A number of users have sent me copies of a recent email communication that Google Places is sending to claimed business where there is possible problem with the listing. The emails detail potentially conflicting information with the listing when compared to information that Google has about the business in the “cluster”.
In one email example sent to the owner of a merged record, Google suggested a category that Google thought was more appropriate. The category was obviously for the other business in the merge and was inappropriate for this business. It was fascinating that Google was not accepting on face value the categories entered by the business owner.
In another example noted in the forums, Google couldn’t verify the street address that the business was using, perhaps because of the improper abbreviation of the word terrace. Google noted:
You provided: 20814 Houseman terr, Ashburn VA 20148, United States
Google was unable to identify the correct physical address for this business. This address is required for verification. Please edit your listing, and add the real, physical address. You can later choose to hide it from your Place Page, if your business doesn’t have a storefront or office.
Here is the copy of the email I received this evening for a listing that I manage:
|Please review your listing|
Hello from Google Places,
To help people searching for businesses like yours, Google is always working to improve the accuracy of local business listings. While reviewing your Places listing for Sundahl & Co Insurance, we found that this business may be permanently closed.
Is this place closed?
Sundahl & Co Insurance
58 Derrick Rd.
Bradford PA 16701
Please log in to your Places account and let us know if this business is still open. If we don’t hear from you before January 31, 2011, we may remove this listing.
The Google Places Team
© 2010 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
Email Preferences: You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Places product or account.
The email is a refreshing effort to verify discrepancies with the cluster BEFORE a drastic, business affecting change takes place. It is also an effort to align the content of the Places page with Google’s best known information about the Place.
In my case, there has been a persistent record popping up for the business at their old address which was marked as closed. It is possible that the information from the old address, although closed, merged into the cluster for the current listing. Google’s misunderstanding in the situation is understandable.
This new outreach allows Google to double check information in the cluster against the person or people best able to suggest its accuracy… the business owners. It is a welcome step and one that should minimize improper closings, mergings and other errors and use owner provided data at lest when Google trusts the owner’s input.
Props to Google Places!
Here are the screen shots from the process of providing Google from the owner’s point of view…
Appears at the top of the Places List view:
The individual record is highlighted:
When the “Review and Correct” link is chosen it takes you to this screen:
This shows up at the end of the edit session:
Here is another interesting example of Google checking a phone number sent to me by Steve Hatcher of Axemedia, a local search marketer, where Google questions a phone number based on information from the client website. Steve noted: “A phone number listed on their website, with word Seattle next to the number, was different than their number listed in the Places listing. Elsewhere on their site they use the Places phone number, plus that Places phone number is used at all their citation sources. Just in one prominent place on their site they were using a different number for their own tracking purposes.”