Google Announces Fix to Closing Report Issue

This update was posted late yesterday on the Google LatLong Blog post about Combatting Spammy Closed Listing Labels on Google Maps

Update 9/14/11 at 6:26pm (PST): As promised, we’ve recently made a change to our process of displaying when a business has been reported to be closed on its place page. More specifically, we have removed the interim notification about a report having been made so that a listing will only be updated after it has been reviewed by Google and we believe the change to be accurate.

The good news is that Google will only report out a business as being closed after it has been reviewed by Google. There will no longer be the interim message of “Reported to Be Closed”.

The questions remains as to whether an email will be sent to a claimed business and what signals and how Google will actually close the business. But on average it appears to be a solution moving in the right direction.

Here are previous articles with a timeline on the topic for those of you just catching this story:

Date  Source  Article
 9/14  This blog  Google Places: Now Permanently Closed with 2 clicks – Its Getting Worse NOT Better
 9/6  This blog  NY Times: Closed, Says Google, but Shops’ Signs Say Open
 9/6  Lat-Long Blog  Combatting Spammy Closed Listing Labels on Google Maps
 9/5  NY Times  Closed, Says Google, but Shops’ Signs Say Open
 8/16  Google PR/Joey  Clarification re: Clarification re: closed listings on Google Places
 8/15  This blog  News Flash: Google Mt View Reported Closed!
 8/15  This blog  Places Blackhat Playground – Reported To Be Closed






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6 thoughts on “Google Announces Fix to Closing Report Issue”

  1. I think I did test it with my locations in my 2 clicks article. I realize that both of my legitimate listing each got one closing report. One listing, which for various Googly reasons, was not trusted, got closed. The other did not.

    What I was seeing was the “new system” in action.

    If a listing is not trusted or Google has other signals that a listing is closed, even if claimed, one click will send it for review and close it (algo?human? not sure).

    If a claimed listing is trusted and Google has no other signals, it will still go for review but, unless their is human error it will remain open. I am not sure what will happen if 5,10 or even 20 people report it but one is not enough.

    I do know that the email did NOT come. I have seen reports of these emails as far back as last December so it is not clear whether it should have and didn’t (ie a bug) or if it was not going to come due to the low trust in the listing.

  2. Mike:

    My gut is that there was not human testing with regard to the Branford location. As we discussed, and of course this is hypothesis in that we do not know how Google works, the “closing” via algo, could have occurred because of an algo, wherein two different aspects of the algo played out: A) the record wasn’t highly “trusted” B) the source of the comment was highly “trusted”.

    As I had mentioned to you earlier, my review account, which has some level of “trust” made political reviews about a business a while back. Those reviews are still up. They realistically have nothing to do with the business. Someone else made very similar reviews with the same political commentary, and again had nothing to do with the stores upon whose records we put the reviews.

    In the latter case those reviews came from a totally new google account, and were the first reviews by that person. In all those cases the reviews were removed.

    I suspect that the “all algo” Google Places world…has installed algo’s to identify a level of “trust” with regard to these potentially spamming issues.

    I sincerely doubt they have supplied a layer of humans to actually oversee what is occurring. Of course this is hypothesis….but I doubt it.

    Knowing the level of spam that can occur and the level of competitive spam that can occur I suspect that the door is still pretty widely open for spammers to “close down” competitive businesses…..just slightly less open than before.

    Now if google sends correspondence or better yet calls before putting up the closed sign…that would be an improvement. Hopefully that will occur going forward. At this point my perception is that dedicated spammers still have an open door to wreak havoc if they choose to do so.

    I still maintain a better way to close this door on spam is human review. I have a very strong suspicion it isn’t occurring.

  3. @ Mike, This change will be interesting for places pages that mask addresses. Any user with seasoning can report a listing to be permanently closed. User generated content is what Google wants however this is abused by the competitor that is jealous their business listing is being out ranked by a fellow competitor. This go’s along with what I call the Negative Review Slam.

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