Google is looking to pay out some very decent commissions to Americans that become "Google Business Referral Representatives". How much are they looking to spend? Well, up to $10 dollars for each business identified. It's not hard work either -- pull up to a business, take some pictures, and write down some information (like the address). You could rattle through tens or hundreds of businesses per day depending on how hard you work.
Now, let's put this into perspective. According to a quick Google search, there are over 24 million businesses in the United States today. If this number is accurate, Google must be prepared pay out between $48 to $240 million dollars for this information. If I had as much money as Google, I would wonder why it took me so long to figure this one out. This is loose change when you consider they are spending several billions on companies like YouTube and DoubleClick -- and the quality of information they will get will be top notch.
Exactly a year ago, minus about a week, I suggested that Google do this very thing. Last August, they launched "Google Coupons", a service that I thought could be useful if businesses actually knew about it. I doubt they explicitly listened to me, but I'm glad they decided to give this a shot -- I really do think it's the best way to get the word out to local businesses.
Now how do people hear about [Google Local]? Why not pay people commission to do the dirty work? Google could have a whole fleet of sales people that would be happy to get paid to "sell" Google services.