What the SMB REALLY Thinks of Google Places

A poster just left this comment on another post but I felt that it so captured the frustration of the new initiate to the bizarro world of Google Places that I wanted to give it more visibility:


Can I just say, with a monumental sigh of gratitude, Thththank youuu.

and Phew!.

Having tried to upload my lovely business on google places, I was tearing my hair out in frustration as the seizmic idiocy of google in producing such a complex, complicated, complelety impossible system which would drive anyone including Mr ultimately-zen-calm  round the i-twist. I received my postcard, logged on to the  totally unintuitive “local/add” google places website and received a message from the planet zog which said, bluntly “There is no data for your request”on my errr “dashboard” (apple speak). Having no idea what this meant, and watching in dismay as my  competitors have happily logged their businesses on places, I tried to contact google for help. Woooow ho ho, back up tonto and don’t go there. Clearly google are so customer-lovingandhugging that they have no facility in england or in holland to receive a telephone call, or an email.

Earth to google… Come in Google. Who are these people? Really, I’d like to know, who are they?

Luckily, I have a snuffle around the web (wasting valuable earning time) and found your wonderful google translation which told me that “there is no data…zogg…dubble….woogla…request” means that they haven’t uploaded the details I put in yet. Ohhh. (though quite why this  takes 6 weeks  – six!! and relies on pigeon postcards to send me cyber pin numbers, baffles me , if possible, even further).

Anyway, on my e-wanderings I met many other perfectly sensible people who have considerably less hair (and nerves) than they once did as a result of crossing paths with Google Places -How this  bunch of prepubescent techno-nerds ended up with a reputation for leading edge business practice is, well, its beyond me. But thanks to you. At least I know now to wait a few days, pity the poor so and sos who have bigger problems, Google represents hells on waiting room for common sense folk of the planet

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What the SMB REALLY Thinks of Google Places by

23 thoughts on “What the SMB REALLY Thinks of Google Places”

  1. He makes a good (and entertainingly worded) point. When the system is so convoluted that only spammers have the time/knowledge/patience to fill out and verify a Google Places listing, only spammers will do it.

    1. @Cathy
      Either that or more likely the SMB throwing up their hands in disgust. As the vanguard of users of I have often felt that the resentment building amongst SMBS will spill over into their families, clients and ultimately will create the opportunity for a competitor to step into the breach.

      Interesting you thought it a “he” who wrote this. Her post monicker was “Phillippa”.

  2. Like!

    Good to know we are here to help each other 🙂

    I wonder, now when I’m looking back, if Google was available to help me with all my Maps problems at the past, i probably wouldn’t achieved nothing as i would do exactly what they’d tell me to.

    I banged my head so many times on the (Google) wall, that finally the wall started to crack & fall. My head is still in place, though.

    …but i agree- with much less hairs on it..

  3. Places can be somewhat daunting, but I think it’s getting better. However Places ?Support? could be much better. Google wants to automate everything while users stumble around trying to figure out what’s going on.

  4. To the point. How can a company this large, this powerful, and whose impact is so far reaching escape giving customer service. It transcends borders.

    And to think print YP’s were pretty reliable, even if they only updated once a year.

    oh my

  5. I’d rather see Google start charging for Places accounts rather than charging for Analytics like it’s been rumored.

    Analytics should be free, Places create to much spam and needs to much support to be free.

  6. Great post, Mike, and sincere condolences to the poster. I am definitely starting to get more calls from SMBs these days who have already butted heads with the big G. This did not used to be the case. Most callers did not know what Maps/Places was; more and more now, they know what it is an have very bad feelings about it.

    So…word of mouth and user experience have now gotten Places deeper into the mainstream…and people are reacting poorly to what they encounter. Not too good, Google.

  7. Hey Mike
    I hate to be the breaker of bad news, but I have a feeling that the worst is yet to come. Every year, for the past two years, around the last week of May, Google is cleaning its Locksmith Index, in what I like to call “Maps May update”. As a results many Top positions places will drop their rankings (if they’re lucky) , or go offline.
    Before its Algo change, Google tend to have the same behavior:
    1. No online change for the Locksmiths Please pages- have anybody saw some new info floating to its Locksmith place page the last two month?
    2. Google employees are calling to the business locations asking for Addresses confirmation.
    3. No online feedback to a Place page editing
    4. Some place pages may not show Dashboard (I’m not referring to the two weeks bug Google had)

    I have a feeling that the next week or so would be super crucial for all the Locksmith out there.

  8. I think this excerpt says it all – as to its brilliance, that’s in the eye of the beholder I suppose:

    “Other ideas seemed crazy, but turned out to be brilliant. In response to Googler Denise Griffin’s 2003 request to expand the customer service department, Larry Page dismissed the idea, stating that the whole concept of customer service was ridiculous anyway. Instead, he suggested that the customers should answer each others’ questions. This suggestion turned into Google Forums, and lo and behold, it’s worked beautifully for Google.”

    Full text here:

  9. OH NO

    So Larry Page is the culprit!!!!!!

    He will go down in history as the man who got more small business owners and their SEO’s to lose more sleep and hair than all the other causes in the universe!!!!

  10. Mike, lets hope this post gets forwarded deep into the innards of the beast.

    I love how sometimes when updating a Places listing – or just exploring things – you get to a page which is a dead end with no clue how to proceed – no Next button or Return to Dashboard button. I can imagine how confusing this must be to SMBs who don’t know the secret tunnel back to the account dashboard. As for updates that clean out the locksmith spam. Bring them on! These days there are too many people out there trying to game the system.

  11. I have a similar and equally as frustrating experience. I’m really disgusted with the whole places system. I’m constantly in awe of how crappy some of their products are. On the dashboard, in FF and Chrome, Windows XP, the little blurb about setting up a boost ad doesn’t wrap and it intersects with the Listing preview window. Do they even have a QA department?

    Anyway, if anyone here can help, please feel free: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Places/thread?tid=4076246d7be4f246&hl=en.

  12. Well it looks like the problems might be getting deeper. Very certain that Google’s PIN validation system is now buggy. Has anyone else had problems validating via phone?

    Today we claimed & attempted to validated two business by phone.

    Business A:
    First Try – Got the 5 Digit PIN and entered it carefully – did not work. entered it again – did not work – again – “Invalid PIN number”.
    Second Try – Got the 5 Digit PIN and entered it carefully – it worked.

    Business B:
    First Try – Got the 5 Digit PIN and entered it carefully – did not work. entered it again – did not work – again – “Invalid PIN number”.
    Second Try – Got the 5 Digit PIN and entered it carefully – it worked.

    This has never happened before to us and we are not all of a sudden dyslexic, nor have we been drinking on a pre-holiday Friday afternoon. Of all the bugs I think I dislike this one the most.

    Oh hey – Have a great holiday weekend!

  13. @Jeffrey
    I’ve seen this bug ever since Wednesday of last week (5/25). The PIN has only worked very rarely and never on the first try since then. This is certainly one of the most frustrating of Google bugs since it forces everyone to use the postcard method. I really hope Google fixes it soon.

  14. Got an email from a business owner who had this to say after many Google Frustrations –

    “I’ve gone from frustration, to rage, from wanting to scream and bang my head against the floor, to wanting to have a good cry, to wishing I had some medicinal herbs to smoke. I’m not sure what comes next…perhaps listening to Jerry Garcia and pretending I’m not subject to the space time continuum.”

  15. @Jeffrey

    Yes we are not the only ones to “feel the pain”….

    Places new motto:
    Ruining Google’s reputation one business at a time

  16. Looks like I actually got some help with my page. Other than opening up a google forum thread and asking help from this blog, I also reported a problem. So I guess my advice is that if you have a places problem do all of the above steps and something will happen for you.

  17. Thanks for the link Scott.
    Our small biz has been raked over the coals with places.
    Just trying to keep up with competitors that game the system is crazy.

    Like it was mentioned before, to many opportunities to cheat the system.

    1. @Tom

      I think all too often smbs see others cheating and think that is what they need to do to compete. My experience is that making your business very visible online is the best way, long haul to stay in front of both your customers AND Google. While the cheating is crazy, sooner or later Google will control much of it and those that are the most visible will rise to the top,

  18. Wow, looks like my Places Page is back to where it was. It’s as if they fixed the problem in response to my forum post, then they FINALLY answered my “report a problem,” which caused them to, for some reason, change my places profile back to the way it was before, and it’s now pending review. I should have known it was too good to be true. Google emailed me and said that my listing “is an owner verified listing and some updates require the approval of the business owner before they can take effect,” they didn’t catch the fact that the business owner and I are the same person.

  19. @Scott
    The email is a standardized response and is not an indication that they won’t fix it… they just have no way of ascertaining whether the email came from the owner or the general public. They will fix if they ascertain it is necessary.

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