The blogosphere is reporting that Google has very quietly shut down its Local Business Referral Program. This was a significant effort by Google to recruit an army of freelancers to gather information on businesses nationwide.  Source: Infocommerce

Context News:  BIIA reported in its October 2007 issues that Google had the targeted business information market.  Google’s vision was to have a fleet of independent contractors running around the country, collecting information on local businesses and snapping pictures of them.  Bounty: $10 per listing if the company verifies the collected data. Job requirement are minimal: love of the Internet, access to a digital camera, and ability to fill out a W-9 that won’t get kicked back by the IRS.  There’s some indication that Google expects this supremely qualified force to “talk up” the benefits of advertising with Google, but this seems secondary to what is clearly a major data compilation exercise. 

BIIA Newsletter November 2008 Issue