Google has handled Mapspam reporting in an ad hoc fashion since it was first identified as a problem in Maps almost a year ago. Despite Google’s recent efforts at tightening up the LBC interface, reports of large scale Mapspam seem to keep coming in. There has never been a formal reporting form on Google’s site for mapspam nor a Google defined procedure for alerting Google to a specific Mapspam instance. Google does read Local Blogs looking for reports and the Google Maps for Business Group has provided a venue for highlighting mapspam. But from where I sit their efforts have been minimal.
Google rarely responds to the mapspsam posts in the groups and often seems to ignore them so one can never be sure if they have been read and if the reported spam will be removed. I received several emails last week that reinforced my belief that Google needs to formalize the process of Mapspam reporting, provide specific tools for the process and aggressively police the index:
I have been trying to report a company spamming the google local business directory for months now.
When you search for a locksmith anywhere in Sydney, dr lock (www.drlock.com.au) is listed in sydney over 500 times. For example search on Locksmith Parramatta Australia.
I can assure google that there is no locksmiths in Australia that have over 500 offices. It it makes no sense for a locksmith to open 20 shops in the same suburb. I would of thought that it would raise some eyebrows at google…..
A group of local locksmiths including myself are looking to hire someone who can bring this to google’s attention.
Is this a service you provide? We are happy to pay for your time and effort to remove this guy from google maps.
I have filled in the spam form a few times, and i have also been emailing back and forth someone at google in Australia…..
I have also posted about 5 articles in google business forums in the hope that someone will see them
here is the emails i have been sending and receiving. They have been to someone in the adwords department as they are the only email address for google that i could find in Australia.
It would be nice if there is a form dedicated to naming and shaming people who spam in this way. I would think that surely google know it is impossible for a locksmith business to open up 40 shops in the one suburb, or 500 in the one city
i appreciate an help or direction with this problem
In the end a locksmith from Australia shouldn’t have to contact me for help with this problem. He shouldn’t have to wave money at me and I should not have to write about it. It shouldn’t take several months and endless fruitless efforts on his part to find a solution to an obviously unfair situation.
It is time for Google to step up to the bar and provide typical business people with an obvious means to report these problems and a clear cut procedure for dealing with it. The time for me to be the industry watchdog has passed and Google needs to accept full responsibility for solving this problem. That means:
1)Providing an obvious reporting mechanism
2)Responding aggressively to reports and removing the reported spam
3)Google should be proactively searching for and removing Mapspam on their own initiative
4)Continue to make it more difficult form Mapspam to enter the index.
Here is a screen shot of the Australian Locksmith Mapspam that the emailer is complaining about: