Today’s Google Mapspam report – 75% chance of rain

tirerack2.jpg

Update: 12/23/07 The Tire Rack mapspam has been removed. Since none of the other spam mentioned has yet to be removed, I presume that the company rather than Google did the removing.

There have been three new reports of Mapspam at the Google Maps For Business Group in the last few days.

Our reporter in the trenches of the florist industry, Cathy, noted a variation on an old theme where a national flower reseller with local phone exchanges makes a common appearance in the Maps for the top 60 or so markets but without any local address (note the map indicator is roundmappinround.jpg and not pointedmappinpoint.jpg.)

I also noted a new type of Mapspam where a national company, The Tire Rack , created a listing for each and every independent tire store that may or may not carry their product and gave each a local business name of “TireRack Independent Recommended Installer” a local business address and the corporate #877 number.

Thus each local Tire Rack installer is listed in Google Maps twice, once with their own phone and once with The Tire Rack’s #800 (877-596-5090). The number when called took me to the corporate switchboard. They seemed to have achieved a new upload record with 3,576 listings. I tired at listing 500.

This practice does not bode well for Maps or independent tire installers. Obviously the day is near in Maps when every Addidas shoe seller or Nikon camera store will be listed with the corporate phone number. And what local retailer wants to forgo their local brand identity to have the supplier of one of their product lines pick up the phone and do who know what with the call.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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15 thoughts on “Today’s Google Mapspam report – 75% chance of rain”

  1. I’ve recently seen a bunch of this – here’s an example from a lead generation group for plastic surgeons called Signature Forum: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=cosmeticboston.com

    Try also: washingtondccosmeticplasticsurgery [dot] com

    Feel free to clean the URLs Mike.

    If I was their client in Boston or DC I’d be pretty unhappy at getting locked out of my natural results by a vendor.

  2. Your example is interesting. It is more local in nature. It appears that one local business creates multiple entries with different keywords in their fake business title all at the same address…to achieve more relevancy…. very interesting thanks for the post

    Mike

  3. And still another report about google mapspam at google groups for business owners. This one focuses on locksmiths.

    As we have discussed and as has been mentioned earlier, if only sporadically, it would seem that Google needs to put more energy and resources into Maps in terms of customer service and its filters and controls for adding information and updating information.

    It is at times extremely powerful. It can have dramatic impacts on businesses; both positive and negative.

    As rewarding to universal search results as it may be when added to organic results it can also contain either wrong information and/or results that are astonishingly inaccurate or downright misleading with regard to real brick and mortar businesses.

    Additionally it is astonishing to see the large number of businesses that can’t seem to update or alter the relevant information with regard to addresses and phone numbers.

    Its sort of been like letting the genie out of the lamp that was hidden and corked for a thousand years. The genie has both positive and negative attributes. Whoa to the folks that suffer from the negative attributes.

    Dave

    Dave

  4. Boy those Philly results are weird. There are so many phone numbers used with only 1 digit difference…its a little difficult to pin down but I will dig through them and see if I can make sense of it…they are definitely spammy. Thanks for the heads up

    Mike

  5. Mike,

    The worst part about the example is that they’re not local. They’ve chosen addresses which are right near the centroid and are using 800#s.

    Signature Forum’s business address is in the Chicago are which makes it complete Spam. If you follow through you’ll see they’re merely conversion pages, “Call this #”, “Fill out this form”.

    This is the most egregious example I’ve seen — where the addresses and other information are purely fictitious, but there are plenty of others which are hyper-local and keyword rich.

    What I wonder when it comes to a real business, say a local dentist who registers additional locations with key phrase rich names like “Teeth Whitening” and “Dental Implants” is, is it explicitly against the G Local TOS? Or is it just disingenuous?

    Will

  6. It is not against their TOS which is quite vague.

    See this post with MapsGuide: Google offers new solution for Mapspam removal: Goodoo where Jen said in response to this query from me:
    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 accetable practice and what wasn’t and what the consequences of unaccpetable practice would be.

    No, there isn’t. We try to be nice and keep things flexible by staying out of the legal repercussions of creating a statement that would confine our users to specific uses of Google Maps. In the future, we may have to revisit the question of whether or not we need a statement such as the one you were looking for.

    The same applies to a single listing. There is no clear guidance.

    Think it is time for them to revisit, eh?

    Mike

  7. The top result shown with map for the search “english language school london” on google.co.uk is a bogus business, using a photo of someone else’s corporate-looking building, and the address on the listing corresponds to the “Little Italy” restaurant (the address on the website is a small residential flat). Perhaps the one of the individuals behind this got through Google’s verification procedure working as a cleaner in the restaurant? Does verification actually exist?

    You couldn’t make it up!

  8. Hi Jenny

    Have you called the number? I assume that there really is such a business somewhere? Maybe not.

    Here is the info you noted:
    http://www.englishlanguageschoollondon.com

    English Language School London
    ‎Address:
    23 Villiers st
    London, WC2 6ND, United Kingdom
    020 7381 5070

    Interestingly the domain is owned by:
    nails and beauty academy
    Flat 15
    1 Vereker Road
    london, london W14 9jp

    Which shows two Google Maps listings:
    Nails and Beauty Academy
    http://www.nailsandbeautyacademy.co.uk
    100 Regent St, W1, London – +44 20 7381 5070
    Directions and more »

    Nails and Beauty Academy
    http://www.nailsandbeautyacademy.co.uk
    Third floor, 1 Vereker Road, London – +44 20 7381 5070
    1 review, directions, and more »

    The second address is where the domain, EnglishLanguageSchool is registered. Both have the same phone number as the English Language School. Wonder how they answer the phone?

    What is located at 100 Regent St.?

    They also own the domain:www.the-englishschool.co.uk. The English School London has a listed address of:

    Barons Court,
    London W14 9JP
    Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7381 5070

    They are all seem to be working under a name of Cavendish House Education and Training Academy. Although little could be found on that name.

    First they give you English training then you get put to work doing nails. Sounds like a vertically integrated organization. :) Wonder what else they do.

    Ah the web we weave.

    What is your interest in this?

    Mike

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