Google Maps: Telephone validation not working properly in Canada?

Google Map’s LBC phone validation system has been quirky (also see the old help group) over the years, working for many but failing unpredictably for some. It won’t work with a PBX system and seems to have other limitations but a recent post in the Google Help Fourms seems to indicate that currently, for whatever reason, it just isn’t working that well in Canada.

In a protracted post that started in late January, a number of posters  have experienced problems with the system not responding to the phone input. The one common factor between many of the posters is that they reside in Canada. Google, despite there having been 25 replies to this post, has yet to respond in the forum. 

Google is the only one that knows when the phone verification system works and when it doesn’t. My suggestion would be to catalog those instances where it is known not to work and detail that information in the help files. It makes more sense than folks sitting in the forums stewing about Google’s lack of customer service. From one of the posts:

I am sick and tired of this nonsense with verification: phone verification does not work, if you are lucky and the system accepts the 1 key then you can’t type the pin code. If you try the SMS then you see the first number of the verification code. THIS IS A JOKE!!

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Google Maps: Telephone validation not working properly in Canada? by

38 thoughts on “Google Maps: Telephone validation not working properly in Canada?”

  1. Actually, I have run into problems here in the U.S. in just the last couple of weeks. I was able to verify one listing for a multi location business, then all of the sudden my next attempts for the remainder listings didn’t work as the Google system could not recognize the dial tones from either my office or cellphone. Then about three hours later it worked again. After that final verification all of my other listings have to be verified by mail only.

  2. Yes, it is quirky. It would be wonderful to have a list of known issues so you could plan when to avoid it. I noticed in the post that it did start working for some others as well. Perhaps it is just coincidence but all of the remaining posters seemed to be Canadian. Unless we hear from Google I guess we can’t be sure.

  3. Just the other day I was trying to verify a listing and the phone was not responding to my inputs. When I tried again the next day the phone option was no longer available, but SMS still was listed as an option. It was for a Canadian listing too. Snail mail it is, for now at least.

  4. Stever-

    If you get a chance (or a willing to waste some time) to test the phone over the next few, I would love to know if it is still giving you problems.

    Mike

  5. As of right now, the phone option is till not available for me when I’m in the LBC. I’ll keep checking each day till I see it available again.

    Want to also test what happens if I end up being able to verify by phone before the post card arrives in the mail. Should the phone come back online before then, that is.

  6. Not that they’ll do it, but I am curious what you guys think of the idea of Google going completely to post cards for verification.

  7. I know I’m just one reference point but I have 5 clients (London, Ontario) that have used phone verification in the last 4 weeks and it worked fine.
    I’m not really in favor of a card-only system unless it’s 100% reliable. If it’s not then it just becomes another thing to chase and with google’s accessibility that becomes troublesome.

  8. Hi Wayne

    Thanks for the feedback. Most of the reports were out west and I am not sure that it is just Canada or that it hasn’t been fixed. I was hoping to shine a light on the issue to see if it could be tracked down.

    The dual system does offer some flexibility (when it works) and provides Google with more than one way to verify.

  9. Mike, I agree that the dual system is good – I’ve just never used it so I have no reference point as to how effective it is.
    Can you , or any of the other commenters, give me an idea of how long it takes to receive the post card?

  10. It generally runs 2 weeks or so for some reason. The problem is its use in an agency model as the client often throws it away or the secrtary doesn’t know what to do with it

    Mike

  11. Yes, that’s exactly the problem I see with it. For in-house use though I can see it as a viable option. Our luck, up here in Canada-eh, it’ll take 4 weeks.

  12. Wayne, I’ve had the post card sent to Canadian clients in the past. I tell them what’s coming and to watch out for it. Can’t remember how long it took but was not long beyond the two-weeks they say it should take.

    For a larger business with secretaries, mail rooms, etc. it could be tougher for it to get to the right person.

  13. @Steve
    That’s good to know. Most of my clients are small so it could work for them. Nice site by the way, just had a quick look.

  14. @Stever

    For a big company, Google is awfully obtuse on occasion. Why not remove it temporarily as an option or post a notice that it might not work. Why would they accept partial functionality?

    Mike

  15. Mike, it’s not available as an option at the moment. They only list SMS and Mail as options right now. So they’re kinda on the ball in that regards.

  16. Hey Guys,

    We also have this same issue in Australia. It’s strange I managed to successfully validate approx 10 clients yesterday but today when I try validate some others I instantly get the error ‘We tried calling, but the call was not successful’. I am thinking maybe the system went down?

    Also with US clients I would say 3/10 would also display this issue when trying to validate – I wish there was an easier way!

  17. @George
    Thanks for reporting from Au…the problem that you mention is a new one that has cropped up since the May 15 upgrade. I am seeing reports of it in the forums and you are right, it does seem to affect US & Canada as well

  18. Hi Mike,

    Something else I have noticed and this is particular with US clients is that certain clients are only given the option to validate via postcard and not the phone. I asked a Google contact some questions and below are some responses I got that may be useful to others..

    Some main questions:
    1) Question: Some clients (mainly US) are not given the option to validate via phone just mail. Why does this happen?

    Answer: We must have information that the phone number provided matches another source, otherwise, we’re not ‘verifying’ anything.

    Not sure what source they mean – each of these clients had their number displayed on the contact us page on their site..

    2) Question: Many times we try validate via phone, it says the call has gone through yet the call never happens?

    Answer: We’re not sure why this happens. There could be multiple reasons, including but not limited to, newly created phone numbers for the purposes of call tracking aren’t immediately active on all networks at once.

    3) Question: Recently we try validate via phone and once we click on the ‘Validate’ via phone option’ instantly we get this error. We know that this is a valid number as we just called the client to alert them to the call they are about to receive.

    Answer: Perhaps the same reason as above (still multiple reasons). Phone verification is a convenience. If it doesn’t work, you’ve got to use the post card option.

    Interesting seeing post card validation 20 – 30% of the time doesn’t reach the client

  19. @George

    1)I have heard that when Google’s confidence level drops the phone number choice is removed and they move to the more stringent post card validation. These things are calculated by an algo and modeled on previous bad behaviors thus it could be any number of things that precipitate the removal…

    2)I have seen this particular behavior reported in the forums….not sure the common thread as to the cause

    Mike

  20. I am having constant difficulty with the phone verification process here in Australia. I have used it several times in the past and it has worked fine.

    As part of my service to my clients I am updating and reclaiming their LBC listings so therefore I have been verifying numerous listings from different businesses.

    I am curious about the comment above about an algo that determines if the phone verification will work. I keep getting the error that the number could not be reached by Google.

    Maybe due to my excessive use of phone verification (10 or more in the past 3 weeks), I set up and use individual accounts for each client, but it is all done from my PC and IP address, so Google must be blocking phone requests from my IP???

    Interesting!!!

  21. @Dean

    At this point, I think it not only possible but likely that they are shutting down the phone verification if they see anything that is suspicious and forcing post cards. What you describe is a use case that from the point of view of their algo would fit that description.

    Whether its cookies or IP address or some combination would be interesting to find out. Thanks for your reporting your experience.

  22. I also think it may be the case as for SEM companies providing this service, phone validation is a must as clients do not wan’t to wait a few weeks to activate their listing.

    One of our validators again had the issue last night whereby Google would bring up an error for all clients he attempted to validate…

  23. I can now say that it looks like Google does looks at the IP address. I attempted to validate a listing via my standard IP and I got the message ‘Google can not make the call’ I then decided to go through a proxy and it worked – coincidence maybe?

    This topic continues to get interesting:)

  24. It’s not working in the US either. Google is apparently aware of problems but does not seem to be fixing. They have erroneos info associated with my info (a wrong website). I’ve tried to verify, edit, delete, recreate etc….. Also, I did not create the 1st incorrect Maps Listing.

    I am very frustrated. I finally found the support e-mail and got an automated response but it’s been over 48 hours as they suggest it will take to correct and it hasn’t been corrected and still no verification.

    And, there is no longer a live Tech Person you can speak with.

    Again, very frustrated.

  25. “I then decided to go through a proxy and it worked – coincidence maybe?”

    Excuse my lack of knowledge here, but what is the best way to go “through a proxy” and use a different IP Address?

    Please advise…

  26. @Dean

    Go look up “proxy server” in your favorite search engine. You will find lists of servers you can use, often specifying the country of the IP location for that server. Basically it allows you to surf the web with your pages framed through that site, masking your IP address by making it look like you are at that other IP. Some of these proxy server are anonymous with no identifiable IP, or the IPs are changing on a regular basis. The proxy’s in those lists change all the time.

  27. Surprice, surprise… i have just reclaimed another clients listing and validated it via phone…. AND IT WORKED!!!

    So whatever was “blocking” me from the service last week appears to have “disappeared” today?

    Will keep you posted if I get blocked again…

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