Google Maps Proves More Locksmiths in NYC than Cabs

David Mihm alerted me to an interesting tidbit about the new K- Pack. The new Google Maps feature showing more than 10 business in the Maps view, conclusively demonstrates there are more Locksmiths than cabbies in NYC. On one small block in Chelsea between 22nd and 23rd Street on 9th Avenue, Google is showing 10 locksmiths. I guess I never realized exactly how competitive of an industry it really was.

Here is a view of the locksmith business listings arrayed around the centroid of NYC near Times Square:
locksmith

One just doesn’t have to travel far in the Big Apple to get their locks fixed…do you think there is any chance that Google would go back and clean up their index?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps Proves More Locksmiths in NYC than Cabs by

35 thoughts on “Google Maps Proves More Locksmiths in NYC than Cabs”

  1. WOW! that’s a lot of locksmiths! And many of them are open 24hr? Are that many people loosing keys on a daily basis? sheesh. Or are they all fronts for laundering money? lol

    Looking at the distribution patterns I see this could become a good tool to identify areas that are undeserved by a particular service? Google maps will eventually become the poor mans ArcInfo.

  2. Too funny. Although there are probably more lawyers in California than people. Check out the Los Angeles injury attorney mapspam sometime. It is worse that ever before.

    Check out this enterprising firm:

    “Los Angeles car injury attorney”

    B.
    Los Angeles Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
    http://www.seriousaccidents.com – (213) 622-7190 – 1 review

    H.
    Montebello Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
    http://www.seriousaccidents.com – (323) 720-1971 – More
    I.
    Lynwood Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
    http://www.seriousaccidents.com – (310) 223-1441 – More
    J.
    Inglewood Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyer
    http://www.seriousaccidents.com – (310) 215-0350 – More

    http://www.google.com/search?q=los+angeles+car+injury+attorneys&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS255US255&aq=t

  3. Hmm, that’s a really good point Steve.

    Mike…the locksmith thing is wacky. It’s not like that where I live. Maybe Californians keep better track of their keys…

    Miriam

  4. That map looks like it has the measles. That data is absurd. There are not that many locksmiths. (not unless the crime rate has REALLY soared in this bad economy).

    @SteveR. That is a very insightful comment about being a substitute for arcinfo. Hah…..I used to be a retail real estate broker. If this data had even a kernal of accuracy….it would be great for identifying where the competition is heavy….and where it isn’t. I hope it is or becomes more accurate.

  5. @Miriam

    It is a function of all of the Locksmith Mapspam in major metro areas…I haven’t looked but I bet Locksmith LA would show a similar pattern.

    Mike

  6. “It is a function of all of the Locksmith Mapspam in major metro areas…I haven’t looked but I bet Locksmith LA would show a similar pattern”

    I would bet every business in LA would have that same measles effect!

  7. “That map looks like it has the measles. ”

    Ha ha, Dave. Honestly, are you seeing spots before your eyes?

    Mike, yes, it must be a metropolitan affair. I’ve yet to see anything abusive in my small town.

    Miriam

  8. To better understand how the locksmith business work, u can read the article on the link below.

    Here is a quote from this article:

    “This is one of the scary parts they have a near monopoly on the cell phone 411 system. They have filled the data bases with so many phony address listings in most major citys that when you call 411 on your cell phone ( which most people do now)
    you will get the same counterfiet locksmiths over and over again. you could ask for 10 listings and they will all be one of these scammers or another with some local adress that is phony. they use thousands of different names also. It is always the same 55.00 service qouted for a lockout and after they unlock your stuff the price goes much higher. These companys are really not in the rural areas but the are in just about all major citys from coast to coast and from top to bottom.”

    http://thehollytree.blogspot.com/2008/02/scam-alert-phony-israeli-owned.html

  9. ok, it must be spam then. Just did the same search for locksmiths in Toronto. Population 5 million, and locksmith distribution looks like 1 every 5 to 10 blocks, not 10 per block.

    I just did the new york search for florists, check out west 28th St. between 7th Ave and 6th Ave. I count 29 floral shops on that one block stretch of road. 1 in every building (in sat view), a few in middle of road. Many of them using toll free phone numbers. Gotta be spam.

  10. @Stever

    Its hard to say about the florists in that area being spam….it is a wholesale flower district and in NYC these businesses tend to congregate a great deal…one street is solely florists, the next street is importers, the next might be cloth etc…so while 29 seems a bit much, it would be hard to verify.

    Mike

  11. Wow, that is a ridiculous amount of locksmiths! I wonder how Google can actually fight this sort of mapspam. Maybe they can limit how many listings you could post each day? That probably still wouldn’t do much good. Would it be too much if they limited the amount of listings each IP could post?

  12. You don’t have to tell me about it. I work with one of the locksmiths trying to get to the top of the heap in New York. Everyday it is like a war. I’ve never experienced anything like it. To shed some light on the “measles” on the map. This goes back to before Google was even born. Locksmiths spammed 411 the same way. They create hundreds and in some cases thousands of listings on all of the main streets. The idea is to get the best name on the best streets to come up when an operator does a 411 search for locksmith on whatever street. They bring the same philosophy to Google Maps. Most are Israeli so they also bring the do or die mentality to listing. Google has done somethings to police spam but to be honest – there is no way I believe Google can fight it well. These guys are smart and ruthless. We had a legit 2nd place listing that got jacked and our local business account shut down. It’s crazy. NO ONE wants to compete in this market if they have any sense. So what’s that say about me? ha.

  13. @Arties

    It is interesting that you’re LBC was shut down. Has it been restored?

    Well, I am hoping that Google is up to the task…they are pretty smart and ruthless too. It will be an interesting match up IF Google decides to enter the ring.

    Mike

  14. @ Mike

    Our LBC has been down for almost a month now.

    I found another post in your blog from your “deep throat” source and his story is EXACTLY like mine.

    It was interesting how it started. We had several listings in the LBC account – some weren’t legit admittedly. One weekend we couldn’t access any of the listings. The LBC could be accessed but there where NO listings in it. Then one by one all of our “legit” locations came back up – about 7. We tried blackhatting to fight back and about 2 weeks later no LBC access.

    We got our listing back from the “jackers” but now it is SO FAR down the ladder. I’m thinking google “blacklisted” “blackballed” (or any other word you want to throw in there) our account because they labled us as spammers and that listing because it was jacked and associated with spammers. Which stinks. But it is what it is.

    Yes Google is smart and ruthless too but they don’t move as fast as these guys. At least so far. Locksmith is like porn. Always on the cutting edge when it comes to web marketing – blackhat, whitehat or otherwise. Sleazy yes but always ahead of the game. I’m thinking Google is afraid to enter the ring. In the meantime we ordinary people (that don’t’ have hundreds of millions in our pocket) fight the battle that Google should be fighting for us.

  15. great post. As a webmaster of one of the very few legit locksmith companies out there, I can tell you our sad share of the horror that is google map listings. Every time our listing gets hijacked (over the last year I can count at least 10 times), we report it in the proper forums. The immidiate action google takes is always to put down the listing for some time (last time we were off the maps for months!).
    This issue is something that will have to make google grow the **** up. This is not something that can handled manually anymore, with someone looking up at this or other particular listing and mend it. Its already in such a magnitude, that it requires serious action. Starting by taking off that application till they find a solution. The current situation, where innocent people many times in an emergency, are left to the hands of petty theives and legit locksmith businesses listings are a tiny drop in the ocean of frauduelent listings, is unacceptable.
    On a different note, as someone who’s in the web marketing biz, and really tries to practice decent methods of optimization – I have to say that i’m despaired. I’m in an impossible position, in a if-you-can’t-bit-them-join-them kind of position. Personally, I would leave a client before I would practice black hat methods, however, the way thing are going on
    Google is practically endorsing and awarding fraud in the google maps.
    in the words of U2: How long? how long must we sing this song?

  16. Some very nail-on-head- comments here. We have a legitimate locksmith business here in Manhattan. We are painfully aware of the thievery being perpetrated by bogus companies; we are unfortunately put in the position of trying to raise our profile in Google Maps, after months of standing by patiently and losing a pretty high percentage of our business to scammers, by reacting to Google’s relative non-reaction and rewarding of these scam companies . Sooner or later, we trust that these scam companies will be caught and hopefully prosecuted , but in the meantime we are all paying the price and Google is obviously unaware of just how damaging this is not just to the affected companies who have lost essential revenue, but to the credibility of locksmiths who are now on the defensive all the time because of the widespread ill will, extreme price gouging, and profoundly deceptive business practices these rogue companies engage in .

  17. @Mr- Locks

    Google claimed to have fixed the hijacking issue. Have you had listings fixed since the third week or so of January and then hijacked again?

    @Robert
    I think Google is aware. The question is why have they done so little about it?

    It is a tough spot to be in for you and everyone in your industry.

    Mike

  18. Its hard to say about the florists in that area being spam….it is a wholesale flower district and in NYC these businesses tend to congregate a great deal…one street is solely florists, the next street is importers, the next might be cloth etc…so while 29 seems a bit much, it would be hard to verify.

    Google is practically endorsing and awarding fraud in the google maps.
    in the words of U2: How long? how long must we sing this song?

  19. As the owner of a legitimate lock and security company, we did a similar search and found 13,000 locksmith shops in Phoenix. That’s 1 locksmith for every 100 homes! Naturally, they’re all bogus addresses but we are working very hard to help educate consumers on the issue. We recently launched our http://www.acmelocksmith.com that talks in detail about locksmith fraud, the tactics used by these companies, and how consumers can best protect themselves. Keep up with the good information Mike!

  20. This issue is something that will have to make google grow the **** up. This is not something that can handled manually anymore, with someone looking up at this or other particular listing and mend it. Its already in such a magnitude, that it requires serious action. Starting by taking off that application till they find a solution. The current situation, where innocent people many times in an emergency, are left to the hands of petty theives and legit locksmith businesses listings are a tiny drop in the ocean of frauduelent listings, is unacceptable.

  21. As a Phoenix business owner, I have found that my competition never plays by the rules. Im not sure if its there heritage, or what but 13,000 locksmiths in Phoenix is ridiculous. Something needs to be done by Google to knock the grotesque spam that is bringing consumers to their knees

  22. I live in Sydney and run a mobile locksmithing business, my advice to consumers is to ask the locksmith lots of questions over the phone. A good locksmith will be able to answer any and all questions quickly, if they are evasive or hesitant thats a warning sign.

  23. @Nathan
    Yes a look in the eye is always good. But better would be to pick the locksmith that you want to work with ahead of time, get references from friends and KNOW who you are dealing with.

  24. Google Promoted Nationwide Locksmith Fraud
    Has put 50% of Locksmiths out of business nationwide and in WA STATE.

    Calls nationwide meant for local locksmith companies are intercepted and routed to call centers.
    By overwhelming the Google Maps and 411 directory assistance
    with thousands of fake Locksmith listings every city.

    Fraud: $15 $19 $25 10%off Locksmith Fraud (Every city and business name)

    Arrests made Nationwide: But Fraud Continues – (Except North Carolina).

    Postal Inspector Affidavit :
    Money Trail leads to this company:
    EL-AD Group Holding Inc – Israel / New York city
    (Israeli Telecom and Internet Technology)

    Subsidiaries:
    Run-local-locksmith.net Nir Sibsony, Hayim Bennamer
    Enterprise-Locksmith.com Idan Kadosh
    usatotalsecurity.com E. Cohen, Ezra Cezar Cohen-Haddad
    P.O. Box 1140
    HackenSack N.J 07602
    Basad Locksmith Peleg Forman
    Dependable Locksmith Ellyahu Barhanun, Moshe Aharoni, Peer
    (arrested by Postal Inspectors)
    Global-Locksmith.com Moshi Mizrahi
    Priceline locksmith Bronx’s Shlomo,Gilad Gill, D. Sasson
    Sued by Attorney General –
    (changed their name)
    ReliableLocksmith.com Boaz Yadid
    247Locksmith.net Idan Kadosh
    P.O. Box 701
    Portland OR 97207
    LocksmithServices.com
    Locksmith Services Inc Tamir Avraham Charlotte NC

    Thousands of Fake listings nationwide in the 411 directory assistance
    7,689 Fake Locksmith listings – Seattle WA Dex White Pages 2009-2010
    1,265 Fake Locksmith listings – Omaha NE Dex Whtie Pages 2009-2010

    Consumer bait and switch pricing, (Quote $19 plus surprise labor fee can be hundreds of dollars.)
    All workers are Illegal Israeli foreigners
    (not locksmiths) passports do not permit work in the US.
    All cash operation – Workers intimidate and threaten to call police if the consumer doesn’t pay.

    See:www.RipOffReport.com / Locksmith

    See: You-Tube: Locksmith Fraud, Scam, Bogus, Ghost Locksmiths.

    See: Google: Dependable Locksmith Fraud Clearwater FL, arrests made.

    The Answer:
    Stop Google from promoting the Nationwide Fraud $15 $19 $25 10%off Locksmith.
    Remove the 10′s of Thousands of fake listings from the 411 System.

  25. In Los Angeles they have spread to different industries. What they do is buy 1000′s of DID numbers at about $1 a month. Then they go and get 100′s of P.O. boxes (Basically one box at each physical location) Then they enter in a unique listing for every phone number they have. So one P.O. box can have 20 company listings (BTW Business P.O. Boxes do not disclose that they are PMB’s like personal P.O. Boxes)

    Here one P.O. box is home to 3 Towing Companies, 3 Locksmiths, 3 Garage Door Repairs, 3 Bail Bond Offices. Each with a unique phone number thus each getting a unique listing on YP.com and Google maps.

    One guy has control over all these listings. 1500 bail bonds, 1000′s of locksmiths, and 1000′s of towing. He just waits for people to dial 411 and ask “locksmith” he will get the call.

    I was told that 411 Directory assistance will take all the business listings from a 5 mile radius of your call then randomly pick one to give you when you call. He is just playing the odds and winning.

    If you want to see his handy work search under google maps just a couple of his company names:

    “1 Emergency Towing”
    “00724 hour bail bonds”

    He operates using several names for each industry. As far as I was told the vast majority of his business is from Directory Assistance. Google Maps was a happy accident (apparently google populates its maps using yp.com and superpages.com listings.) He has been doing this for years without stop. I do not see how he can be stopped.

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