I have often noted in the past how managing a business listing has gone from expensive to free but from simple to complicated. It used to be a simple matter of paying the Yellowpage salesman to correct this or change that. But now the path to getting it corrected is much, much more complicated.
I get emails from around the world from small business people asking for help with Maps. I recently received this comment pleading for assistance in a previous post on How to change your Business Address in the Internet Age:
We have a listing on GoogleMaps (Jupiter Counseling), and the other day I visited it and there was a link someone not affiliated with us placed under our weblinks to the Qigong Institute, and she listed herself as being at our address and teaching Qigong and being a “Law of Attraction Counselor”, and we cannot get it removed. The people at Google have been unwilling to help us, and they hang up on me, refusing to get me to a supervisor or technical support. Anyone know what I can or should do? This information is damaging to our business. I can’t get an answer from anyone as to what to do. Thank you. Please send answer to email@example.com.
Here is the answer that I emailed him …
I think I found your listing (you neglected to give me a url or town):
Google scrapes the web and attempts to create “clusters” that describe your business. They use things like address, phone number and keyphrases on other websites to find as many web pages about your business as possible.
This QiGong Institute website has a business directory which Google puts some stock in as a source for business information for Maps. This directory lists a business (not yours) at your address:
|175 Toney Penna Dr. Jupiter 33410||561-575-0575
|Qigong Instructor, Law of Attraction Counselor|
That data from Sheila’s entry has been merged into your business “cluster” and used in your record as the snippet viewed with your primary Maps listing.
Your only choice to get rid of this information in your Google Maps listing is to contact the folks at the Qigong Institute and ask them to remove/correct the above listing. Once that is done it could take 3 months for Google to catch up with change but eventually the erroneous info in your Maps record will go away.
Not only is the technology more complex and obscure, there are no obvious ways to get customer service at any price. Google’s only support option is posting in their online forums where the chance of running into a troll is higher than getting a straight answer. I am sure that’s not how a small business person wants to spend their time. The Groups solution assumes that they can even find the Group. A few do, where they often don’t get an answer either because they can’t really describe the problem or nobody takes an interest in it. Occasionally they find their way here.
It is incredible that Google has elevated local to the front page. Many small businesses are benefiting from that exposure and often are not even aware. But it is time for a better solution to listing management.
I know that there are companies like Localeze, eLocallisting and UBL manage your listings at the major engines and IYP but those solutions do not speak to the underlying problem created by the new system. They are band aids to a solution that really needs an industry wide solution.