Google has been working hard recently at limiting the ability of bulk uploaders to spam the Maps Index. Their efforts have significantly cut the frequency of reports of large scale abuse.
However it appears that the new Yellow Pages are out and more than fingers walked on over to Google. Massive amounts of Remote Call Forwarding numbers and associated businesses have made their way into the Maps index. If the counts at the bottom of Google Maps are to be trusted at all, the numbers are well into the tens of thousands and could be over a hundred thousand entries. Regardless it is a lot of spam.
Cathy Rulloda describes the process thusly: “While the ultimate blame lies with the businesses who willingly providing false information to deceive consumers about their actual locations, the cloaking behind RCF numbers – which are then picked up by data providers like the Yellow Pages publishers, assigned zip codes (if no street addressees are provided), and then treated as trusted local businesses by Google – makes their entre’ into Maps easy.”
These records initially are listed in Google without any street address and a round pin. They are much more frequently shown in rural environments where there is less competition and fewer highly authoritative listings.
Florist Concierge by Wire - 20,175 listings
Flowers By Grower – 2,325 listings
Florist Telesales Directory - 5,502 listings
Flower Shops Directory- 3919 listings
This one is impressive
Florist Directory - 102,855 listings
This count likely has a large number of dupes and it may not be totally meaningful but as far as the eye could see they were all obviously the same company listed in the index.
Initially this sort of spam has the most impact in rural searches as the listings, without address do not have high authority and do not rank well in competitive areas. For example, this rural search turned up 7 of 10 of these listings in the Ten Pack. If these listings are allowed to be claimed via phone verification, it is conceivable, that like the locksmith spam, it could impact more urban and competitive searches.