Google Maps Local Listing Ad Spam & Other Notes

As Google Local Listing Ads rollout it is no surprise to see spam creeping in and potential trademark questions once again coming to the fore. Pierre Kairouz has shared a screen shot with me for the search taxi San Francisco which brought up this Local Listing Ad. It is interesting in two respects, the use of PO Box for the address and the obvious business title manipulation. The domain taxicabcalifornia.com leads to a website with the business name of Yellow Cabs CA and a whois address in Mountain View. The taxi industry is not a new comer to mapspam but it will be interesting to see how Google enforces its guidelines on PO Box and business name going forward as the ads become more common.

Local Listing Ad Spam - click to view larger

The keyword crammed business titles are notable in this result as well:

Picture 120

The other interesting issue presented by business name keyword cramming and Local Listing Ads is the possibility of trademark violations. This search for computer repair San Francisco Ca brings up the following ad:

copyrightviolatons-LLA (click to view larger)

The ad, while in likely violation of Google’s listing guidelines, is not in violation of Google’s Adwords US Trademark rules as the lister is an active seller of Microsoft products. The ad which goes to the lister’s Places page, does however raise the question of appropriate trademark use in both the business title, categories and descriptions.

It also appears that the Local Listing Ads are rolling out across more and more categories in the San Francisco & San Diego markets including salons, plumbers, auto parts and even locksmiths. However it is not yet available in all categories. Cathy Hillen-Rhulloda recently noted that florists in these markets have not yet been offered the Local Listing Ad opportunity.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps Local Listing Ad Spam & Other Notes by

12 thoughts on “Google Maps Local Listing Ad Spam & Other Notes”

  1. Further to this, Mike…on google.ca, I see exactly the same local listing sponsored links….ie there are advertisers here already taking advantage of same, ie locksmiths, plumbers and surprisingly (to me at least) professionals too like lawyers and accountants too…

    However, so far, I’ve yet to find a POBox being used up here…but am still searching….

    Jim

  2. Its too bad about the name requirement. Mike: If you were to list in local ads for SEO/web marketing….you could use a title such as

    Google Maps Spam Fighter instead of the more mundane but “legal name” Blumenthals. IMHO G Maps Spam Fighter would be far more appropriate and garner more attention.

  3. As far as spam goes in the new Local Listing Ads, Miriam just blogged about 3 phony locals appearing in the locksmith category in San Diego. The good news is that the spammers appear to have been cleaned out of the 7 pack.

    I’m seeing more and more keyword stuffing in business titles across the boards and it does not appear to negatively impact the listings – in fact, the affect is quite the opposite.

  4. The locksmiths ads are there for something like 3-4 weeks. Both in S.D & in S.F most of the ads belong to spammers.

  5. With Google updating their ranking algo in early October, business name cramming has had less impact on the 7 Pac rankings.

    But as they make choice real estate highly visible for a fee and the perhaps simpler adwords ranking algo this problem is resurfacing.

  6. Hello,

    I have a number of small-business clients that operate out of their homes and have a PO Box ….

    What are your thoughts on maximizing their local search potential w/ a PO Box mailing address?

    Thank you!
    Charlie

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