RentaGeek responds to accusation of Mapspam

Several weeks ago, I reported on the first cases of large scale mapspam at Google Maps. It was followed up with an interesting interview with one of the companies involved. Yesterday, on the Google-Maps-For-Business-Owners blog, the other company (apparently) responded:

TOPIC: Why am I being blacklisted when I have techs in every metro area nationwide? ============================================================================== == 1 of 2 ==

Date: Tues, Aug 14 2007 4:52 pm

From: “rentageekinc.com”

Rent A Geek is a nationwide computer repair company, and has techs all over the whole United States. We had a local business listing in each city, and a couple of other business owners in the area decided to complain, most likely because they cannot compete with our rates, and Google pulled all of our ads. Why is that? If we scour the Google Local Business listing and start complaining about every one of our other competitors, is Google going to be equally as liberal in taking these peoples ads down as well? I feel that Google is being very prejudiced towards our business, and would like to know what can be done to resolve the issue?

=============================================================

While it is arguable that RentaGeek has a legitimate business need to promote their extensive coverage, it is hard to argue that it should be done with obviously faked addresses in every zip code and even harder to argue that Google is being prejudicial in their actions by taking them down for posting obviously wrong information.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
RentaGeek responds to accusation of Mapspam by

13 thoughts on “RentaGeek responds to accusation of Mapspam”

  1. I took a look at the rentageekinc.com website. There is no mention of any local city or town wherein you could get their services. It isn’t mentioned overtly on the site, nor is it spammed.

    Additionally, the site has no external links. The site isn’t visable in any way whatsoever, except by going directly to the url.

    I can’t imagine that the head person at Rentageekinc is familiar with steps to optimize a website in any fashion, let alone for localized services in one or multiple jurisdictions.

    I’d bet some clever SEO’s/SEM sold him on this idea. Regardless of what he was charged, a bulk upload in G Maps is a costless way to get immense exposure.

    Moreover if his visability and results were anything like the comments from the other fellow, the bulk upload must have had some positive impact on his business.

    Regardless, without established addresses, and bulk uploading the same street address for every town/city clearly misuses the visibility offered by Google Maps and misinforms the public relative to competing businesses with established addresses.

    It has been an interesting set of circumstances with these bulk loads.

  2. thanks to you and knew just where to go after our sales guy talked to a client who wondered about a competitors listing in Google maps. Search for “comedydefensivedriving” in Dallas, TX and notice there are 29 results almost all of which have the same phone number, they are using the restaurants where they give the classes as their (multiple) location instead of their actual physical address. i’ve posted in Google Maps Help Group, hopefully they’ll get rid of this spammer too!

  3. HI Kimber

    Thanks for the head’s up. They have a number of postings using different company names as well that show up on different search phrases. They also have postings under:
    Defensive Driving Dallas Tx
    Driving School Dallas Tx

    Under each of these listings they use a slightly different company name, a c/o address on occasion and many have the same phone number. They appear to have made multiple uploads so as to appear under different terms in Maps. Their results have less impact in the Local Onebox.

    What is of interest is that the fact that they are using the same number accross different uploads & locations means that there is very little (or more likely none) checking going by Google of these uploads.Man, these guys are busy. Keep me posted on how long the removal takes.

    Mike

  4. Personally, I think that is a dynamic use of google maps. There are no hard and fast rules that regulate exact usage and application for Google Maps.

    The company runs classes at various distinct restaurants spread throughout the region on specific days of the month. It is very local. If I lived in North Dallas and had 30 days to take one of those classes, I might shop around for the most convenient and price competitive class….and if one of those classes was closer to me during that month…maybe I’d go there.

    Obviously, the service isn’t available at any one of those locations on a consistent basis throughout the month nor do those restaurant sites provide that service on a daily basis.

    If I didn’t have the web…I might advertise on the radio, in local or regional newspapers, late night tv that we’d be at such and such restuarants in North Dallas at some dates, East Dallas at other dates or South Dallas at still other dates.

    As far as being found under a variety of keyword phrases that also brings up good points. If I were advertising as Mike’s Driving School, Kimber’s Driving School, A-1 Driving School or Dave’s Driving School—those indicate a trade name….and could be confusing or in conflict with another branded name competitor.

    On the other hand if I’m adding uploads with a variety of keyword phrases such as Defensive Driving (assuming that is a phrase typical in Texas) or driving school, I’m merely using appropriate keyword expansion which is an appropriate way to capture as much relevant traffic as possible.

    I simply find this example as interesting and am unsure if it tends to violate the spirit of a local directory trying to get local services widely distributed to an interested group of potential consumers.

    Dave

  5. Mike, Kimber:

    I had one other observation with regard to Google Maps based on one personal effort that I find in conflict with what I wrote above.

    I’m trying to get a timely coupon on Google maps for my business. It doesn’t work.

    Google amends information on a local site subject to its updates. Updates don’t have schedules. Nobody knows when they will occur.

    So the effectiveness of Google Maps for providing timely information to consumers is negated. It doesn’t work like a radio blitz or strategically placed print campaign during a certain period in time.

    The bulk upload of one time data allows a business with time sensitive availability to project full time availability compared to brick and mortar sites also showing on Google Maps. But a tool that should respond to time sensitive information really doesn’t work.

    There remain a lot of difficulties to be worked out in Google Maps in my opinion.

    Dave

  6. They also have multipe listings using different names at the same address of a restaurant.

    While it might be dynamic, it is not a sustainable model from Google’s point of view.

    It will se intersting to see what Google does.

    To see the range of their listings try this search on phone number

    As you can see from sample search results, they even used misspellings for their business name to capture additional searchs. Having multiple business listings at the same address clearly qualifies as spam.


    Comedy Defensive Driving School
      
    c/o Don Pablos, 2501 South Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville, TX – (214) 826-6339
    Defensive driving school. Taught by professional comedians. Ticket dismissal and insurance reduction. Online or classroom defensive driving course available.
    WebsiteDirectionsWrite a review


    Defenisve Driving
      
    C/O Don Pablo’s, 2501 South Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville, TX – (214) 826-6339
    Defensive driving taught by professional comedians. State approved. Insurance reduction and ticket dismissal. Fast certificate delivery.
    WebsiteDirectionsWrite a review

  7. Hi Mike,

    I saw you checked in on the Google Groups report last week. I was just there and still no reply. Do you have any suggestions on how to get an answer on this?

    ~Kimber

  8. Hi Kimber

    As Jen pointed out Goodoo (ie blood sacrifice or for vegans, brocolli burnings) rapidly become an option.

    My only suggestion is to stay on the google groups posting and every 10 days ask the question.

    As you can see, that is what I did. Its easier to stay on top of if you also posting as well
    Mike

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