Google Places Now Updating Your Listing Automatically

Yesterday Google Places announced on the LatLong Blog that they would automatically update claimed listings more quickly with information from trusted third parties and end users if Google thought the information was more accurate than information that was in the Places Dashboard. They noted:

But now, if a user provides new information about a business they know — or if our system identifies information from another source on the web that may be more recent than the data the business owner provided via Google Places — the organic listing will automatically be updated and the business owner will be sent an email notification about the change.

The policy of changing claimed listings to match what Google claims is more accurate information is not new. They implmented this program late last year with a 60 day window. Now however the speed with which Google will do the update apparently is.

The previous letters, which also would included notification of impending status changes like “Permanently closed”, were not sent reliably.

Here is a copy of the letter that is being sent. In this example, it appears that the only information change is to add the last 4 digits of the zip+4 number. In another instance I received, Google was suggesting changing the listing to an 800 instead of the local number that was in the Places dashboard:

Your listing on Google Places will soon be updated
Dear Google Places user,Google will soon update your listing data on our consumer properties such as Google and Google Maps to more accurately reflect the latest information we have about your business.We use many sources to determine the accuracy of our listing data and to provide the best possible experience for business owners and consumers who use Google and Google Maps to find local information.

Below is a summary of what your listing(s) will contain once it’s updated in the next few weeks. This will be visible on your Place page and listings across Google properties, but it will not be reflected in your Google Places account:

Blumenthals.com

201 North Union St # 307, Olean, New York, 14760-2740, US

+1 7163724008

http://www.blumenthals.com/

If the above information is not accurate, please sign in to Google Places. You may prevent any of these changes from being made on your Place page and listing by selecting “Edit”, and then pressing the “Submit” button to confirm the correct information about your business.

If you submit data to Google via a feed, please ensure that the data in your feed is accurate and current. Note that you must update listing data in your feed to prevent changes from being made to the above listings.

Note that if you are an AdWords or AdWords Express customer, your ads will be unaffected by this change and will continue to display the listing information you have provided in Google Places. To manage your online advertisements, please sign into Google Places or Google AdWords.

For more information about updates to claimed listings, please visit: http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1318197

Sincerely,

The Google Places Team

(c) 2011 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Google Places product or account.

The program’s goal is to improve index quality. If implemented carefully it can work. It is not clear how abuse proof the program is and how much trust Google will put in end user edits. Obviously many of those, if not properly vetted, could create a whole new spate malicious activity.

There is also some irony that a Google forced change to a listing could occur significantly faster than an owner change to the description or category fields.

I for one though will be grateful to stop receicing those stupid emails indicating that a problem I just reported via the report a problem link on my own record might not be updated because:

You should know, however, that XXXX is an owner verified listing and some updates require the approval of the business owner before they can take effect.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Now Updating Your Listing Automatically by

59 thoughts on “Google Places Now Updating Your Listing Automatically”

  1. I am SURE Google keeps calling me, and asking “Do customers come to you, or do you go to them” ?
    WTF DO you tell them ? IF you say you go to them, then you are screwed SEO wise.
    And if your location is a house, and you lie and say customers come to you, you are screwed when Google finds out.
    So, I think the “correct answer” is BOTH :)

  2. Because, I live outside of Tampa Mike, and my competitors are Lying about where they are. They are making up Tampa addresses, and using them, or just finding a real Tampa address, and claiming that is where they are located.
    I live in Brandon Florida, but Tampa is where much of our work is.
    Brandon is nearly 15 miles from Centroid.
    So, the result of all this is my Lying Competitors get displayed in the 7 pack, and I dont.

  3. @Chris
    If your business in is Tampa and Google is critical to that marketing effort you have two choices:
    1)Adwords
    2)Invest in an office in Tampa that you don’t need to lie about.

    A very small office, with a landline and forwarding would be several hundred dollars a month, perhaps even cheaper than Adwords. At that point you could be the honest one and report the location spam of the others.

    Thanks for your comments. Note however that I DO NOT allow keywords in your author name.

  4. Sorry about using Keywords Mike, it is “Instinct”, if you know what I mean ?
    I have several Blogs that are on Blogger. They are NO FOLLOW by default.
    I went into the code, and changed them to DO FOLLOW, and allow keywords to be used to reward my posters for posting on my Blogs, and increasing my Traffic!
    I am not the famous Mike Blumenthal, so I have to do something to get people posting, LOL in a GOOD way!

    Reporting Location Spam in Tampa is futile, try this search “roof cleaning tampa” and you will see. Maybe 2 out of the top 7 are really where they claim to be.
    These people have several other fake listings waiting in the wings! If one goes down, they have plenty more.
    I used the citation tool, and I have 80 citations, FAR more then any of my competitors.
    But I used a location I USED to live at, and never changed it.
    I think I was turned in, and Google sent a letter to that location maybe ?
    I WAS number one for that search in Places, and I still dominate, organically.

    So, I found a place page Google made for me with my Correct address on it, and claimed it, and deleted the old listing. Had to say goodbye to several reviews in the process.
    I rank for this search “roof cleaning brandon fl” (I am apple roof cleaning) so yiou can see my place page.
    Any comments Mike ?

    TY for this Blog, and all the great advice you share!
    Chris

  5. Here’s how this really works in real life. Yesterday, my former firm I left a year and a half ago let me know potential clients were calling them. The paralegal at my old firm showed me my map listing, which showed their number, not mine. I logged into my Google account, and my Places page showed the correct number. Still, the map listing listed the INcorrect number. I have put in edits and used the troubleshooter via Google to fix this, which will likely take several days or weeks.

    I have a regularly accessed Google account and have verified all my information in my places page within that account. I also have an Adwords account with the correct information and phone number. Despite this, Google just decided that I somehow don’t even know my own business phone number? I never got any advance notice on this, either. It just happened.

    This might make sense for businesses WITHOUT owner-verified Places pages (go with the best info you have). But for business owners with verified places pages, who regularly log in, and who also have Adwords accounts, we’re not exactly hiding.

    Whoever thought of this policy should be fired. I wastes my time, my former firm’s time, frustrates consumers (doesn’t Google care about the “user experience”?), and just makes no sense. It’s just a dumb idea and should be stopped. I hope someone from Google takes note of the problems this has caused.

    Did they really think about this and have meetings prior to doing this? How can a company with so many bright people do something so profoundly stupid?

  6. @Russ – I’m having a similar issue. Instead of showing a competitor’s phone number, Google did a massive update before Christmas which completely wiped the main phone number off the listing, leaving either the fax number or toll-free number, both of which aren’t even in our claimed account.

    Have you tried logging in, deleting the phone number (backspacing it) then retyping it and hitting submit? Sometimes that will do it.

    If it is due to the same bug that’s affecting hundreds of my clients, you can read about the current progress here – http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Places/thread?tid=5ea29123a1ee652e&hl=en

  7. Great, now I have a ‘bot’ looking after all my client’s CLAIMED Places pages. It’s like someone from the city going around and changing your brick and mortar signage because they heard ‘from a trusted source’ that your signage should be updated. At least they provide a warning… not that my clients will understand the ramifications.

  8. @Mike. One of the big problems I am seeing is with data management/reputation management companies. I had a run in with one. Now they are flooding the net with a similar name to mine, with their own number that routes back to me, and with the wrong suite number. As a result, other data providers are picking up this bad data and sure enough, I just found the clustered Google listing. So basically, Google made it possible for anyone to ruin your business, by allowing black hats to dilute your listing, unless you pay!

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