Google Places Tightens Up Verification Process for New Businesses

Last week, I reported that a number of folks were only seeing the post card verification option and no phone verification when entering new businesses in the Google Places Dashboard.

In the forums Google noted:

Hi all,

I understand there have been some recent questions about verification methods. If a business is new to Google, certain verification methods may be unavailable depending on the information provided for the business.

Whenever Google wants to maximize their trust level in a listing they will request post card verification as it offers them the highest confidence that the listing is real.

The phone verification option is only available now when Google has strong confidence about the listing data. It appears that Google has “upped the ante” in this regard particularly in relation to new business listings.

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Google Places Tightens Up Verification Process for New Businesses by

36 thoughts on “Google Places Tightens Up Verification Process for New Businesses”

  1. Having “upped the ante” I hope Google is able improve it’s capability on the post/mail route… in the past it’s been shockingly bad at managing to send postcards.

  2. As Gidseo mentioned, that’s fine as long as Google actually sends the postcards. My sister and her husband have requested the postcard twice for their new local tub refinishing business, but nothing has ever arrived. It’s been several months now, and the frustration level is high. I’m not a fan of the post office, as they lose things often, but if I had to bet on where the fault lies in this particular case, I’d bet it’s on Google’s end.

  3. Ok this is kind of interesting… cuz i have listings of all my clients and i see for some clients Google offers both and for some Google offer one option that is phone verification (opposite to what is stated above).

    Also, this is notable that its not account that they are showing their confidence on its the business listing itself which is good i guess!!

    Thanks for the update.

  4. I have also seen occasions where you are presented with the phone option – but only the first time. Skip the proces and you are prompted to use a postcard. Sometimes this can be a real pain as the local storefront owners might have no clue on what to expect and in some cases – mail just disappears.

  5. @Moosa
    The postcard seems to be the only option on new clients… for others Google mixes it up to keep things “honest”.

    @donna +gidseo
    Post card delivery is always an issue. On the plus side the last one I did (just before the recent change) took only 3-5 days… let’s hope that is the new norm.

    I think that the Google creates variability to make it harder and less predictable to scam.

  6. As others have indicated, I’m really hoping that these new verification process hurdles are done in coordination with a review of the postcard sending process. I’ve seen postcards take 2, 3, 4 weeks to reach clients.

    It will be interesting to see which of the future listings I do for clients will have enough “trust” to warrant a phone verification option. Will google use things like citations attached to the phone number or address to determine if a business is legit? Will things like the location where the listing is being created (IP address) in relationship to the businesses physical address have an impact on the verification options?

  7. I first started seeing this on Friday when trying to assist a client with a new Places page. While I think it is a good way to combat spam, I am worried that this will only further the aggravation my clients feel when dealing with Places.

    Starting today, I have also noticed that you can not file a complaint directly on a Places page if there is incorrect information. Anyone else seeing this?

  8. @ Matt

    The disappearance of the Report a Problem link on claimed listings was noted on January 20th. Google has acknowledged the bug and indicates that they are working on it.

    Good advice

    Hopefully this change is occurring with a simultaneous speed up of the post card process. I know for me it was quite a bit faster several weeks ago.

    Google is likely using every means at its disposal…

  9. Mike,
    3-5 days, eh? That’s a little more heartening. I’m eager to see if it arrives that quickly for the next totally new client I take on. We all want Google to crack down on spam, but if the end results are what people like Donna’s relatives are experiencing, this will not be a satisfactory solution. Most people have good phones in this country, but in many areas, the mail may not be so stellar. Hmm…interesting developments.

  10. I managed to get a few Phone verifications thru googles new and improved wickets

    however none were for new business’s found unclaimed and unverified listings

    this should suffice for now but it appears that trying to create a new profile from scratch is still an issue

    anyone else seeing anything otherwise…

  11. I did a training course this morning with 25 attendees – it was a Google Places workshop and a few other components. Out of all 25 only 3 had the option of phone verification. All the others were postcards. The ones who had to go with the postcards were all new listings too.

    The phone verified ones were listings that were claimed before but never verified. This is in Ireland.

    1. @Kevin

      Thanks for the confirmation. Your sample size is big enough to be definitive. I am curious who offered the workshop?

      I think Kenvin’s answer is pretty definitive

  12. I’ve been able to claim existing listings for clients using the phone since the new verification security kicked in, but creating a new listing from scratch is still not possible.

    The brand new listings even had some pretty good citations out there. I thought that this might trigger google to allow the phone verify option. But to no avail.

    Anyone still able to create brand spankin’ new listings with the phone verify option?

  13. Mike – I gave the course this morning – last week I gave the same course – all were able to phone verify last week. Today – only pre-existing accounts could. Course was titled “Getting found on Google”

  14. mike … what do you mean by ” Today – only pre-existing accounts could ”
    there is a chance to do the phone verification or not ?

    1. Nothing is hard and fast with this system. It appears from what I have seen is that if a listing has not been previously verified with Google then they are only offering the post card option

  15. I claim local listings on a regular basis and you can expect about 90% of them to turn up in about 5-6 business days. About 10% seem to get lost first time around so a simple re-send should fix the Issue.

  16. @all
    It appears that the postcard only option is presented to new Places accounts claiming its first business. When I attempted to claim a businesss in an account with an already successfully verified business, I was offered the choice of either phone or post card verification.

    So while it does appear that the verification procedures have been stiffened, it seems to be only on new accounts claiming new businesses.

  17. @Mike

    I’ve had different experiences with the places accounts. I just tried to claim a new listing on an account that had 10 verified businesses and was only given the postcard option.

    This was for a traditionally heavily spammed category (Towing). So there is a chance that the extra roadblocks could be in place for this category only (not sure what category you used when creating your listing, Mike).

    I’ve already started altering my client’s expectations when it comes to the time necessary to claim google accounts. Although claiming existing listings is still done via phone, I just tell everybody that the process is going to take 2 weeks to be safe. The extra time gives me a chance to get existing citations in order and create all of the necessary new ones… Surely not the end of the world, but still a bit annoying.

    Funny that these standards are what Bing has had in place for some time now. If the listing exists, you can verify by phone. Otherwise, it’s a postcard.

  18. I just tested creating a new listing inside a 5 year old seasoned user with one 5 year old listing… postcard was the only option. Mike, I remember I read a post about a guy that played a trick on the zip code on the post card google mails. I searched for it but cant find it.

  19. @Robert

    That sounds about right. It is a more complex than new listing = no trust. Clearly Google is getting more granular in their approach to verification. Trying to keep the cost down as much as possible (via phone) but keeping trust up when they think there is even an inkling of suspicion (postcard). They are not stupid and this increased granularity is in the end a good thing.

    As you say, as long as you set client expectations appropriately (and the card comes in a timely fashion) and have an appropriate work flow, an agency can do just fine with the post card option.

    I am not sure which post but you might try searching on “Illusory Laptop Repair”…. if that it isn’t the one you are looking for, let me know.

  20. In my experience with Google Places if you have no prior connection with Google you always get the postcard only option. i.e. if you set up a gmail account to get things started.

    However I’ve noticed if you already have a gmail account and Youtube channel all the options are open to you to complete the registration.

    Recently I’ve been working with clients in S/E Asia and the postcard option is the only option.

  21. Hi Mike Blumenthal
    i want to know if i can get to the Google maps without get to Google places
    ( like directories and stuff ) can u recommend directories that can do it or if there is another way ? thanks 🙂

  22. I have had a gmail account for 3 years and can’t list my business on google maps. So I don’t think the history of a gmail account is valid.
    I have a U.S. phone as well as Mexico phones and would like to get a phone verification, but all I get is the postcard option. I doubt that I will ever receive it. I am on my second go round.

  23. For those who setup accounts for clients, doesn’t the postcard go to thier place of business? Do THEY then have to verify it? I am not sure how you can setup a Google Places for a client without the verification process….do you go through their gmail or your own. Any help on this? 🙂

    1. If you are claiming on behalf of the client then they will receive the card and either enter the pin themselves or (my preferred) give you a call with the PIN

  24. Can someone tell me what the postcard method is and how I access it. I need to change my phone number and can’t figure out how to do it. Thanks, Arlin

  25. I have created a new listing from an existing account and have only been given the postcard verfication option. The building in which my business is located does not have a mail system thus we have a separate mailing address. Is there not some sort of appeal process to google to request another verificaiton option?

    1. @Alyce

      There is no formal mechanism.

      What you might try is to put the buildings address on the first line and some nearby address on the second line. It should bounce around the PO but ultimately end at the second address.

      Google will use the first line address for directions so you should be ok

  26. I just edited my google places that I have had for 4 years and verified it back then by postcard. However, today I went to change my phone number, and was told that I had to verify the listing and my listing would not be active until I enter the pin, it is already active, so will they remove it? will I lose the placing I get for certain keywords, such as “web design in plymouth” I am currently B in that list.
    I hope someone knows the answers to these questions

  27. I just created a new listing on google place which google showed to be verified by phone no. But I did not get any phone call from google. That’s strange. Although it shows phone call verification option and I selected it, but I am not getting any calls. Really strange. Did anyone face such problem?

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