Google Maps Fixes missing record bug

In February, Google Map’s Guide Tom announced a bug where certain business records from the Local Business Center had gone missing in Maps. Records, once edited in the Local Business Center, randomly disappeared from both the Maps listing and the Google Local OneBox. The only fix was to delete the record and reenter it in the LBC however that often resulted in loss of rank and associated reviews. At the time I lauded Google’s new openeness and responsiveness.

Today (after 2 months of silence), Tom (and Google) announced that the bug has been fixed. The rescue came too late for my record as I had deleted and reentered it about 2 weeks ago thinking that the original had been left for dead in some dark corner. Hopefully though the fix will retrieve some other missing records from the dark recesses of Google’s storage closet (is that where they go? I’ve been wondering).


In March, this bug struck one of my records and I had posted the following at the Google Maps for Business Group that had gone unanswered until today:


Dear Maps Guide Jen, Sirene, Mike, Tom

On February 28, Maps Guide Tom posted in the “Issues” area an Alert
for Business Owners that:

Some verified listings aren’t displaying on Google Maps. Our team is aware and currently investigating. Stay tuned!


I happen to have one such listing:
Michael Donnelly Interior Design, Buffalo NY
The business shows as active in my Local Business Center. When I search in Maps on his name+ Location I see that the record has disappeared.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Michael+Donnelly+Interior+Design,+Buffa…

There is a blue pinned MyMaps record visible that I created but no indication of where the real Maps record went or which channel I need to tune into to find it. I am staying intensely tuned in but I beseech you to give me some indication that the long lost record will once again show itself and
that I have not been “tuned” in in vain.

Any guidance, advice that Google may give would be appreciated even if it so limited as to say: “Just 2 more weeks” or “Perhaps next month”. I would love to know the result of your investigation.

I hesitate to create yet another record and am hopeful that this one can be found. But if it isn’t in a back office cabinet ready to flourish upon seeing the light of day once restored to the directory,

let me know and I will enter it again.
Mike Blumenthal

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps Fixes missing record bug by

25 thoughts on “Google Maps Fixes missing record bug”

  1. It’s good they’ve fixed it, but not so good about your record.

    The tough thing with this is that, unlike with regular rankings, a clear path to fighting your way back up to the top after a setback is not apparent.

    Get more reviews?

    Likely not.

    Move closer to the center of town?

    A-ha! But not very practical.

    Did you see a loss, or were you just concerned about one, Mike?

    Thanks for posting this.
    Miriam

  2. Hi Miriam

    I should have waited but after 2 months and no communication from Google I just thought it wasn’t going to happen…now as you point out its back to the drawing board…

    Mike

  3. Mike,

    What if they are still in your LBC but after 12 weeks have not appeared on Google Maps. Is the suggestion still that we re- enter the listings?

    Your humble servant,

    Joan

  4. Dear “Humble Servant”

    The question to ask is “Were they part of the missing cohort problem?” or “Are they just newly entered records that have fallen prey to Google’s new record turtle behavior indexing issue?”.

    If they were in the Maps database, edited and then gone missing I would report to Map’s Guide Tom that his assessment of a solution was premature and wait it out …IF the record had some standing and good ranking ie lots of reviews/web pages etc. Otherwise re-enter and start over as you had nothing to loose to start with.

    If it is a result of Google’s new record behavior you have no choice but to wait, and wait and wait and…do odd jobs for you humble master. Hmmm…Let me see…

    Mike

  5. Mike

    The listings were uploaded in January 2008, so I’m afraid they may have been part of the issue. I’ve left numerous messages on the Google Help board but alas no response. I’ve been left in a Google Bind.

    Sadly I fear that the issue has not be resolved – I don’t wish to upload these listings again if that is the case. Why provide them with a false sense of success?

    Currently it’s been 12 weeks – there is turtle mode then there is flat lining. I’m thinking we’ve hit the flat lining. One message advised me that they have real people doing manual input of the listings. They must take long & frequent coffee breaks.

    Once again,
    Humbly Yours,

    Joan

  6. Hi Joan

    I didn’t realize that these were bulk uploaded. I forgot to mention the special special bulk upload turtle mode. That is even longer than the normal LBC turtle mode. :)

    Given that they were bulk uploaded my initial sense is that you are in that special limbo caused by lack of staffing not by a coding mishap. I could be wrong but I would wait for another 2 -3 weeks…I would not hesitate, in the interim, however to post and repost on the Google board until Tom or Jen or Sirene take pity and respond.

    Good luck and google speed to you.

    Mike

  7. Mike – Master of things Google

    Oh poop. Great, the SPECIAL SPECIAL turtle mode. Wonderful. I can’t wait to drop daily messages on the message board.

    I shall make it part of my daily routine. Plug in laptop, turn laptop on, make tea, sit at computer, drop message on Google Message Board, explain to my boss why things aren’t showing up in maps, bang head on desk, … you know the usual.

    The only comfort I take is the fact there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, in the same boat as I.

    Many thanks for the updates. Now did you need me to get your drycleaning?

    J

  8. Yes bulk upload to Google Maps could become a new form of meditation and learning how to cope with the plagues of life. I think you are well on your way to a certain type of nirhvana and if you can convince your boss, job security as well.

    Uh…I am not the dry cleaning type but would you mind cleaning out the inside of my car? Oh and bring me a tea… two sugars :)

    Mike

  9. *sighs*

    you have no idea how happy you’ve just made me. So happy in fact I just may bring you a low fat blueberry bran muffin with that cup of tea.

    For weeks I thought I was losing my mind. Now I realize it’s the path to enlightenment. Google enlightenment.

    Joan

  10. oops … right the car. I know a great detailing place. Bring it over – I’ll get the tyres done as well.

  11. Given your spelling of the word “tyres” I am beginning to suspect that these might just be idle promises. :) or if the blueberry muffin and tea did arrive they might be a tad stale.

    Mike

  12. I can also spell jail – gaol . I’m multi – lingual . :)

    Not to worry – Your muffin will be as fresh as a daisy. ( a posted daisy)

    Joan

  13. Mike

    What are your thoughts on using and API for bulk uploads? Do you see any advantage to this in ease of indentification as a CMR. ( which is who I work for out of Toronto) we have locations throughout Canada & the US.

    Joan

  14. Morning,

    *blows steam off tea* Well what I was noodling over was IF there was an API to do bulk uploads to Google, thus saving some stress time & perhaps provide a bridge to the gap between Google and CMRs such as the company I work for & thusly speed up the process for bulk uploads. The API would allow for Google to “see” that we are not schiztering them with multiple uploads.

    Clear as mud?

    Thanks,
    Joan

  15. In the pre-map spam days the bulk upload had a direct connection to Google Maps saving a great deal of time for honest brokers. It was significantly faster than a single entry into the LBC and from what I could discern showed up in Maps very quickly.

    However, with the incredible uptick in mapspam Google started vetting the bulk uploads manually.

    Now though in the Local Business Center, if an account hits a certain number of postal/phone verified entries or some other trust criteria is met, the single entry goes live immediately.

    Your suggestion makes sense that trusted sources should be able to do bulk updates with greater expediency. It makes sense that Google would have to do less manual checking and the uploader would be more efficient.

    It doesn’t exist now, but I wouldn’t doubt that given how things have gone in the LBC, that Google will one day have such an arrangement.

    My experience though is that Google focuses on the “end user” first putting bugs & annoyances in the LBC process way down the list of fixes. I think their thinking on this is somewhat “bass ackwards” (as they say down here) but in the end it’s their toy.

    Mike

  16. Hey Mike,

    You’ve seen me posting as “Maps Guide Jen” on our Maps Help Group, but
    I’m hoping to get out in the blogosphere and comment on blogs more
    often. I thought I’d jump on over to your post to respond more
    directly regarding the interior design business that had an issue with
    a disappearing listing. While I can’t provide insight as to the
    specific resolution of this issue, I can let you know that if your
    listing doesn’t show, the best thing to do is report the issue in
    detail and vigorously, and then wait for a fix. Usually in cases such
    as this one, I wouldn’t recommend suspending and re-adding a business.

    At times, we’ll post something like “Stay tuned!” then go to fix it.
    We’re currently talking about a better system for posting when issues
    are resolved, but in the meantime, we’ll appreciate your patience as we
    work to make our Maps product better. Thanks for the feedback–even
    when it may not be apparent that Google is paying attention, we are
    working to do better.

    Thanks,
    Jen

  17. Howdy Jen!

    You are always welcome here (even if we do pick on you once in a while). More information is always better and knowing whether to reenter or not is appreciated information.

    In this situation, I felt that I did “report vigorously” and I did wait…with no feedback in the Google Maps for Business group I came upon my deadline and made the best guess as to how to proceed. This record went missing the 3rd week in February so when I reentered it in mid-April, after 6 weeks of no communication from Google, I was doubtful of your sense of urgency. My suggestion in this matter, as I noted above, would be for the occasional interim comment from Google so that we really do know that it is under active consideration. If an approximate time frame could be provided that would be even better and might obviate the need for additional comment on your part.

    I am in the situation where I am dealing with clients and I find that if I can set their expectations correctly, they will be very patient. If I can’t provide meaningful info they get very antsy. That was what happened in this case.

    Mike

  18. Hey – Wow Jen… G’day.

    I have to concur with Mike. I’ve been vigirous in my messages, and haven’t even been given a ” stay tuned” . I too work on behalf of clients and some way to set expectations would be terrific. People can be very patient when expectations are set properly from the onset.

    Currently I’m working on 120 days of waiting. That means my clients have been waiting 240 days ( in their minds.. it’s always longer) … It’s a tad worrisome when I can’t provide any type of updates to my boss & ultimately to the client to whom I’m ultimately accountable to.

    Many thanks for hopping on and posting. :)

    J

  19. Mike

    It’s your humble servant again. Have you noticed any issues with the listings that went up after that big oopsie announced by Google. All the listings that I have done in a bulk upload are RIDDLED with errors. I don’t mean small ones. I mean great big huge honking ones.

    Such has incorrect City & postal codes. Incorrect attributes. Missing attributes.
    The list goes on. I’m on my way to the LBC to drop Google Maps Help a few friendly words. Just wondered if you or any of your readership have experienced this.
    It was like one day everything was correct… then *poof* it wasn’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Comments links could be nofollow free.