Last week I interviewed a lawyer from LA that had been banned from Maps for multiple listings with invented addresses. I followed up with some examples of the Mapspam that were dominating the Local OneBoxes in the legal and plastic surgery industries in Southern California.
Matt Cutts & Maps Guide Jen responded that this type of Mapspam should and would be penalized. The good news was that over the last week, Google took down most of the reported examples (although the brain injured lawyer Los Angeles mapspam still returns an authoritative Local OneBox…maybe Google finds it as funny as I do).
However, Google’s hand editing of the index is not really a cure for these types of abuses. I realized that Los Angeles was a multilingual town. Our Hispanic brethren might have just been experiencing the same kinds of Lawyer Mapspam if Google had not been thorough in their cleansing efforts.Â
My search for Abogados de Inmigracion Los Angeles turned up this Authoritative OneBox:
|Tip:Â Search forÂ EnglishÂ results only. You can specify your search language inÂ Preferences|
Just today in the Google Maps for Business Group there was a posting from Helen in Spain that indicated Google was preventing multiple listings at one address even for legitimate multi-lingual reasons. Was the OneBox above a legitimate listing or was it just the tip of the proverbial Mapspam iceberg?
You Â just have to love LA and Google Maps. In this case, the law firm even manages to misspell “abogados” and provide an excess of Adword’s listings. This firm has managed to enter his firm at the same address at least 6 times and that is just in English and Spanish and one specialty. I didn’t check the many other languages that might attract immigration Â traffic in LA:
There are more listings at this address that seem to appear under other searches:
Jacobson Lawyer 553 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA
And the firm seems to have multiple listings at other offices throughout Los Angeles. See: lawyer site:greencard4you.com loc: Los angeles
1)At this point Google will remove certain types of spam but only when notified.
2)Even when notified, they seem to only deal with the specific listings and don’t look any further. Clearly in all of these cases where multiple listings were at a single address there was a strong pattern of industry and locale with easily identifiable search strings. If I can dig them out with no tools and no access to the underlying data, they could have easily done a more thorough cleansing.
3)There are certain times when there is a legitimate need for more than one listing at an addressÂ as in a multilingual situation.
We are experiencing a certain Cowboy Capitalism in the embryonic days of Google Maps. The “No Holds Barred” approach to listings in an effort to achieve results squeezes legitimate listings out and will mislead and deceive consumers. Â
Predictable rules and regulations are a must for any business to invest in the medium and do so with confidence. Clean, high quality listings are a requirement for the public to embrace Maps and that apparently will not happen with the current rules. Clearly, if there are rules, Google has not been forthcoming about what they are.
This is not a problem that the market (unsuspecting individuals looking for service) can solve. Google needs to step up to the bar and implement clear, transparent guidelines for businesses to follow. They need to prevent the abuses at the initial listing level and additionally have a proactive internal campaign to look for and remove spam when it is does enter the system.
Either Google self regulates or as a poster pointed out in a previous comment, the FCC or some other regulatory body will step in and do so as Local works its way into the everyday lives of everyday people.