Is Google’s Australian Data Partner Spamming Places for $11 a Listing?

In Australia, Google uses the Australian Yellow Pages as the exclusive primary data source for Places and it is so noted on every page of business listings in the Maps results.

Yet this story from the forums of being able to buy your way into a multitude of Places listings by purchasing locations with the Australia YP rang true. While I have not verified all of the facts independently I have heard reports elsewhere of being able to create a large number of Places entries via the Yellowpages.

If true there is a certain irony in Google’s primary data supplier knowingly spamming Places for as little as $11 a listing. I fully understand that YellowPage’s have long accepted non local listings for the local YP directories as a revenue stream. Perhaps they don’t think of it as spamming. But they must know of Google’s guidelines requiring a real location and yet appear to have proceeded with the explicit acknowledgement of feeding the listings to Google.

Whether 1300 Florists used the Australian YellowPages or not, the Maps index is full of their spammy listings, without address and with the same phone number through out all of Australia.

Here is SweetAngel1988′s post from the forum:

Why is it that 1300flowers is allowed to have 700+ Places listings all over Australia?

sweetangel1988

Level 1
2/6/12

I was searching for a local florist for Valentine’s Day last week and came across a Google Places listing for 1300flowers. I actually know 1300flowers due to seeing their advertisements on t.v, so I thought it very strange that they had a Google Places listing in Beaudesert in QLD, Australia. I also know that they are not even a florist, just an online florist, and that they are located in Sydney. This first issue is quite a concern when I thought that Google Place was specifically for local businesses.

Being a local business owner myself, and with a Places listing that I am always struggling with,  I dug a little deeper to find out how they could possibly have a local florist listing, in Beaudesert of all places.

After clicking into the listing I noticed that the listing had been fed to Google by Yellow Pages (yp). I then went to yp, searched for 1300flowers and found their business listing (this is also strange as they are not an actual florist). In their listing I found a link titled “additional locations”, and this is where I found the listing for Beaudesert + 700+ others:

Beaudesert
Beaudesert QLD 4285
ph: 1300 356 937

I then starting searching all the ‘addition locations’ in Google with the work ‘florist’ after it. And, you guessed it, they are all listed in Google Places. I didn’t check all of them but searched and found at least 100+ in Places. So it seems there is a major loophole in Google’s relationship with Yellow Pages in Australia?

Posing as a local online only business I then rang yp and said that I was interested in targeting certain locations for my yp listing in the hope of getting a Google Places listing. Their response was “yep, not a problem, provided you have a relationship with another business in that town/suburb you can have multiple locations that will then appear in Google Places…’ What, am I missing something? The worrying thing that then happened was that they said that each ‘additional location’ would cost $50 AUD. Then yp went on to discuss what they define as a sliding scale, that is, the more postcodes/areas you target the less they cost. I said what it if I want to target 700+ locations? Their reply was that the cost would go down to around $11 per postcode. These locations can be view here http://www.yellowpages.com.au/sup/1300-flowers-14028036-listing.html?context=businessNameSearch

So, I have more than one question on this.

1. How is Yellow Pages allowed to do this?
2. Does Google even know that yp is doing this?
3. How is it fair that a big company like 1300flowers is allowed to have 700+ LOCAL Google Places listings?
4. Is yp breaching the trust and integrity that Google Places stands for?
5. Is yp taking advantage of their relationship with Google?

I am clearly concerned about this major flaw with the relationship between Google & YP and hope that this post gets through to some decision maker in Google Places.

Has anyone else heard of this happening before?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Is Google's Australian Data Partner Spamming Places for $11 a Listing? by

10 thoughts on “Is Google’s Australian Data Partner Spamming Places for $11 a Listing?”

  1. The whole Yellow Pages connection is a disaster because when you have a business that has been listed for years in YP they often don’t have a web address connected to their listing and Yellow Pages is extremely difficult to update.

    When you look at local search for Bing here in Australia you’ll see they don’t even have a way for local businesses to verify and update their listings. Bing after all these years you still don’t have a way to correctly serve Australian Local Search… WTF!

    Bing takes their details again often from YP. So, if you’re able to spam Google Places with YP you can probably assume the same thing is happening for Bing. That would be great value for $11.

    To confirm, when I search Bing for a Florist in Beaudesert, 1300 Flowers comes in 2nd ahead of many local businesses.

  2. @Mark
    That’s interesting about Bing and getting 3x the value for your listing. Can you add a URL if you pay them? Or is it a problem only if you work on the free of the listing update?

  3. @ Mike – with Bing, there is no verification process to manage a local listing for an Australian business, but they still have listings often derived from Yellow Pages. So, good, bad or ugly… your Bing listing may depend on what Yellow Pages says about your business.

    For that reason, I was just adding to sweetangel’s comment to say that not only would you get listing on Google Places, you would also get listing on Bing Local when you buy the extra localities from YP.

    Now, I have not done it. I’ve never called YP and tried to make an add for multiple locations. But, when you look at the florist example the listings on Bing are related to Yellow Pages > http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?ss=florist&where1=Beaudesert%2c+Queensland&s_cid=ansPhBkYp01&mkt=en-au&ac=false&tbox=1&FORM=LARE#bGlkPXluMzY0N3gzMDA3MjkwNTY=

  4. IYPs have been an easy portal for entrance into G Local/Places listings for many, many years here in the US. There’s no real down-side for the IYPs because they aren’t penalized or held responsisble for selling to fake local businesses.

    Very frutrating when G trusts data that’s truly untrusworthy.

  5. From my knowledge this is a standard product that Yellow Pages supplies for their YP online listings. It is a way for targetting all areas that you service through their own website. The issue I believe comes from Google then scrapping the YP database and collecting all of these additional listings and auto generating in Google Places. I would suggest that YP are trying to bridge a gap in their own capability of their website and inadvertently causing the issue with Google Places. Also the prices quoted are for having your listing added to YP Online not for creating the Google Places accounts so I would not draw the conclusion that they are ‘selling google places listings’. I would suggest that the people on the phone have little understanding about the relationship with their YP online listings and Google Places. This is a system related issue that needs to be addressed by YP management.

  6. I’ve worked hard for the last 8-9 months building backlinks, citations and writing academic articles relating to my business in order to boost my rankings. Finally made the top spot! While doing all this I’ve kept a close eye on my competitors and they weren’t updating or adding anything new but still maintained their stranglehold on the top 7 local listings. Now it makes sense why they were at the top; they spend big money to advertise in the YP.

  7. In fact ATT is using this same tactic to create listings that have a tracking number and then use the GP as a pay per call product…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Comments links could be nofollow free.