Additional report of abuse at Google Maps

Today at the Google Maps-For-Business Group another report of bul upload abuse surfaced.

This time the culprit is in the “We Buy Houses” refinance industry. Like the previous case, all of the entires use a common street address (500 Main) and 800 number. Unlike the previous reports, these appear to only be listed in major metro markets (Portland, Vancouver, Buffalo) but not in smaller markets (Jamestown, NY or Olean NY).

It was reported last night (hats of to earlpearl), that Google had removed the previously reported spam. It appears that they have their work cut out for them chasing spammers.

On a related note, I am taking nominations for a succinct phrase to describe this new practice. Spapping? Serial Map abuse? Mapbuse? Let me know.

webuyhouses.jpg

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Additional report of abuse at Google Maps by

9 thoughts on “Additional report of abuse at Google Maps”

  1. GeoBombing? Mapspam? (nice palindrome, too)

    Geographic misrepresentation has been widespread in the floral industry, but the worst abusers have typically bought their way in via local phone numbers with remote call forwarding or through paid placement with print or online publishers. Once picked up by data providers like Acxiom or InfoUSA, the phony locals get repeated as ‘fact’.

    See this “fake Olympia, WA florist” for example – and how the listing appears in Google Maps.

    Google Local/Maps currently has thousands of these types of listings with no easy way for anyone to report them.

    No matter what it’s called, the intent is to deceive consumers into thinking they’re purchasing direct from local businesses. Stories about shoppers ripped off by phony locals routinely make the news.

    It seems that any business category with an affiliate marketing model is ripe for this kind of abuse – bulk upload or one listing at a time.

    Mike – thanks for your great coverage on this issue.

  2. Cathy

    Great phrasing! And a palindrome no less….I am impressed.

    I am also impressed with your description of practices in floral industry. Clearly, it is a much more sophisticated approach and simultaneously more deceptive and difficult to find…

    I noticed in your Google Maps example a different “Pin Type” when the address was not known….and I saw 3 or 4 of those listings. Are they all misrepresentations?

    Mike

  3. Its great that you keep revealing this info, Mike. In both cases the bulk uploads were sort of brand names. In the DC region there is a fairly significant amount of traditional advertising for “we buy houses” types of businesses ranging from tv to print….and you’ll see it posted on cars throughout the region. I searched for a couple of jurisdictions and darned if…regardless of the town/city name the address was always 500 Main Street and the phone number was always the same.

    This stuff rips at the integrity of local data. I really think the engines should put more customer service into cleaning the data, reponding to complaints and now establishing filters to weed out the spam.–that means manpower!

    Dave

  4. On that page, the pin type shows one real local and three fakes. Artistry in Flowers is a B&M shop that unfortunately happens to have three separate Olympia listings, including the one seen without the address.

    Lacey Florist and Olympia Florist of Same-Day Florals forward to an ‘order gatherer’ in Issaquah, about 70 miles away. Those orders will be rerouted back to real local Olympia flower shops (through a florist wire service) less commissions & fees which typically run 30% – 40%. Easy money for just pretending to be local. (There’s actually a Washington State law law prohibiting this practice.)

    I’d be interested to know how and even why Maps approximates pin placements for these phony locals.

  5. The locksmith industry has been fraught with this kind of phony address listing abuse. It’s a shame. People are getting taken by these crooks.

  6. These bogus listings are causing so much damage to local business people It is just crazy how deceptive it has become. I literally spend half of each week addressing consumers issues with regards to ” are you a real business in this town” It makes me crazy! It’s killing business in general on the internet. This issue needs to be addressed, or I am pretty sure that no advertising revenue is going to happen for any marketing company out there. We aren’t stupid! Why would anyone even think about spending one dime of their advertising budget with anyone who has a program that makes it less likely for us to sell our product?? It’s a duh? for me.

  7. To Brittany’s comment. The public is not trusting anything they read on internet. I do believe we are headed back to the primative of shaking hands and referrals. I am in the locksmith industry and like other contractors…there are the good the bad and the ugly. It’s getting harder for the good guys to be understood! I think you really just have to be patient with the potential customers who call and thankful that they do! Also, with regards to Google maps, there are links to my company that I have no control over and I have written to Google several times to get it fixed. It’s very frustrating, still waiting.

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