Google Maps: Local Business Center Online – Merging Problem Improved?

The Local Business Center came back on line at about 2:45 EDT after being taken off line for several hours earlier today. While it does not appear that there are any new features in the LBC, it does appear that some of the merging of nearby competitors has dissipated.

The original examples of Hotels merging in Duluth, MN and Goldsboro NC have returned to normal. Hopefully the managers at the competing hotels can now take off their boxing gloves and return to the business of booking hotel rooms.

Here is a comparitive screen shot from 4/29 and today:

inn-on-the-lake

I have not checked all examples of all types of merging reported in the forums to see if there were improvements but the 4 or 5 geopositional mergings I did check showed as correct. During this most recent snafu there were increased reports of same location mergings, review and photo mergings as well as the more recent geoposition mergings. I would love to hear from folks who experienced the merging and whether the situation has improved across the board.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps: Local Business Center Online - Merging Problem Improved? by

28 thoughts on “Google Maps: Local Business Center Online – Merging Problem Improved?”

  1. Kudos to Google if they have indeed fixed this…on a possibly unrelated note, I noticed several searches over the weekend that HAD shown 10-packs in the past not show them anymore…perhaps they are learning that they need to get the algo squared away first?

  2. Yes if this problem is gone or dramatically reduced I second the Kudos. I only looked at a subsegment of the merging issues so I am still not sure how broadly this has helped but I too am optimistic.

    I am curious why you think they might be showing the 10 Pack less due to recognition of problems as opposed to showing it less based on measured click thrus or some other metric?

    I see that Locksmith NY NY still has a hijacked listing as the A listing. You would think if they were going to pull 10 packs based on quality they might start in the Locksmith industry. :)

  3. Very interesting. I’d like to hear about corrected listings also.

    @ David: were the removed 10 pacs full of errors?

  4. One of the things I was hoping they would fix is enabling a business to add their Google Sites webpage to their LBC listing. It seems strange that they would not allow this. Not that it is a huge priority, I just thought they would want to connect the two Google offerings.

  5. Still seeing a merged record on a local pizza business. But, I have to believe this is one that would be fixed if the business owner claimed their listing and provided a correct URL. Wish they’d do that.

    Congrats to the hotel folks. What a relief!

  6. There are different types of merging that seem to have different origins and solutions…

    *the geoposition mergers (now hopefully solved by Google)
    *same address mergers (solved by changing a suite number etc)
    * upstream bad data mergers (finding authoritative source and correcting)
    * conflated URL’s (claiming record)
    and now
    * cross business reviews mergings (not sure how to solve this one)

    Mike

  7. Hi Mike,
    I posted to the forum at the end of April and the two records I listed are still merged with one another. All the content is in one record. Both Fastek electric and Mr. Electric of Edmonton are nest door to each other, owned by the same parent organization, but cater to two different customers, one being commercial, the other being residential. The latest fix did not seperate these. Is there any benefit to deleting one of the records and going through the entire process again or removing the content from one of the listings. Thanks,

  8. Google perceives them as one business. Deleting one and going through the entire process will ulimately produce the same results.

    Are they both at the same mailing address? Are they two legal businesses?

  9. The merging is still a serious problem for me. It was fixed for a while temporarily, but then got mixed up again.

    How hard can it be to fix? If the business owners submit and verify their addresses as separate address, why is Google confused?

  10. Can you post the correct business information, the incorrect information and link to the Maps record?

  11. It’s a client’s site so I’m not able to post a link.

    It shows site B with the URL of site A. Or completely drops site A and shows site B until you click on “more info” where it shows merged data, including phone numbers and photos uploaded by both business owners.

  12. @Josh
    I have the same problem down here in Calgary. Two companies who are completely seperate but they have the same address address close to where Google sees city centre. One is Interior ONLY residential painting and the other commercial. Both seperate numbers, names. Google has now merged both the listings. So when someone is looking for a commercial contractor, all the commercial info comes up, but it takes them to the residential interior company.

    Same when someone is looking for an interior painter, interior painter info comes up with the commercial logo and it takes them to the wrong website.

    The companies are owned by two different entities who just have to rent a mailbox at the same UPS store.

  13. @Deb

    There are a number of these types of mergers happening at UPS and PO Boxes being reported in the forums.. It certainly makes the use of them less valuable and more likely to being merged.

  14. @stop dreaming

    I would agree that there is still a fair bit of merging going on particularly of the type where folks have the same street address. That has always occurred and it is not clear how or when Google will fix that.

    It appears (without scientific tabulation) that the type of merging that I was specifically examining – that of two competitors not at the same address – has been reduced somewhat from its peak.

  15. I put my business listings in the “Google Local Business Center” and it was working great for a couple of months, then on 24-June-09 my listings would and still are not show up anymore.

    I look at my account with “Google Local Business Center” and the listings are “Active” but when I try to update them and hit submit, I get a response, “This listing is not elgiable for an update.”

    What is going on?

    Can anyone help?

    Is there a phone number to call “Google” about this problem?

    I would be very greatful for answers to my problem and/or questions.

    Thank you;
    Dan

  16. There are several possibilities but without looking at your listing, it is impossible to tell. Please provide specifics of your listing (Full Business name, address & URL) and we can take a look.

  17. I put a buisiness listing on google and then tried to correct it and somehow created another listing. I am now waiting for mail verification on the second listing that they say is not being viewed publicly, so I can delete it. I also had 3 reviews of my business on the first listing. Now when I do different searches I get 2 different listings, each containing 2 reviews, and only one of the listings has 17 webpages attached. How can this be happening and what can I do to get one listing with 3 reviews and have my web pages displayed as well?

  18. The searches where my listing comes up on google map is “everglades fishing charters” and “everglades fishing trip” if you click on my listing under both these seaches you will get 2 different listings each with 1 different review.

  19. My head is about to explode. I am working with a business owner of two separate consignment stores (one adult & one children within the same town) to clean up their web presence. When I began, some of the information for the 2 listings were combined (ie. website, phone #). I thought this would be an easy fix…

    I claimed both listings and edited the information accordingly so that each listing reflected the correct information. I also added additional info to the listings per request of the business owner (photos, hours, etc.).

    While all of the information is correct in my LBC listings, the information is still all jumbled on Google Maps. I thought perhaps it may take some time to update and straighten out, however all of my new information is present and updated. Only now all the new info is merged as well (photos appear for both listings, separate hours appear for both listings).

    *Please, can anyone help?*

    Here are the two listings:

    CORRECT INFO:
    Just Kidding
    25 Cottrell St.
    Mystic, CT 06355
    860-536-4799
    http://www.justkiddingmystic.com
    Google listing:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&sll=41.482822,-72.525563&view=text&hl=en&gl=us&q=just+kidding+mystic&ie=UTF8&sspn=0.149324,0.674623&latlng=10423446219106559720&ei=T5NkSrPFOIe-NovV-OAL&sig2=52jV_Uvfdv170fppEtD8Pg&cd=1

    CORRECT INFO:
    Pennywise
    22 Greenmanville Ave.
    Mystic, CT 06355
    860-572-9232
    http://www.pennywisemystic.com
    Google listing:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&sll=41.482822,-72.525563&view=text&hl=en&gl=us&q=pennywise+mystic&ie=UTF8&sspn=0.149324,0.674623&latlng=10423446219106559720&ei=CpdkSoTJI5fAM9_wrfML&sig2=zgCEG550Jw83TkmE7sWxWQ&cd=1

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much in advance!

  20. @ Corey

    If you make both listings excactly the same they will over time merge and provide the unified listing with all of its appropriate reivews and web references. See: How to remove duplicate records.

    @Jay
    Google’s cluster technology leads to merging based on location & similar words. For whatever reason the cluster thinks that both listings are one and the same. This could be due to common ownership, mixed upstream data or other signals.

    I would build the strength of each listing and make them unique by seeding the upstream ecosystem and then post in the forum asking for assistance.
    Mike

  21. Thanks so much for the suggestions, Mike! Greatly appreciated.

    Forgive me if this is a silly question, but what do you mean by “seeding the upstream ecosystem?” Does that refer to info supplied by me & the business owner or from 3rd parties on external sites, etc.?

  22. By the upstream ecosystem I am referring to all of the data collection points that eventually end up providing data to the cluster; the primary data suppliers , their data suppliers, the phone companies, the business records etc etc etc

    There is also the possibility that one of the primary data suppliers or a trusted secondary supplier has conflated the two listings or that they are improperly geocoded thus leading to Google’s confusion.

  23. Gotcha.

    Who are the primary and secondary data suppliers and is it possible to correct their info and geocoding?

    Also, I’ve come to believe that deleting and re-creating these listings will not correct the problem. Is that the general consensus?

    Again, thank you so much for your help.

  24. Deleting and recreating WILL NOT correct the problem and may make it worse. All current, past and future information that is in a cluster seems to be kept forever.

    Google doesn’t directly divulge the information about there relationship with data providers so most of it is surmised. Primary: InfoUsa, Axciom, Localeze as probably others. Secondary:SuperPage, InsiderPages, and others.

    You should probably go back and read thru past postings.

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