to bring this to light. The bad part was they had created it so google was indexing it. Bad news. A lot of the website had wrong information, including address & phone numbers which clash for google. Last summer, I got penalized by google because of our listings were using a different address (P,O, box) in our nearest town and not our USPS address. It took me a long time to get my google places straightened out. It can lower your organic positions and Google Places rank in your city.

 

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That was super helpful B.D.

When I went to read the follow up from the CEO, it would appear he was denying any connection to SEO impact on our individual sites. I suppose he has to, since I do think misinformation (and I could be way off) on the net can impair your organic placement.

Did anyone here actually use (Pay) buuteeq to do stuff for them? Did anyone's B&B association get involved with them?

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When the story first broke, I went to the W... site, and they had scraped a bunch of text and an image from our website and posted all of that on their site. I looked us up on the W.... stie again this morning, and they have deleted all the scraped text, and we now have just a listing with a link to our own site.

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 Hi, I'm the CEO of buuteeq and i'm glad to answer the additional questions on this thread.

First, I spent most of the weekend thinking about and documenting a response--I hope at the very least you will recognize that i'm trying, even if you care to dismiss my honesty or the result.  About 30 owners have been in touch with us and almost all have been very satisfied by our response and our 1:1 follow ups.

For those of you here including Joey Bloggs, i'm happy to provide a "ABC" summary as follow

  • This morning we put in place a process and team to address any and all questions about Wandari, and i have documented this here (it is short read):  http://www.buuteeq.com/blog/how-to-edit-your-wandari-listing/. the inline version: we will delete anyone's listing that wishes to removed from Wandari, no questions asked, usually within an hour of receiving your request at wandari@buuteeq.com.  For those of you that would like to "claim" your listing, we have a 15 minute wizard you can fill out that will provide your property with a free high quality listing that you own and control (contact same email address).
  • A forthcoming post (later today) will document our position on the SEO FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) that was injected in the PAII forum with false/incorrect information about how "duplicate content" affects a website's rank on Google.  A placeholder post in the long post details some specific considerations, but if you are interested in this subject, hold out for the detailed version later today.  If you want the super short version: the issues raised in the paii forum regarding "duplicate content" on wandari negatively impacting rankings is FALSE and incorrect, per Google's own guidance published earlier this year.
  • The rest of the blog post is a transparent discussion of various topics that owners on the thread wanted to hear a response to which were of much more specific/atomic interest.
  • If you have any questions i am happy to receive them and discuss with you directly, at my email: forest @ buuteeq.com

Again, we invite you to contact us for a direct conversation if there is anything that we can answer.  We have great free and paid services that are making a meaningful and measurable difference for thousands of B&B and inn owners--we aren't for everyone, but we might be for you.

Thanks

Forest

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Forest Key, CEO & Founder of buuteeq, a online marketing service for inns, b&bs, and hotels
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Forest Key's picture
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 Madeleine,

very good feedback, will consider a "high level summary" next time as a lead off, thank you.

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Hi Forest. I think we all understood the point of your blog post, it's just that you meandered to get there and a lot of us gave up.

Like you, we are all very busy business owners who need bulleted, top level points, not the rambling explanation you gave. You would never hand that to the CEO of any corporation and say, 'Here, read this, it explains everything.' No, you summarize for the CEO and add 'footnotes' for the tech geeks to follow. But you don't cram it altogether and expect a lot of us to take the time to read it.

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 Hey Joey Bloggs,

Thanks.

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 Hi Happy Keeper,

I feel your pain, i get about 10 calls/emails a week from folks that target CEOs of technology companies like me... alas, of the 10 or so systems we have bought, we have been happy with all of them.  so it comes down to picking your vendors and areas for investment, and I know that as a innkeeper the priorities vary and there is no one size fits all solution (for that matter, there is no one size fits all problem!)

In our case we measure the value of our services to customers  in terms of incremental bookings and increases in occupancy.  Our product has no setup cost or contract so our customers can see the benefits on a weekly/monthly benefit, or fire us, and never be out of pocket more than the months they were with us.  We've not yet been fired (from any of our paid customers) so we are batting 100% and our goal is to keep that number in the 97% or hire (some business will close, and we are bound to screw up customer service at some point, nobody is perfect).  I'm fibbing a bit because we did actually get fired by 1 customer--a lovely 50 room small hotel in Chile fired us when our team in chile hired their director of marketing and the owner was none too pleased.  I found out about it after the fact, and certainly understand how the owner was upset, but our concious is clear because the employee makes 2x salary with us than she did previously, and I think that people should not be encumbered for social advancement in a situation like that... anyways, probably more details that you wanted Smiling

We also have a free product, which is designed to introduce owners to buuteeq and given them a chance to see how our software works and how we behave as a company/culture.  Our sales guys can be aggressive sometimes and we are always looking for the right balance of informing vrs. selling, so hopefully sometime you'll give us a try (for the free product) and then we can earn your trust incrementally.

thanks

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Thanks for your response Forest.

I'll take a look and report back to the forum whether you got any of our hard earned dollars.

 

Happy Keeper's picture
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Hi Forest,

Thanks for jumping on the forum with some thoughts about your business. I can assure you, I would be equally interested in talking with folks if they had a bunch of stuff to say about our business. Here are some honest thoughts (not directed at you or your business and not any more educated than what I can say I know, which is limited)

One of the things that has happened over the last couple of years for our business is that we have been inundated with solicitations for a long list of services that promise to do many things. Unfortunately, the list of charlatans is longer than the list of honest folks who do their own heavy lifting to create a product we can use. On of my favorites is the "advertisng that pays for itself" line of reasoning. I want advertising that does more than pay for itself. I don't think FORD spends a million to make a million.

If I say that our SEO is good, I'm told it's not good enough. If I say that we do well without being on increasingly obsolete directories, I get a "heads in beds" hotel response telling me I should be maximizing our product. Point is.. we are extremely skeptical when someone uses our hard work to grow their business, especially if they know nothing about our business.

I want to know about buuteeq, but I am gun shy from all the C rap that has been floating down the bed and breakfast river.

 

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Forest, thank you for your ABC version, many members here are also on PAII and players in the B&B industry. Mass confusion is certainly not your desired outcome, but lengthy diatribes make my eyes glaze over and close the article.

Free means free, or should mean free, I hope in your book. I saw a tweet today that read KIDS EAT FREE and the booklet to eat free was just $19.95...

Hope it all comes out in the wash for you and the innkeepers/inn websites.

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 Hi Samster,

Yes--there is a lot of room for improvement on the quality of the listings, but we don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.  We are immediately addressing the concerns of owners who want to correct or delete their listing.  What will take us a bit longer (but which we are also doing now) is to manually review and edit/imrpove all of the listings.  That is ongoing work that we are doing now.  If you would be so kind and point out to me the listings you are talking about I can start with those two Smiling (you can email me forest (at) buuteeq.com).

When we have the Wandari listings in better overall shape and with more features added to the system so that it is easier for owners to edit/claim/delete/etc. posts more easily, we will do a more formal push/launch... that is why today it is "beta", a work in progress.

thanks Samster,

Forest

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 lol, sorry Samster, i was just trying to be friendly/casual--of course, we have 10s of thousnds of individual properties we need to comb through so yes, we have our work and we will do it!  thx

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Sorry, Forest, but I'm not going to do your work for you.  I feel that this is one of the single biggest flaws when someone launches one of these new directories.  Seems like they just get info from some other source without checking it thoroughly and then put up a name for their new site.

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Forest, I don't know about the brouhaha with your site, but you have listings for my city and 3 of them don't exist or have been closed for over almost 2 years.  Hmmm....

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Yep. My synopsis: "we screwed up but we're gonna keep on doing it 'cause we're just so clever and cool."

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"It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission." -

Madeleine's picture
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I don't think he's asking for forgiveness, either.

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Madeleine wrote:

I don't think he's asking for forgiveness, either.

The 'forgiveness' was a loose term Smiling

 

Madeleine's picture
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It doesn't help that he says he's not going to be snarky by being snarky.

And, the website hasn't been updated since it was launched in 2011? Um, no, because I didn't get my FB page app from them until this year, so either they made the FB app before I said I wanted it and put it out there or they updated the page since 2011.

Sorry, the explanation goes on for awhile (I got halfway thru it) and seems to be a lot of digression along with explanation.

I will say I had never seen that command (&pws=0) so I tried it. All I got on a Google search of my inn when using that command was a lot of tech talk about how to use that command. No returns on my inn which I find weird. Doing a search on 'my town B&B &pws=0' got me a bunch of returns with the letters 'pws' in the text. Am I missing something in how to do that?

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Do not enter &pws=0 into google's search box.  Type only the search phrase and then search as normal.  When the search results load, go to the URL shown within your web browser.  You add &pws=0 to the end of the URL.  Hit enter to load the modified URL and see the true search results.

If you do not do this, Google personalizes search results based on your history.  If you have clicked a link before google will rank it higher for you.  To be safe I make sure I am logged out of Google and also manually set my location to a different city.  Search results can be different if google thinks you are in the same city as your inn and most potential guests will be in a different city.

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I tried this and it did appear to remain the same. I am not super tech savvy, so it could be I am not doing as you say. I did my search for YYYY bed and breakfasts and when the very long URL appears in the top box, I went to the end of it and added &pws=0.

 

Madeleine's picture
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Thank you. I did that and the search results didn't change a bit. So what does that mean?

Then I changed my location and still got the same results.

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If the results are the same, then Google was not personalizing them.  I do not actually have to use &pws=0 often, because the results I get are usually accurate.  I use it occasionally to double check or will use it if the results have changed a lot since that usually is because of personalization. 

For example, in addition to bed and breakfast, we have been working on optimizing our website for hotel searches.  We do rank pretty well (have been as high as the middle of the first page), but about a week ago I checked and we were #2.  I doubted we moved up that much and sure enough after using &pws=0, the results changed back to what I was used to seeing.

Personalization is most likely to occur when you are signed into a google account that has history enabled.  Search results can still be personalized though because Google tracks some history data in a cookie.  However, you have to actually click on the links in Google search results to be affected.  Chances are you do not click on the link to your website when you are checking rankings.  If you click on your own or your competitors links it can affect results of future searches.

As far as location, it usually only affects more general search terms.  If your search results include your city name, it probably will not affect search rankings.  However, if you search simply for  “bed and breakfasts”, google will include bed and breakfasts near your location.  It does not affect most search phrases I check, but I keep it set to a different city to be safe.

Google’s info on search personalization:

http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54048

It does look like &pws=0 might now be an outdated method of de-personalizing search results.  It seems you can go to http://www.google.com/history/optout to turn off personalization.  This is the first I have read about it, so I have not tried it yet myself.

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That right there should remind us that management responses to reviews need to be short and humble. This looks to ruffle more feathers then it sooths.

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toddburme wrote:

That right there should remind us that management responses to reviews need to be short and humble. This looks to ruffle more feathers then it sooths.

You mean with all the rigamorale...I couldn't take it, it was too much. Confused the matter even further. But do fill us in on the feedback NOW on the Paii forum...

Todd you are one wise cookie. Short concise and to the point, amen.

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WELL my old computer wont down load it all. Something about it might shut down my computer as it is long ? This might be a good thing ?

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Yah super long, not worth digesting, that is why I wanted an ABC version to get the gist.

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 Is there a nutshell version that anyone cares to share?

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and like who is paying them and are you getting a ROI you like?

At first glance, it looks like something we can do without, but I would love to hear otherwise.

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 UH..... ????

 

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