Why the Google Local Business Center Fails

Update: Be sure to readthe related article at SEO Igloo Blog » The Local New Year’s Resolution I Wish Eric Schmidt Would Make by Miriam Ellis.

Google Maps is marching towards dominance in the mapping world and the Universal Local results often generate traffic and  sales for those businesses able to achieve Local 10 Pack Status. It offers the promise of a single resource where a business could turn to achieve local marketing success.

Yet in so many ways the Local Business Center continues to fail in its promise and the possibilities remain unfulfilled.  It is still bug ridden, the interface & process is hard for most people to learn, and it seems to be a poor step child in the pantheon of Google products. Despite its importance in the marketing plans for many bricks and mortar business the LBC receives little in the way of upgrades and less in the way of support.

I think that most small, medium and large businesses with a local presence could forgive the technology failings if at the end of the day, there was some way to reach a human and get an answer to the sticky problems that often arise. Most would gladly pay to have a consistent, helping hand while Google works out the technical problems with the Center. Many businesses have come to depend on Google in general and the Local Business Center in particular and Google as a whole seems incapable of living up to the responsibility.

Here is a posting in the Google Maps Help Group: How Do I that encapsulates many of the frustrations heaped on one poor fellow tasked with the job of getting his local business listing squared away:

1.  txxxxx@gmail.com   View profile  More options Jan 6, 3:07 pm

I hope someone from Google reads this & is able ot contact me…

I am having difficulty correcting a listing. The listing is for Jeffrey Specialty Equipment at 398 Woodruff Rd. Woodruff, SC 29388. This company is a subsidiary of the company I work for in NJ. (K-Tron International if you need ot verify that)

I originally asked for a “postcard” to be mailed to the SC address for a verification pin #. But since I am not located at that office, and no one at that location remembers seeing the postcard arrive, I requested a telephone verification.

I listed the SC office number, but for some reason the Google Pages said “the call was unsuccessful”. So I thought I’d put my own office number as the contact & have Google call me to verify. It would not… It would only allow me to get another postcard.

I’m actually at deadline for revising this listing. The company shown merged with another on 1/1/09 and the listing MUST show the corrected name according to our Sarbanes Oxley regulations.

I called Google and asked for someone familiar with “Local Business Listings” and was told they do not offer support. At all. (?!!!) So does ANYONE have an idea how I can get this fixed or if there is actually a human being at Google that I could speak with?

They will not send a postcard to my NJ office for a SC location. They will not call a NJ phone for a SC location. They will not allow me ot change the listing until they verify, but when they tried to call it was unsuccesful and I don’t know why. (the number is correct) I’m at a total loss… and quite frustrated. Please…

Google needs to understand that Local is different than Search, that accuracy is more important than relevance, and they need to embrace the business listing side of Maps if for no other reason than these folks are the future growth of Adwords. If it takes charging a monthly fee to have the resources to service this side of the business then so be it.

But the argument goes beyond mere business possibilities as Google becomes the repository for all of the world’s data. Google needs to recognize that real people’s lives are continually affected and that obligates Google beyond just good business practice.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Why the Google Local Business Center Fails by

60 thoughts on “Why the Google Local Business Center Fails”

  1. Mike, I totally agree that SMB’s would happily pay a service rep at a reasonable rate to help with problems like this. Google can surely hire interns from Stanford or Santa Clara to man (or woman) the phones for $15 or $20 an hour.

    Would be nice if more stock analysts woke up to this idea:

    Google needs to understand that Local is different than Search, that accuracy is more important than relevance, and they need to embrace the business listing side of Maps if for no other reason than these folks are the future growth of Adwords.

  2. With the growing ranks of the unemployed, Google could go to any town (like Olean, NY) and find helpful, resourceful and educated folks to work for much less than that….

    Just staffing the forums would be a start.

    Mike

  3. Mike –
    As always, you raise excellent points.

    “…they need to embrace the business listing side of Maps if for no other reason than these folks are the future growth of Adwords.”

    I’ve personally seen this many times – business owners that have no clue what Adwords is, but they find out about their listing on Google Maps and claim it. From there, they are introduced to all of the other Google products.

    But when these businesses face the problems that they often face (conflated listings, hijacking, unable to validate, etc.) the last thing they’ll do is jump into PPC. This is especially difficult for the SMBs that have very limited resources and time.

    Just my $.02
    Jim

  4. Hi Jim

    Local unlike Search is truly community based. The community is real and not virtual…the nature of real communities is that if you have an unhappy customer (in this case a business), they typically tell ten others…as you point out the frustrations that busy businesses are finding in the LBC ultimate frustrate them and likely poison them against future dealings with Google.

    Google is essentially soiling the nest.

    Mike

  5. “I think that most small, medium and large businesses with a local presence could forgive the technology failings if at the end of the day, there was some way to reach a human and get an answer to the sticky problems that often arise.”

    Quite so, Mike.

    I couldn’t help noticing that, in your last post regarding the changes coming to the Maps help group, there did not appear to be any mention of ‘easier problem reporting’ or ‘live chat with techs’ or anything like this that would actually address the anxiety and confusion so evident in entries like the one you’ve quoted above from the fellow in SC.

    I’m in the middle of writing a post about this and your article is very germane to the issue. Will be sure to link to it.

    Miriam

  6. Thx for your perseverance Mike and for recognizing the highly important local marketing value of the Google Maps 10 Box . . . having put together a number of Google Maps profiles for local businesses, without doubt this process needs a competent hands-on individual to guide one through it. GMaps is really a little SEO niche of its own, one that is not well understood at all by the average local business person.

  7. Hi Tim

    Long time, glad to hear from you.

    In most cases a helping hand from a knoweldgable third party guide would be helpful but in this case Google has created an infinite loop of failure that even the most competent would have trouble solving…it might be that he didn’t understand that the phone call would require a pin or perhaps there was a PBX in its way, I am not sure.

    Regardless he is between a rock and a hard place (Sarbanes Oxley and Google…not sure which is hard and which is rock) and it appears that his only real option is to get another post card sent and hope that the staff there call him. It is not an ideal solution as it takes a long time, depends on too many variables to succeed and Google doesn’t offer a viable human alternative.

    Mike

  8. Hi Tim

    Long time, glad to hear from you.

    In most cases a helping hand from a guide would be helpful but in this case Google has created an infinite loop of failure that even the most competent would have trouble solving…it might be that he didn’t understand that the phone call would require a pin or perhaps there was a PBX in its way, I am not sure. Regardless he is between a rock and a hard place and there appears that his only real option is to get another post card sent and hope that the staff there call him. It is not an ideal solution as it depends on too many variables to succeed and Google doesn’t offer a viable alternative.

    Mike

  9. This problem has since been resolved.

    Google’s Local Business Center is an invaluable tool for any business, I *certainly* wouldn’t say it “failed” in any way.

  10. I would love to hear how you managed to resolve your problem. Congrat! Did you manage to speak to a person? Whom?

    Mike

  11. Mike:
    I actually found this person’s original post on the Google forum. I have to say that you appear to have really jumped the gun in order to make a point. You strike me as a Google gadfly or a Google hater.

    Google appears to have resolved the problem (Theresa makes that point on both the forum and this blog) but that won’t stop you from leaving this post up as a premise to support your now very faulty conclusion.

    Further, you make sweeping remarks about this community with absolutely no analytical underpinning or seeming factual basis. For example:

    “The community is real and not virtual…the nature of real communities is that if you have an unhappy customer (in this case a business), they typically tell ten others…as you point out the frustrations that busy businesses are finding in the LBC ultimate frustrate them and likely poison them against future dealings with Google.”

    Last I checked, those guys were doing pretty well and have quietly developed the best overall mapping product – and it’s not even close, in my humble opinion.

    I don’t have facts to disagree with you, but it’s hard to lend creedence to this sort of anecdotal remark, especially given your obvious anti-Google bias and eagerness to disparage that company.

    Cheers!
    Steve

  12. Hi Mike,

    In one of your comments you made the point that “Local unlike Search is truly community based. The community is real and not virtual….” I agree with you.

    The knowledge about local things resides locally. There is no effective way to export local eyes to far away places. Local people that know about local things can be responsible for reflecting their knowledge centrally, but evaluation must happen locally. When an individual misrepresents a local fact, community residents will know about it instantly. It would be hard, to say the least, for somebody in Google’s Local Business Center to know that information sent to them is a misrepresentation of fact.

    The structure for how we aggregate local content has to evolve. Community entities, I call them trusted authorities, will have the responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the local content that pertains to their communities. Trusted authorities could be organizations or individuals, some new but some that already exist, with a vested interest in the accurate representation of their neighborhoods. When there’s an error, the buck will stop with these trusted authorities, not Google.

    If you buy my argument that the maintenance of local content can’t effectively be outsourced to a centralized place, Google’s apparent indifference to errors could be seen in a different light. In its current form the system is broken, and it can’t be fixed. Local content is one of the areas in which Google can’t do it by itself.

    Best,
    Marty

  13. Hi Marty-

    Great points. The logic is interesting. And how we aggregate content most certainly needs to evolve….(or I will get tendonitis writing about it :))

    From Google’s point of view, perhaps they are striving for “good enough” as the standard not “Good”. That would be unfortunate but appears to be the case. Often times in this world, good enough is plenty for market dominance.

    In this particular case for example they could solve the problem moving to a “trusted agent” model that would allow appropriately authorized users to control remote listings more easily than can be done in the current LBC configuration. The solution doesn’t speak to the underlying data issues, just this particular process issue. And it could be analogous to your “community entity”.

    In general, their customer relations could supplement their current reactive methodology with a real human based proactive cr even if for a subset of the clients..

    These types of changes (fixes to the process, product and followup), while not dealing with the underlying data issues may take Local to the level of just good enough.

    It would be a sad outcome if they managed to leverage just good enough into total market dominance but it is conceivable. It would certainly preferable to market dominance with not anywhere near good enough.

    It will be interesting watching it all unfold.

    Mike

  14. Here’s my personal take on the “paid support” suggestion. Historically Google has been averse to offering paid support for free products. I think it’s because we don’t want to evoke the idea that Google has a conflict of interest. For example, if we offered paid support for (say) websearch, lots of conspiracy theorists would accuse Google of making search worse in order to make money off of people paying for support.

    Remember that Google was born in an era where paid inclusion was quite common. Paid inclusion (where someone pays to be included into a search engine’s main web index) introduces some nasty incentives where the search engine might not want a comprehensive index because it can make money when people pay to be indexed. Google never allowed paid inclusion, because we wanted our incentives to be completely aligned with having an index of as many documents as possible.

    I have no idea what the future holds, of course; I just wanted to give some context on why paid support might not be viewed as positively at Google as some other places.

  15. Matt, this is a very interesting insight & not one that I had personally considered before.

    However, I would say

    1) there are many things about the LBC that are qualitatively different from Web Search — for instance best practices for Title Tags in web search (describing what you do) are considered to violate the guidelines for Local Business Titles.

    2) I don’t think the system necessarily needs to be a paid support system. Have Google’s actuaries crunched the numbers on what a free hour of tech support from a $15 intern might mean for future Adwords revenues?

    3) Google’s birth has very little relevance to its position now as the de facto information source for anyone with an internet connection. People like you are largely responsible (and to be tremendously congratulated) for helping Google attain this position, but IMHO it does come with a higher level of necessary foresight and support of the “products” that Google rolls out.

    For instance, I do not think the LBC would be raising the same kind of ire if the 10-pack had not come into existence and maps.google.com still received the same minute amount of traffic it was receiving in Fall 2007.

    From where I stand, the LBC should have been darn near perfected before the 10-pack was rolled out as part of universal. I know you probably had nothing to do with this decision personally; this is more just a general statement to the powers-that-be at Google.

    4) Google would certainly have the support of the Local SEO community if they were introduce some kind of support system, paid or not. Everyone in this community wants to see things made easier for SMB’s and I have a feeling I am speaking for a lot of us when I say that G would be receiving a comparable amount of positive PR as the negative PR this situation is creating right now.

    Thanks very much for stopping by Mike’s blog and comment; I know your time is incredibly valuable.

  16. Hi Mike,

    This is in response to your reply to my comment @15.

    I agree that were Google to improve their process, LBC content would get better as a result. And I like your suggestion to have Google implement some form of trusted agent model. That would still take a substantial commitment from Google though. And it might raise similar concerns about objectivity that Matt raises about paid inclusion. At least in the eyes of conspiracy theorists …

    If Google becomes the dominant provider of business content it won’t be because they own the content. It will be because they provide a wide range of services that make use of that content.

    I just wrote a guest post on Greg Sterling’s blog on why we still don’t have good business content, which explores some of the issues raised here in more depth. Perhaps your readers will find it a useful contribution to the discussion.

    Marty

  17. Thanks Marty

    If Google becomes the dominant provider of business content it won’t be because they own the content. It will be because they provide a wide range of services that make use of that content.

    That might be rephrased that it will be because they provide a wide range of benefits to the owners of the businesses and end users that use the services that make use of the content. In that regard, they already are providing significant benefit in referring customers to the business owners.

    Unfortunately, they are doing so on a “good enough” basis rather than from the point of view of excellence. But their dominant share in Local has a lot to do with their dominant share in search and that at the end of the day, they are sending customers to many of the businesses showing in Universal Local results.

    I, enjoyed your piece at Greg’s. Thanks for noting it here. Anytime you want a guest appearance here, just let me know.

    Mike

  18. Hi Mark,

    You mention this about google ‘…….in so many ways the Local Business Center continues to fail in its promise and the possibilities remain unfulfilled. It is still bug ridden, the interface & process is hard for most people to learn, and it seems to be a poor step child in the pantheon of Google products.”

    But eh article goes to complain about their customer service.

    Can you possibly separate the two and share with us the more technical and user-based problems with their offering.

    Many thanks,

    David

  19. You are totally right! I’ve stopped sending my clients to Google, and instead getting them to use Universal Business Listings instead, which gets you into Google. Here’s a great post on all the Local engine/directories and getting into them.

    Local Search Directories List

  20. Keith,

    I’m a big fan of UBL’s service but my no means would I EVER stop sending clients to Google’s LBC. It is absolutely ESSENTIAL that they claim their listings there, both for ranking purposes and to make sure they’re in control of their information.

  21. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in my frustrations. Our animal shelter suffered a fire a year ago and we were forced to vacate the building and find a new home. We have done that, but since then it has become irritatingly clear that Google business is incapable of updating our information. Right now, if you enter “Santa Cruz SPCA” into the Google search engine, the old address comes up. Many people go to that address, which is now a vacant house, and assume we are no longer in business. We are not allowed to post signs with our new address on the building because it is now owned by someone else and they will not allow it. I wouldn’t mind having no information at all come up, but having the incorrect information be the first thing Google users see makes it very difficult to deal with. We get calls constantly asking why we have not updated the listing and every time I have to explain the shortcomings of Google, which most people can’t (or don’t want to) understand.
    Unfortunately, we can ONLY receive a postcard, but it never arrives. We’ve sent for it several times and never been able to verify the listing. We’ve begged the new owners of the property to go on to Google to claim ownership of the address, but they have put it at the bottom of their priority list. Meanwhile, we are suffering from the economic downturn and need as many adopters and donors as we can get. I would gladly pay a fee to have my listing either removed or updated. It’s amazing that this “free” interface is actually causing us, as well as others, to lose business. I think the GLBC should be removed all together until they can find a method of updating that actually works.

  22. Jennifer says:
    “I wouldn’t mind having no information at all come up, but having the incorrect information be the first thing Google users see makes it very difficult to deal with.”

    And there you have it. Here is a business owner who would rather have no information at all, rather than misinformation. I have been wondering if and when we would see a quote like this.

    Jennifer, you have done an excellent job of outlining exactly how problematic misrepresentation of your business by Google truly is for you. What a crummy situation you are in! And everyone here will readily understand the agonies you have gone through trying to get this rectified. You should also know that the mere fact that you are aware of your incorrect Google listing puts you ahead of the game…so many business people have no idea their listing exists and are clueless as to the fact that they may be being totally misrepresented by a company who never contacted them prior to publishing their information (or misinformation) in their directory.

    I cannot help but wonder how Google might respond to a letter from the SPCA’s legal advisor requesting that this unauthorized misrepresentation of an SPCA office be halted. It might be worth a shot.

    I’m glad you shared your situation here, as it so clearly depicts just how various parties are being affected by this error in Google’s data. Let’s see if we can name them:

    1) Your staff dealing with confused and lost people
    2) Your finance dept suffering losses
    3) The owner of the other building being hassled to take on extra work
    4) Your potential clients who are being thwarted in their efforts to adopt an abandoned animal
    5) All of the animals in your shelter who badly need new homes and may not get them if people can’t find you

    You can probably add to that list.

    Your story is a memorable one. I’m so sorry for the trouble you are having.

    Miriam

  23. I’ve recently added our apartment communities to Google Local Business and want to throw my hands up in despair. Our properties are also listed on other (paid) internet listing sites on which we control the content. We have now found that when we type in our business name on Google, our business information appears on some of our competitors’ sites which seems to be supplied by third party (unauthorized) listing sites. Additionally, since these third party sites don’t update in real time, they are quoting incorrect rents. So now I have the problems of incorrect information, correct and incorrect information appearing on competitors’ sites, third party infiltration, others using my information (and misspelling) for their own use (user content search) and no one to contact at Google to help. I have noticed growing frustration on the Google posting site and I’m not kidding when I say I believe Google may have a class action suit looming against them if this is not soon rectified. Too much harm can be done to small businesses in this process.

  24. @Steph
    Thanks for your post. I would love to see more about your particular listing and the issues that you have.
    Mike

  25. I’m having the exact same problem as the original posting. How did it get solved? Please help me! I’m so frustrated!

  26. Your only recourse if you are in the conundrum noted above is to post in the Google Maps Help forums and ask for assistance from someone there.

  27. I am at the point of going under since Google have not acted on a competitor who is blatantly ripping off (passing off) my business name.

    What was wrong with the usual system on a local level? Why do they want this Local Business Centre?

    We how have a system where anyone can post an identical listing so you have two adverts, and this makes your business look incompetent.

    The truth is, Google do not care, and it is putting business owners who obey the rules out of business as Google will not act on spam on its Local Business Centre… it is hard enough surviving during this economic crisis.

    If I go under, it will be entirely due to Google not acting in response to the numerous emails (costing a large distraction) pointing out my competitor who is breaking Google rules… and even the law.

    Google does not care. Simple.

  28. Brynn

    What is your business name and location? Can you pass along the Maps link so we can see your listing and those posing as you?

  29. I’d also like to see Goggle (if their listening?–hint, hint) add an extension to the phone verification process. We have an auto attendant answer incoming calls, so there’s no way to actually answer Google’s verification call. ) : Sad to see a company that usually thinks outside of the box start to be confined to walls.

  30. Hi Mike. Thanks for the prompt reply to my comment.

    I am the sole share holder of Drum Lessons Leeds Ltd (UK Companies House company number 6903585), though this is a dormant company as I trade as a sole trader using http://www.drumlessonsleeds.org.

    In October, I registered as a sole trader with the Inland Revenue under the name “Drum Lessons Leeds”, and registered my domain name (I have all documents)

    http://www.rawstudios.net (Richard Wilson) has copied my business name (passed it off) within the Google Local Business Centre by using the business name “Drum Lessons Leeds, in your own home”:

    When you get a moment please type “Drum Lessons Leeds” into www. Google.co.uk

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=drum+lessons+leeds&btnG=Google+Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

    As well as copying my business name which I have had since October, he (and others) is breaching the rules of the Google Local Business Centre, which state that:

    * Represent your business exactly as it appears in real life. The name on Google Maps should match the business name, as should the address, phone number and website.
    * Only include listings for businesses that you represent.

    (http://maps.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=107528_

    I am obeying the law and trying to succeed in a very hard industry during a recession. He is flouting the rules of Google and the law, and it is hurting my business by costing me customers, expense (i.e. joining the Musicians Union so as to have an advocate), income and a vast amount of time and effort in dealing with this matter (I have sent so many emails and filled in so many spam report forms and even deleted my ad and re-posted it and as a result, it seems I can no longer use my mobile to validate my LBC account). He is causing a very large distraction from my usual business acivities and I am now at the point of giving up..

    The problem with Googles’ Local Business Centre is that anyone can set up a listing very easily and create spam. As the system has become a compulsory requirement to any small business, I have no choice but to use it as my previous top listing has been made obsolete by this new LBC system… one which has no rules as Google do not act. . . no matter how many times you email them.

  31. @brynn

    Predicating your business plan on Google’s behavior is not a wise course of action.

    They are unlikely to respond to your entreaties.I would suggest that you find alternative ways to promote your business other than Maps and spend your energies building your business.

  32. Hi Mike.

    The rules are the rules, and the law is the law, and he is breaking both where as I am not. I am being honest and my competitors are not.

    Any other point is irrelevant is it not? Otherwise why have rules?

    There is one question only… Are my competitors breaking the law, and the rules? Yes or no?

    I would also add that unlike my competitors, I have all my paperwork in order (i.e. CRB – as I work with children, my degree etc). My business plan is based on being a genuine business with all relevant professional practices in place to deliver the highest standard of product (i.e. Trinity Guildhall grades).

    With any drum tutor, all business is generated by advertising to generate leads, and so I therefore have some level of SEO on my site, as do any businesses that strive for success…. i.e. there is a good reason B&Q use http://www.DIY.com. This is particularly a necessity when considering Google is the only effective form of advertising.

    Surely I can call my business what I like as I am a sole trader. I have spent time learning and using Google products and I have established myself based on this knowledge which is a perfectly credible reason for an advantage over my (legitimate) competitors. This is certainly the case with any business in the context of the real world.

    I would appreciate an honest, frank reply mate as you would be doing me a favour I the long run… You no doubt know more than I on this subject and so I would be very grateful for your opinion on my points.

    Thanks.

    Brynn.

  33. P.S.

    Please don’t misunderstand me as being rude. I assure you I am not.

    I am just trying to be as straight, direct and honest as possible.

    Of course I know that I am at the mercy of Google as so many are. Ultimately, they don’t have to list my business at all!

  34. “Limited profits” :) lol

    I will put my resources into more conventional legal action – i.e. trading standards.

    I would like to add that Local Business centre is a failed attempt to fix a problem which does not exist. At least with the old system, businesses had to pay to host a site which ensured to some extent that they were genuine – If a business wants to compete it needs a good site which works well.

    The Local Business Centre is nothing but a spam free for all as it costs nothing to create an account.

    In fact, after the problems described above, I feel like spamming my competitors :-/ or even a few detrimental feed back comments (a more legitimate response).

    Thank you for taking the time to consider my problem. I am very grateful for your time.

    All the best Mike.

    Electronic Regards.

    Brynn

  35. Does anyone know how to get around the phone verification process of this if your business phone number has an IVR (computerized greeting/menu) with extentions? I can’t get Google to call me to verify no matter what I do. The most obvious alternative is requesting a postcard, but I find this to be quite silly given that the phone option exists and I don’t have to wait for a silly postcard to arrive in my mailbox a week from now with a PIN on it.

  36. Hi yea,
    I found rather then having google call my landline I just purchase a £5 sim card for my mobile. When I request a phone verification I make sure i am in the specific building I am completing the process for as I was never too sure does Google check as to where one is before it completes the verification.

  37. Yes, there are many pitfalls, but it’s still a great resource. As for your question Greg, there is no way to get around the verification process if you have an extension. Google will not follow extensions, you will have to use th postcard verification. If you have more than 10 listings, then you could escape this however.

  38. Greg, I have had a similar problem with a phone number not working.

    I have somehow got around this by verifying my account with my gf number but adding my real number to the “additional numbers” box.

    The alternative number is somehow the one which displays on my UK ad:

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=drum+lessons+leeds&btnG=Google+Search&meta=&aq=f&oq=

    I think this may be because the number is also included on my site and so the algorithm displays this number instead, though every now and again I need to edit it again.

    I hope this helps.

    Brynn

  39. @Brynn

    Why Google shows one phone number as opposed to another is a bit of a mystery. I added an #800 as a secondary number but that was the number that was shown on the listing and in the 10 Pack.

    Both numbers were on the website and it seemed to me that since the listing typically showed for local queries that the non 800 number was the one that should show.

    My sense is that, like all things Google, it is done by an algo and in this case one that preferss #800 over a local exchange and in your case a number that has stronger signals as to its legitimacy.

    It seems to me that if Google is going to allow multiple numbers, then the business should have the choice of which is shown with their listing (assuming it is a legit listing)

  40. I would certainly agree with the algorithm choosing legitimacy as a priority…. It seems Google are doing a great deal to use technology to stamp out spam.

  41. Google doesn’t seem to get it. Why not charge $25 bucks for a business to creatre a “certified” listing and making all changes be verified via email with an optin style confirmation link to avoid hijacked listings. Your point about a higher obligation is true. Googl’es inept handling of local business listing is affecting many businesses adversely. They should roll the whole thing into the Adwords system and require you to setup an account.

  42. Good idea.

    If something is not broken, why try to fix it? … I do not see what is wrong with the good old fashioned Organic search…. it prevents small businesses creating spam by the logistics and expense of a site. It also means that businesses which have been established longest, with the money and resources (i.e. SEO) are listed on top which is what I as a customer want to see.

    There are already tried and tested methods of dealing with rogue traders and poor businesses, i.e. Trading Standards here in the UK

    Also…. the ’10 pack’ just looks awful.

  43. @Brynn

    You are paddling upstream on this one. The world is local, Google wants and needs to be there. They think they have a competitive advantage with it and they will continue to push it…

    We can only hope that Google implements standards equal to the Trading STandards in the UK…it is bizarre in some sense that a for profit entity gains some much power over essentially what should be a public resource

  44. @ Mike

    I just dont get the purpose of LBC over the organic search.

    Maybe it is to ‘dilute’ the benefit of businesses gaining too much of a commercial advantage from being top of the organic search…. It allows more business listings to be displayed on the first page increasing choice. Is this the reason?

    The only benefit I see for Google is that the company now has a database of the majority of businesses and locations.

    Do you know the reasons for its creation?

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