2008 Wishes: Peace on earth, goodwill for all people and help for MapsGuide Jen

Some days it seems like the World and Google Maps are going to hell in a hand basket with intractable problems; Global warming, end of oil, the war in Iraq, mapspam etc… but I am one of those folks that is a pessimist of mind and an optimist of heart about world affairs. I see the problems, note them (perhaps too often for friends and family alike) but firmly believe that humanity can solve them. At least I have hope that we can.

The same goes for Google. I may seem like a classic kvetcher when it comes to Google. Complain, complain, complain you say, never anything good to say… However the complaints that I have noted about Google Maps just reflect my desire for them to succeed. I really want local to work and I (in my heart of hearts) am rooting for Google to be one of the companies* that sucessfully pushes local into our lives.

In fact, it was but a little more than a year ago that Bill Slawski and I did a little “Jane, you ignorant slut”** two step where I took the side that (Google) Local would improve in accuracy over time while Bill contended that the task was too daunting and that data accuracy would not significantly improve.

I really do want Google Maps to succeed so I am making a New Years Budget Resolution for Google: Hire MapsGuide Jen some help! Heck what does a good customer service rep cost in San Jose? $60,000 a year? That’s but 100 shares of Google stock. Alternatively they could ground the plane for a week. It would go a long way towards showing that Google does intend “goodwill toward small business people and peace on (Google) Earth & Maps” for 2008.

*The other is iBegin – I like their style and business model.
** a 70’s reference to a skit on SNL where Dan Akroyd would take the role of the right wing attack dog against the politically correct liberal Jane Curitn on a Point-CounterPoint send up.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
2008 Wishes: Peace on earth, goodwill for all people and help for MapsGuide Jen by

6 thoughts on “2008 Wishes: Peace on earth, goodwill for all people and help for MapsGuide Jen”

  1. Well put Mike:

    The lack of responsiveness on Google’s behalf within the local business center is problematic.

    Customer service is an interesting phrase with regard to google’s service. They are responsive and have helpful live people for adwords accounts. That is like any company should with regard to services provided in which they are earning income directly from accounts.

    They aren’t earning anything nor do they have accounts with regard to the Maps data.

    Yet the volume of problems seems to be rising, the scarcity of responses from Google seems to be diminishing and in some cases the problems are severe. In quite a few cases people representing businesses and services seem to be complaining for periods that stretch over months.

    Yet wrong data persists.

    Of interest you identified in another thread how Google’s data in Maps was superior and more up to date than Yahoo’s data in Yahoo Local.

    The problem seems to be that Google has such a lock on traffic and is essentially running in a close to monopoly status with regard to search that the inaccuracies that cause problems for venders and customers alike are highlighted by the errors and inability to fix problems at Google.

    Of interest, I asked for help at Google Maps almost 2 weeks ago. I gave very specific information with regard to a listing, contact information, etc.

    I haven’t gotten a response. It will negatively impact the business.

    Far worse, I noted a while ago a business that has been trying to correct erroneous location information for over 9 months. (long enough to have a baby!!!) The information is still incorrect. The business tried to get it corrected directly. Then it started to contact Google in Google Maps back in November. It gave very precise information as to a correct address, contact information by phone and email.

    I noticed today that not only does Maps contain the wrong address but underneath Maps is the organic result. Contained within the organic result is a plusbox address. Open up the plusbox and it repeats a map to the wrong address.

    Go to the business website and the correct address is there. Google Maps contains the wrong address. They compound the problem by expanding the wrong data into an add-on within organic serps that replicates the wrong maps address.

    This is for a business that gave the clearest address, contact information, multiple forms of contact, and described a 9 month long process to correct the error.

    I am aware that customers and potential customers are getting lost. Of interest the business is recording the calls from lost customers. Per the webmaster who directly contacted Google, every one of the lost people found the wrong information in Google.

    Of interest Yahoo Local provides two addresses including the old wrong data and the new correct data.

    The monopolistic control of search that Google seems to hold on visitors is creating problems.

    Even as Google doesn’t have “accounts” with businesses and services that can be found in Maps the problems persist and the effort to solve them seems to have slowed.

    Google needs to expand its effort to correct these problems.

    Like you I’d rather they succeed. As large and profitable as they are it seems they could dramatically increase the efforts to solve problems and vastly outshine other engines in this regard.

    The opposite that might occur is that simply more people identify the problems and migrate to other engines.

    Regardless of not having accounts their inability to solve these issues is becoming the cause of problems. On that basis alone they need to increase the customer service effort.

    I wonder if the recent complaints about bulk uploading for Maps being broken is a system response to abuses you have aptly described as Mapspam. It could well be that the abuses of mapspam might have been dramatic in number, far beyond the ones you have reported.

    If google’s only responses to these issues are systemic and not via the attention of a few more human’s then the problems and abuses might go on and on and on.

    Dave

  2. Hi Dave-

    I really wonder about why when a company takes control of a business record and Google verifies by phone or mail, that bad numbers or bad records should sneak back in or stay in…it doesn’t make much sense does it.

    The standards to which they are being compared, the Yellow Pages and Rand McNally, have set very high standards as baselines. Also it is in an environement in which the problems are more noticable (i.e. searchable). They are exacerbated by the limited size and huge benefits conferred by the Local OneBox.

    If they can’t see their way clear to ground the plane for week, I for one would be willing to pay an annual fee for the privelege of talking to someone and getting questions answered and problems solved. I am sure that I am not alone in that.

    Mike

  3. MapsGuide Jen is the shining star of Google. They should give her a massage therapist.

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