411Locals In the Spotlight Again

In May, Linda Buquet reported on what turned out to be apparent sabotage of Places business listings by the local search firm 411Local. Here is a recent screen shot of a search in Maps still showing the Places listing defacements.

Well 411Local is back in the spotlight today. This post appeared in the Google Places Forums:

411locals is threatening to remove my places account


Level 1
Topic of your question (reviews, categories, duplicate listing, etc.):  I have been getting call from 411 locals threatening to remove my places page.
Your business name as it is in your Google Places account:ArtKat Photography
Your business type/category (e.g. photographer, hospital, etc.): Photography
URL(s) if applicable:www.artkatphotography.com

2 years ago I did a 1 month trial with 411locals.net.  They got everything wrong and I cancelled after 1 month of service.  Since then I have made many updates to my places account and now, 2 years later, 411locals is calling and telling me “we have been updating your account and if you don’t sign up again we will remove it”  Since I maintain it myself, I know this is not the case, but they have my PIN so I am afraid of the damage they will do to my places page.  Any suggestions? 10/24/11
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411Locals In the Spotlight Again by

14 thoughts on “411Locals In the Spotlight Again”

  1. It’s 10:30 in the morning and I couldn’t find the record either, Mike. And I have had enough coffee to wake up an entire rugby team!!!

    There is something problematic here on a systemic level. A malevolent outside force appears capable of eliminating a record, through one form or another.

    I keep getting this queasy feeling that outsiders with enough malicious intent can screw up one’s google record. (btw the coffee did not make me queasy) 😀

  2. Do I need to worry if a company is telling me that they can get my ad onto page 1 of Google places ? Could this hurt my future relationship with Google with other ads ? And is it possible ? I once heard that Google Places is random listings although I think I already know the answer to this question

  3. @JP
    Any company that makes those sorts of guarantees is a company that you should walk away from as quickly as you are able.

    Yes, it is weird. I was able to find it once this morning but not a second time. Apparently it is a “popular” business and it has an icon at the base level of Google Maps.

    With so many quirks in Maps it is hard to ascertain whether this was an outside or inside job.

    But the listing is definitely MIA.

  4. OH.MY.GOD!!!!

    Mike: ArtKat is now the first example of shrunken miniature Google Places visibility.

    The Big Places Record: Vanished–possibly the malevolent 411Local sunk the listing or got this person to make changes that sparked a review/ and or an internal Google action to remove the Record.

    meanwhile the often invisible teeny weeny little icon on the base level of google maps is visible.

    Could this be an entirely new phenomena: The Attack of the Incredible Shrinking Google Record???? 😀

  5. @JP
    I am saying that it is a claim that should raise warning signals and that while all who use it are not cowboys…. it is a huge flag that they might be.

    Yes it seems to have disappeared.

  6. Thanks for the link Mike. Back when I wrote that story, right afterward all those removal warnings were gone. I thought Google or 411 took them down, but I guess they are at it again.

    Had to jump in and do some detective work after reading Mike’s post.

    Just posted this in the forum too – regarding the missing Place page for ArtKat Photography.

    Possibly it’s not missing due to 411 Locals or “we do not support this location”. Possibly it disappeared due to some type of violation for having dupes or it merged into one of the other dupes. He has 2 other Place pages that he maybe shouldn’t have.

    See: http://g.co/maps/rhvqt

    1100 Concord Drive, Medina, OH (NOTE: same address as ArtKat Photography but diff phone)
    (330) 635-7078 ? · ohiorealestatephotography.com

    ArtKat PC
    1000 Concord Drive, Medina, OH (NOTE: same phone as ArtKat Photography, but address changed slightly)
    (330) 635-7078 ? · artkatpc.com

    Not saying this is the problem, just saying it could be part of the puzzle.

  7. @Linda
    I wasn’t suggesting that he disappeared due to anything 411locals did. I was just attempting to ascertain his situation without embarrassing him.

    I would agree that he may very well have caused his own problems.

    That doesn’t excuse 411Locals’ behavior.

  8. Totally agree that doesn’t excuse 411’s behavior. Sorry wasn’t trying to say that at all. Was just trying to help with the issue of the missing Place page.

  9. In my opinion it is a questionable practice to guarentee anything to SEO. What we do effects the liklihood of outcomes, it doesn’t force specific outcomes.

    The extraction of information from large volumes of data is not a determistic process in which the inputs completely specify the outputs. Search is no different.

    It is stochastic, given a large enough sample, and sufficient knowledge, we can predict the distribution of the outcomes from our SEO inputs.

  10. @JP
    The following is from http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291

    “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”

    “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”

  11. @Jim

    I agree completely about guarantees of results. I guarantee my efforts and expertise, but given that much of the success of SEO is based upon efforts by the company owner, it’s impossible to give an actual guarantee of results.

    Which reminds me, I’ve read the “guarantees” given by several SEOs, and they invariably had a clause about the guarantee being void if Google changes things. Of course, Google often changes things several times a day!

  12. I love it, valid until next algorithm update. Eric Schmidt claimed they do 500 a year during the Senate hearings.

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