Batten down the hatches: More Google MapSpaM on the way to a Local Map near you?

The Google Maps for Business blog:

== 1 of 1 == Date: Thurs, Aug 2 2007 5:51 pm

From: “Maps Guide Jen”

Hi Bonehead, Mike, Joe, fowen, and other business owners,

Thanks so much for asking about and flagging the unverified listings of TechPros and RentaGeek.

We take the rights of those business owners with legitimate listings very seriously, and we’re working on long-term solutions to prevent situations like this most recent one from occurring again. As the Local Business Center and the number of listings in Google Maps continues to develop and expand, these types of issues may also become more prevalent. We’re glad and grateful that users such as yourselves continue to be honest and vigilant in helping to bring our attention to potential abuses of Google Maps. As always, let me know if you have any questions. Thank you! Jen

(bold is mine)

My response to our beloved (but soon to be very harried) Jen:

Hi Jen

Thanks for your response. I have lots of questions:

1)How soon can we expect to see a technological solution to this problem? Relying on vigilant readers seems to be the proverbial finger in the dam.

2)Is there a clear statement of what is acceptable practice for bulk upload? If so where? I looked but could not find a simple summary of what was acceptable practice and what wasn’t and what the consequences of unacceptable practice would be.

3)Will there be a standardized and more responsive mechanism for reporting abuse than these forums if we can expect these issues to become more prevalent?

Mike Blumenthal

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Batten down the hatches: More Google MapSpaM on the way to a Local Map near you? by

3 thoughts on “Batten down the hatches: More Google MapSpaM on the way to a Local Map near you?”

  1. Mike: your doing a great service with these blog entries. Once before, in a smaller venue than Google, I saw this type of spamming in a local search. I never mentioned it publicly…but thought it was very clever from a marketing perspective….though obviously false and misleading

    As a long time (plus 20 years) small business operator I am aware that certain industries compete significantly on a locational basis. A large part of the consumer decision is based on proximity to the business service. Do I want to go to a gym that is close and convenient to my home/place of work or do I want to go to a gym that is three times as far and possibly takes 4 times as long to get to to work out?

    Unless there are significant factors that make the further gym more attractive very often the decision is based on proximity. There are hundreds of services that factor this into their location/advertising/marketing to draw customers.

    Do I want a service with a local presence? That is often a huge factor. A local presence may mean that if things go wrong I can go back and get redress to correct the mistakes. If the operator has been around for a long time there is some level of comfort with regard to the operators reliability.

    The bulk spams you have revealed end up creating a false level of marketing to the public. Ultimately it defrauds the public and destroys the believability in the accuracy and reliability of googles search results.

    Good work.

    Dave

  2. To me this is yet another sign that Google is stretching themselves too thin. They need to be able to take care of these things better and it sounds like they can’t be bothered because they’re so busy with 100 other things.

    I can’t believe an offense like this is so easily dismissed on their part and they’re answer it “look out for more” (in a sense).

    I agree with earlpearl – this will hurt their credibility if it becomes more widespread.

  3. Hi Markus

    I agree that there is a much that Google could do immediately and much more that will need to be done to guarantee that the integrity of their local data.

    Their responses have been slow to my way of thinking as well.

    Short haul
    1)They need to respond to obvious abuses quickly
    2)They need to cut off the obvious routes and vectors of erroneous info with some form of verification….could it be that hard to check an bulk upload to see if all of the street addresses are the same or if they acutally plot on a map?

    Medium haul
    They need to come up with some sort of verification process for bulk upload….

    But even more importantly they need to create an information resource that serves the needs ot the types of business that need to offer services in multiple locations from one location…that holds as true for the plumber that works out of his and covers 4 towns, for the bricks and mortar operation that delivers to 60 towns and the national organization that outsources to 11000 sub contractors….whether those can services can be handled in a location based environment like Maps is another question.

    Time will tell… it portends interesting days ahead.

    Mike

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