Google Mapspam takes on international flavor

Conversionrate of Melbourne has pointed out a stunning example of mapspam that has occurred in Melbourne, Australia on the search: mechanic melbourne australia.

melbournemechanicmapspam.jpg

According to the folks at conversionrate.com.au:
We recently found a Melbourne based mobile mechanic who spammed his business into 500 locations on the Melbourne Map in Google Maps. Whilst the business appears to have only one real location, they asserted that because they are a mobile mechanic, they should be allowed to show up on the map on every main street of Melbourne city.

I have always thought that Americans often behaved as if they had certain God given entitlements. It appears that some Australians apparently feel the same way. :) My mapspam weather reports are now indicating that Australia is not as sunny as I was lead to believe.

That being said, there is a legitimate business need for Google Maps to be able to show service area for both local and national service based businesses. If Google were to provide another Map layer that offered this functionality, it would short circuit a number of these types of rationales that are based on a legitimate business need.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Mapspam takes on international flavor by

16 thoughts on “Google Mapspam takes on international flavor”

  1. You know, the mechanic’s argument is an interesting one. Yes, I agree, having 500 entries is spam…no question.

    But what about the fact that the business is mobile? If the actual ‘work’ part of the business is taking place all over the city, what is true center of the business? Common sense dictates it is where their office is, but the argument of the mechanic makes me smile because it has a certain logic to it.

    I’m also envisioning an unfriendly and dramatic scene wherein the Melbourne Mechanics Union shows up at this fellow’s door sometime soon.

    Good catch, Mike.
    Miriam

  2. Miriam

    I agree that there is a certain logic to it…the logic of a self centered 3 year old :) …one that can’t yet empathize with others to understand that we all need to share our toys.

    It would be a simple matter for Google to add another layer to maps to provide this feature so that you could better see what businesses claim to service an area as opposed to what businesses are actually in an area.

    Mike

  3. Hi Brett-

    Yes I thinkGoogle needs to look at all “legitimate” spam and account for it in a way that is transparent to the user…in the US we have a number of national companies with phone exchanges in local markets…they currently are represented by a circle instead of a pin

    …the distinction should be more than that I suppose but it is entitrely possible to create a map that clearly delinieates the different types of businesses and Google has already done so. Once they have created a flexible mapping product that reflects the percieved needs of business they could get down to removing or preventing the more egregious types of spam.

    Although then I suppose that the ever devious human mind will come up with new and more exiciting ways to scam the system.

    I am not sure that my weight (which is currently too high due to the amount of time spent at a keyboard rather than exercising) is an appropriate topic of conversation in this blog. :)

    Mike

  4. Hi Mike, The addition of your volume (is that better than wieght? ;-) perhaps not) has dealt the spammer a swift blow.

    As of now the spammers website does not appear on Google Maps.

    When I see such spam next, I will be sure to report it to you rather than the Google Maps forum ;-).

    Miriam, thanks for the warning about the mobile mechanics union. I’ve just had my door reinforced for such an eventuality…

  5. Really interesting post Mike, its not too surprising that people have been spamming the Google Local listings, however its frustrating considering that Google have yet to finetune the system to allow legit business’s control over their listings.
    Whilst I think that the mechanic should be blacklisted (as GoCompare.co.uk have) theres a solution in that if you have a service or “mobile” product then you could introduce “service areas” into google.
    There is still the issue of Google scraping other directories for information on business’s and supplying incorrect data (that you cant change) or allowing multiple registrants to addresses (i have that problem at the moment)
    It’s a fantastic area of google if its carefully nurtured.

  6. Hi Rob-

    Welcome and thanks for your input….there is a problem on limiting multiple registrants per address in certain situations…for example my wife and I have an office in a large bank building with a number of offices as 201 N. Union St, Olean. We have two different businesses and both are in Suite 317. We would be legit in that context.

    Why can’t you change the incorrect data?

    Mike

  7. Mike,
    Sometimes Google UK crawls local directories to find additional date – then your “stuck” with this additional data that can be incorrect, and if the directory arent open to easy and quick updating (or require a fee) then your stuck with this bad data.
    Agreed the multiple address thing is an issue, I recently registered an address and now Google’s decided that another website also “lives” there and so has included them as the website (despite the top link being ours)… its frustration at things such as this that I think google need to work on.
    However, your example is legit and mine is a mistake, perhaps 3d mapping of results to show more layers?

  8. Mike – to be honest I cant actually find an example of the scraping error occuring at the moment – so I could be wrong… I’ll keep on looking as I know that was an error initially, perhaps solved now?

    With regards to the combined data problem – I’ve emailed you a screenshot to illustrate – but Google has combined two listings (despite me registering our business as the correct details) thus giving a “kind of competitor” the picture as a screenshot of their product and the email and url as theirs! and there doesnt seem a way to fix this with Google!

  9. Hi all!

    I was just thinking about the functions of Google Maps in different areas of the world. Just think for a moment the different quality in photos amongst different areas of the world. If I need some info here in Spain, that is pretty good, but when I travel to South America, what a difference!!!

    Hector

  10. Hi again.

    Sorry but I forgot and I want to close the idea I have in mind. Is there any different way to look around for instance, a service in the city of Montevideo, like pharmacy better what I get from Google Maps. I enjoy Google Maps, and as I told you in the previous comment, I think it works great here in Spain (even in Madrid, I could see almost the window from home) but I loose my steps 100 % in South America where I fly frequently

    Thanks and sorry for this second message but I forgot the question

    Héctor

  11. He can easily create a Mashup on his website. Then link to that website from his googlemaps listing. In fact the Mashup could show each site and have a colored area for the listing of each location.

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