Google Places with Hotpot blog

Trailblazing in Portland

Thursday, December 9, 2010 | 1:10 PM

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When we announced the availability of Hotpot last month, we knew from the beginning we were going to take a different approach to marketing the product and engaging with our users, both businesses and consumers.

To that end, we’re excited today to start testing this new approach by launching our first local marketing campaign in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a tech savvy, forward-thinking city with a history of innovation and some of the best coffee houses, microbreweries and parks in the country. Whether you know it as The City of Roses, Stumptown, P-Town, Rip City or just PDX, Portland’s thriving local business community and strong heritage of being a trailblazer made it a great choice for us to try something new.

So starting today and over the course of the next few months, we’ll be out and about in Portland. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Business Kits and Window Decals

Every day millions of people search on to find local businesses, and we want to make it seamless for standout businesses to get discovered online. To achieve this, we’ll be working directly with some of Portland’s top businesses to educate them about Google Places for business and all its benefits. In addition, to help these businesses spread the word, we’re providing owners with special Google Places Business Kits. 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. We’re already distributing these to some of Portland’s top businesses, but any business in Portland who has claimed their Place page can request a box.

A central part of the kit is the bright red “Recommended on Google” window sticker. This is not your ordinary sticker. Unlike others, this is an interactive sticker that has Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built right in, allowing people with cutting edge phones like the Nexus S to simply touch their phones to the sticker to find out more information about the business. Suddenly stickers are cool again!

Community Events

Sure, Hotpot’s about sharing recommendations with friends online. But we thought it’d be fun to take things offline to get to know more about you and the places you love. To kick things off, we’re partnering with Portland’s beloved Voodoo Doughnut. Because we at Google are such big fans of their tasty treats, we wanted to spread the love — so if you like doughnuts and coffee, be sure to stop by both locations starting this Saturday at 10am for a special treat.

Hotpot Jackpot

We’re also launching our second Hotpot Jackpot competition to encourage Portlanders to start rating the places they know and share them with friends and family. Everyone over the age of 18 who lives within a 50-mile radius of Portland can participate, and the top five raters at the end of the competition will win dinner for 10 at any restaurant in Portland, courtesy of Google. To kick things off, all of the fans at tonight’s Trail Blazers vs. Magic game will receive t-shirts announcing the competition and supporting the Blazers.

This is just the beginning and we’ll be doing a lot more in the upcoming months. For the latest and greatest of what we’re up to in Portland (and elsewhere), keep an eye out by staying up to date via the Hotpot Blog, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Posted by Bernardo Hernandez, Director of Emerging Marketing


DanielZRob said...

Thanks Google! Portland loves you!
I am looking to pick up a Nexus S next week!

Beezn said...

I knew I moved here for a reason.

jacksoncafazzo said...


Liz said...

Portland is a great location to test this out! I hope it's a big success.

meg said...

All you Google folks should head over to the Laura Russo Gallery next month to check out my Google Map Paintings! Support a Portland artist and pick up a few for the Google offices! :)

Vanessa Schneider said...

Thanks for being so welcoming, everybody!

And Meg -- too cool, I was actually just reading about you on Gizmodo the other week. Thank you for the heads up on your exhibition!

- Vanessa, Hotpot Community Manager

Владимир said...

Hey guys,
That's definitely great and exciting and feels like a beginning of Internet of Things.

But aren't you Googlers? Why don't you maintain a community and do not offer to follow you on a great and rising Google social network called Buzz?
After all we - Buzz enthusiasts - are among the most avid supporters of Google.

AJ said...

We have a business in portland (Homebrew Exchange). We have a NFC window sticker, and I have a Nexus S phone with the latest updates. The tag doesn't work though.

It reads the tag, then goes to a link in the browser and tells me to download the latest Google Maps app. I already have the latest Maps, and even if I have it running when I scan the tag, the result is the same.

I'm at a loss where to find support for this issue. We have a busy store and would love to participate in testing this stuff out.

Vanessa Schneider said...

Hi AJ -- The sticker is working as it's supposed to, prompting you to download Google Maps. We have plans to change this in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!