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Review of BrightLocal

Heather Blankley

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Hi Rhen I showed your review to our CEO Myles and he wanted to respond personally:Hi Rhen I’m Myles, the CEO at BrightLocal.As soon as I saw your reviews I got together with my Customer Success team to dig into exactly what happened with your account and experience.Firstly, I’m very sorry that you had such a frustrating experience. Our mission is to help every marketer and business improve their local marketing and to make life easier for them.I would really like the chance to talk 1-1 so I can apologize for your disappointment personally and make sure I have all the facts as you see them; I have emailed you directly to suggest a time for this.I would like to address the points you raised in your review:1. Refund of fees - yes our policy is not to refund fees. However, we offer a free 14 day trial on all accounts which typically gives customers long enough to evaluate our service before committing to purchase.Most customers actually sign up for a monthly plan (not annual) which means they can leave at any time. Luckily most don’t because they have a good experience, but knowing that they can leave keeps us on our toes and we’re always striving to help them and to improve.Regarding your refund. I have spoken to my Head of Support (Vicky) and discussed your case, and given the experience and specific frustrations you had, we will refund your payment in full, as a gesture of goodwill.2. Data accuracy & fixing data manually - this issue relates to reports where we identified online listings for other businesses which were not your clients, and also some listings that contain inaccurate data.As an overview, we put a huge amount of effort and resources into finding business listings - in fact, we have a team of developers who focus on this area of our service 100% of the time. But you are right, the data isn’t always 100% correct and that is because of a few factors:a) No APIs and different data structures: we grab data from over 400 sites and many of these sites don’t have APIs so we have to scrape the data. Each site has a different structure and many are not well structured which makes finding listings tricky. We employ a lot of logic that aims to identify as many listings as possible while filtering out incorrect matches. With most businesses, this logic works very well but sometimes we incorrectly match wrong businesses due to very similar business names, shared phone numbers, etc… I won’t go into the detail but long story short, finding listings isn’t an exact science and while we invest a lot on it, it’s unlikely to ever be perfect.b) Other tools also suffer this issue: we regularly audit other listings/citation tools to benchmark our service. We know that they also suffer accuracy issues, even those that have APIs into the directories because they have the same issues as us: being dependant on the end-sites to be well structured to get their data.Gathering listing data isn’t an exact science and there are many subtle differences in business names and data out there that cause misunderstandings.c) Giving user controls - because we know that listing data isn’t an exact science, this is why we give customers controls so they can review, approve or change the listings before we include them in their reports. We have over 4,000 marketing agencies that use BrightLocal and many appreciate the level of data and controls we give them which allows them.I fully appreciate that this isn’t ideal. I would love it if it were possible to deliver 100% accurate listings every time. But we have to work with the realities we have, and we’ll continue to spend lots of time & effort on improving and expanding the data we collect.d) In CitationTracker we try to find incorrect listings: our CitationTracker tool is an audit tool designed to report on both accurate and inaccurate listings so you know what needs fixing. We scour the web to find mentions of your business name, address, and phone number and sometimes we’ll find your number on a listing for different business and we’ll return this so you can see that there is a data discrepancy, so you (or we) can correct it.I listened to the transcript of your call with our Product Expert where this was explained. I  can appreciate why his answers might appear to be contradictory but that’s the way this tool is designed - to show you a full picture of your citations, good and bad.We provide training, education, and support to every customer so they really understand how to get the best out of BrightLocal. It’s clear that you would have liked more support than you received and I will be discussing this with our Head of Support and what more we can do moving forward.Sorry for the long-winded reply but I hope it does answer some of your concerns & questions. Please do look out for my email so that we can speak directly and I can answer any other questions you have.Thanks Myles