Google Places Now Requesting Business Licenses?

Dave Oremland of Professional Bartending School in DC, alerted me to the fact that Google Places is now apparently going so far as to request a business license from some businesses to verify their authenticity. In this Google Places forum post the Commonwealth Sunoco of Boston asked:

I received an email from local-help@google.com. They are requesting a scanned copy of my business lisence. They sent the request to my business email and not to the email I used to create my listing.

I just want to know if this is a legitimate request and not some scam.

Google Community Manager Vanessa confirmed that it was really Google that was in fact asking for a business license:

Just to confirm: Yes, that request is from the Google Places support team.

This is the first report of Google going so far as to ask for a business license. The reasons for the action are unclear. Was there a question of a guideline violation or was it to settle a dispute as to who actually controls the listing? I have no idea.

I am of two minds about the procedure. I am a big proponent of Google cleaning up the index and this is certainly a way to do that. In the case of wildly abused industries like the Locksmith business it makes complete sense. But it is perhaps too intrusive and makes certain assumption about what is a business and might throw too much wheat out with the chafe.

Dave Oremland of felt strongly that this was incredibly intrusive and inappropriate:

I found this stunning, again as a business operator and as one with current issues with g places…and essentially its black hole non responsiveness.

A police or govt. official might ask for a business license. One incredibly unhappy customer out of thousands might do it. If you were in court it might be requested. Nobody else ever asks to see it. We have over 100 years of business ownership for our several businesses.

Nobody asks for it. Google, from its engineering cocoon, disconnected from the real world, and unwilling to establish direct contact through people, is using its power to force businesses to do something nobody else would do. Not all businesses can scan information, not all businesses will have a license.

What do you think? Is this an inappropriate intrusion or is it a great way for Google to start cleaning up their index?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Places Now Requesting Business Licenses? by

60 thoughts on “Google Places Now Requesting Business Licenses?”

  1. Haven’t heard of this happening to any of my clients yet here in Michigan. I control over 120 Places listings for every business from auto repair shops to research labs.
    Good to know just in case a client calls me, I won’t be ignorant to what may be happening.

    I have always asked for a business license number right along with all the basic info for a customer. Some listings, such as Angie’s List will ask for it. It’s good to have on hand for that purpose.

    In my opinion I do not think Google should ask a business for a copy of their license.

    I think Google, with all of its resources, could just ask for the number and find out if it’s legitimate themselves.

  2. Although absurd, this is a step in the right direction, i guess. Looks like they couldn’t solve this one “algorithmically”.

  3. This is really interesting to me.

    While I agree that Google is probably overstepping their bounds, I’m curious if this form of verification would be required on a case-by-case basis.

    The name, in this case – “professional bartending school” is a keyword-heavy business name, and it’s not so different than naming your business “locksmith in dc”.

    Perhaps business licenses will be required to ensure that A) these businesses actually exist, and B) the name is actually correct?

    If that were the case, I’d support this initiative. I’m sure we’ve all had SERPs that were mucked up with spam entries.

  4. Angieslist, Healthgrades, and probably several others I can’t remember ask for biz license number before publishing/confirming profile. Good step if its easy and safe for the user.

    Maybe Google only seeks papers for large accounts confirming multiple listings with multiple locations? …and further bog down the efforts.

    Seems like a waste of time half-ass attempt – and who says spammers can’t mock up a business license scan…does Google really know/confirm the authenticity with every municipality?

    If not, then useless. If so then incredibly cumbersome.

    Either way – Next.

  5. @Chris, I couldn’t agree more. How would they ever confirm if it was genuine or not? Most determined spammers would not be held up by this. Where legit small consultants etc would not fudge it like that.

    Google could not have access to all municipal records.

  6. I just did a listing for a local company here in the Seattle area and they actually sent a post card to their office with a confirmation code to verify they were really at the business location. Once they received the postcard with the confirmation I was able to activate the listing.

  7. Any thoughts on what triggered this request?

    Could it have been the location in the company name (“Commonwealth Sunoco” rather than “Sunoco”)?

    Side note: Glad to see that Google Places followed-up with the customer directly rather than suspending the listing or the account.

  8. Hey guys this was a VERY unique case and the biz license was requested for a very specific out of the ordinary case. I was the one that escalated this to Vanessa, so know the background details.

    I don’t think you need to worry about it becoming standard practice or anything. This specific situation would not come up very often.

  9. Many businesses in unincorporated areas like Marina del Rey, ca don’t require or issue business licenses. In San Diego, it is only required if you maintain taxable property at the location. But if you use an office that is furnished by the landlord, there is no property to tax and thus no license required. Great idea, but not based upon real world realities. Now people will be denied listings based upon another non universal rule?

  10. Not all cities require a business license to operate. I moderate a county wide networking group for my industry and having a business license is a requirement to be a member. It was quickly pointed out that some areas do not require a license.
    Perhaps Google is requiring proof of license in cases such as security work, restaurants, dentists, mental health workers and other types of business that involve public health.

  11. Hi Jaime, yep that’s me. Hiya!

    I still own 5 Star but my heart and most of my time has been over at Catalyst, my local search business for over 2 years now.

  12. Wow..I have been following you since 2007…You actually helped me get my journey started online..I thank you for that!!

  13. Linda: Thanks. Gives me something new to blog about.

    “Cities and Counties that Do Not issue Business Licenses – If You Want to be Listed in Google Places, Relocate to a Non Business Friendly City with Draconian License requirements”

    Business licenses are a municipal requirement in some cities only. Some cities require a license to have a children’s lemonade stand. And California wonders why all the businesses are moving away? lol. So much for free markets.

  14. I’m not surprised by this at all. Google Places is a feature that could easily be abused if spammers start loading it with fake companies. Good for Google. I assume that if someone doesn’t have a business license, there are alternatives that will satisfy the Google Places support team.

  15. Looks very legit, and as Linda pointed out, this won’t happen all the time. It’s a good sign that Google takes the listings seriously.

  16. Mike:

    Thanks for publishing the issue. Long ago I spent a relatively lot of time in the places forum, on behalf of smb’s we operate, plus trying to assist other businesses. Recently, this business was hit via a dupe issue…and so I’ve gone back into the places forum significantly.

    I’ve been surprised at some of the processes and responses within the forum in general in a number of ways.

    1. Clearly, as you outlined last December there has been an incredible sea change in google responsiveness to small businesses: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2011/12/21/the-untold-story-of-2011-googles-significant-investments-in-google-places-support-structure/

    For anyone that has spent years working on places issues and experienced the process….your article was deeply descriptive.

    One of the improvements was getting more TC’s involved….Linda Buquet, who has commented above is one of them.

    there were many other systemic changes that were improvements.

    2. Yet, as you described in that fascinating article, there are still improvements necessary….specifically and easily visible if you spend any time reviewing the comments within the Places Forum from frustrated smb’s and the SEO’s that represent them

    3. In a general sense it about communication, and more specifically a level of direct responsiveness…..something akin to customer service.

    You know customer service…..its different than resonding. Customer service means communicating and resolving issues and creating understanding.

    In conjunction with the above, its ultimately about how overwhelmingly significant Google is as a virtual monopolistic source of information. Really its the total replacement for 411, the yellow pages, and every other source that used to exist about how to contact businesses. Its THE SOURCE. I’m not the only one who realizes that. In a different Places Forum thread, on an issue where a record has been repeatedly lost, one of the reviewers from Map Maker jumped in and acknowledged that Google Places is the SOURCE of NAP information. That it is the modern equivalent of the Yellow Pages.

    On this issue, the request for a business license, I know that many businesses don’t have them and/or the smb hasn’t had to access them for years. probably doesn’t know where he/she has it filed.

    Its the “out of the blue” kind of response…coming from a power greater than all others….(Google) that sticks out and makes this look so egregious and difficult.

    Oh if only there was an ombudsman on board…someone who could move google communications to a place where common businesses could understand and operate in a simple basis.

    I suppose my next question to

    Linda: Why and when would Google Places require a business license. Is this going to be common practise? Can we get an official comment here????

  17. “Linda: Why and when would Google Places require a business license. Is this going to be common practise? Can we get an official comment here????”

    Hi Dave, like I said this is a rare case and I don’t foresee it happening much. I was told in private by a Googler why it happened and am under an NDA with Google so not sure I can say, but seriously it’s a unique situation that I don’t think comes up often.

    I really would not worry about it at all.

  18. The post-2011 Google Police State is here!

    Today I had a client change his password temporarily so I could log in and update his Google Places account. When he went to change his password back he got this message:

    “Choose a password you haven’t previously used with this account”

    Really? What?

    I confirmed this on my own Google Account. The days of temporary password changes are over.

  19. Hey Mike,

    At first glance, it looks to me like Google is missing the point with the main issue in Google Places. The biggest problem is moreso “is THAT business at THAT valid location”, not “is THAT business at THAT location up to speed with it’s licensing information”. I just think it’s a roundabout route they’re taking. And if what Lynda says is true, I guess it’s nothing the rest of the local search world should be too worried about. It would be interesting if this is route Google will begin taking when you have more than one owner verified on a particular listing and they’re trying to verify who the real listing owner should be…

  20. Vanessa just confirmed in that thread what I’ve been saying:

    https://groups.google.com/a/googleproductforums.com/d/topic/business/V438SBzbQek/discussion

    She wrote: “To follow up here, since there seems to be a lot of talk around this thread: In very rare cases we may ask for documentation of business ownership or authority in order to confirm Place page verification. Nothing’s changed with the current verification processes we have in place. “

  21. I have never seen this during the verification process. However, a Google employee requested a business licence from me after I had asked him to unauthorize some old accounts that we were trying to remove our listing from.

  22. I’m confident verifying that a business has a business licence is not going to solve many of the issues we want Google to help us with. That being said, I wouldn’t have any problems with it.
    Andy :-)

  23. I’ve never heard of this kind of call from Google either, so it must be a very unique situation. If Google wants a business license, they should just require it upfront when the initial Google Places listing is setup / claimed.

  24. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to require a business license in my opionion. This would not address the issue of Google changing the playbook with Google places, but it would help eliminate business’s that are listed that are not legitimate.
    As for Google places and what it’s done to all the small to medium size business’s like ours it’s akin to the political areana where you change at the drop of a dime.
    So many of us played by the rules and spent years and ten of thousands of dollars playing by the rules to become relevant on Google only to have them now list any local business whether they’re twenty days old or twenty years old come up first. What ever happened to the search being related to relevacny.
    Craig Camel
    Advanced Mold Diagnostics
    Advanced Stucco Inspection
    Advanced Building Stragegies.

  25. One competitor of a client has at least 10 fake addresses in our metro area. We have reported the fakes and no action was taken. He has a business license. BFD. Will this help or annoy? Annoy if it does not fulfill its purpose of reducing spam, which seems to be the sisyphean task of the search and social providers.

  26. Per Mike’s request: Look for Christos in all the city locations. We know that he only has one location because we know the local industry and he’s one of our main competitors. Alos G maps and G earth show the locations. Try these cities: Clearwater, Dunedin, Tampa, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, Largo…in fact all the little municipalities in the Tampa area.
    [city] fl movers will get you the results I’m talking about.
    Bogus reviews, fake addresses and websites (all the same code!) served up from different IP address I believe is the spammy cocktail.
    Kris

  27. +Kristinn: Does your competitor represent these locations as customer facing? If so, isn’t that type of service more service area business anyways? I mean, when I want to hire a mover, I look for any company, local or not, that will come out and move me. Another flaw of Places perhaps, is that it assumes everything is local, or that local is somehow better for all things?

    I remember Mayflower Movers. They were local to all cities by virtue of their service areas, not local addresses. Anyways.

  28. My undertanding is that if you list an address, you do business at or from that location. I just view it as a rule and if you break it you are a spammer and it’s unfair competition. I just want to playing field to be fair (or close to it). The service area thing doesn’t work as far as I know, and I’ve tried.
    I think a problem is that if you provide a local service that spans many municipalities, you can’t get on the Places list for each municipality. The only way as far as I know is to make up fake addresses for the places outside your cit and use some other techniques so you don’t get caught.

  29. @ Scott: re: some of your comments here: http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/05/02/google-places-now-requesting-business-licenses/#comment-570609

    I’ve spent recent time in google places forum after this business suffered a dup. But with regard to your comments about our business name:

    The business and business name date to 1968. We bought it in the 1980′s. The URL was established before google became a business…..and if we had to do it all over we would have named ourselves something like barending school DC. Not that would be smarter and better keyword application. ;). LOL

    We operate a bunch of different smb’s of various types in different regions/cities/markets. Jurisdictional laws with regard to regulations; official business names, licenses, etc. are all different. We’ve had different smb’s for aggregated over 100 years. I could probably count the number of requests to see a business license on both hands. Its rare. I deal with a lot of smb operators. I was a consulting vendor to them on a complex issue for a long time.

    Most SMB operators are simply not knowledgeable about issues relevant but tangential to the core of running their businesses. That’s why they hire, lawyers, ad firms, seo’s and local seo/places specialists. Some wouldn’t know where their licenses are. Frankly I have to check w/ each operating manager to check if they have quick easy access to them.

    Vanessa wrote, and Linda confirmed here that it is going to be rare when they ask for this info. I believe that…but I’d like to know when and how that might occur…and if they have alternative ways to check and verify if the smb can’t come up with the information.

    After all…a lot of different verification forms on webs have multiple questions to verify…if you can’t remember or don’t have access to the first security/verification question.

    For whatever reason Google feels obligated to ask for that info…I hope they have alternative mechanisms to try and accomplish their goal. I suspect they are trying to verify control and ownership of the business in some way…but I don’t know.

    Here is some historical perspective vis a vis google places. A couple of years ago they set up new operating terms that required legal name for a business. That was nuts. For all we know the Professional Bartending School could have a legal name of Pappa Ooh Mau Mau, LLC (it doesn’t) :D But the dba (doing business as) is and has been Professional Bartending School for over 4 decades.

    Some terrific SEO/commentator published a blog piece about the different sets of rules in each state for establishing legal name.

    BOOM!!!! G Places Personnel must have read that terrific piece and they changed the specific terms about business name.

    When I saw the thing about business license I didn’t want to see it morph into something like the legal name issue. It wouldn’t be good for a lot of businesses, IMHO, and then it wouldn’t be good for Google Places.

    At least that is my TWO CENTS :D

  30. Just a side note that I recently learned as I struggled with eliminating automatically created duplicate Facebook Pages for my employer’s locations: Facebook already requests a business license or tax form.

    I attempted to verify with my work email address as I’ve done in the past, and my claim was rejected with instructions to send the business license or tax form. Neither of these are feasible, due to the nature of my employer. I wrote a response that pointed out that my email had been used successfully in the past, showed other verification paths online (this official page confirms this official Page which confirms what I’m telling you, etc), etc. The second reply from Facebook allowed me to proceed without sending an official document, thankfully. Not sure what I would have done otherwise.

  31. Wow Mike!

    This is ridiculous. My town does not issue business licenses so I don’t have one but I have a very legitimate brick and mortar business! Google is getting way out of hand, maybe this new government lawsuit will reel them in a little.

  32. @ Dave – Thanks for your response, and for your additional clarification and thoughts on the matter.

    I was merely curious, as I know in the past Google has had issues with business names that are keyword heavy. I’ve even come across some folks suggesting that a company changes their name in order to comply with the quality guidelines, which is absolutely absurd in my mind.

    Like I said, my immediate thinking was that they may require business licenses to ensure that the business name is in fact correct, and not an attempt to game the system – which, in certain cases, would be appropriate (in my mind).

  33. WOW — I have read Mike’s post and now all of the comments — and am quite surprised at the backlash against what I believe to be one of the smartest actions Google Places staff can take!

    Google has a tough job making sure the businesses listed on Google Places are valid businesses in the industries they claim, but the truth is that it is local municipalities who should be the police for whether businesses in their jurisdiction are legal or not. Not Google! If some jurisdictions choose to have weak licensing rules or no licensing rules, shame on them they are allowing many illegitimate businesses to exist in their area.

    In the ideal world, I think Google would SOLELY require a business license and of course valid address, phone, URL etc to post a business listing. With this approach, Google is shifting policing for business validation to business license departments and local government — those organizations who should be policing businesses and enforcing the law in the first place.

    If illegitimate businesses exist, then citizens can go to the police or the business license office and report the violators, and the appropriate organization can deal with them. Right now, Google really has no enforcement authority and quite honestly is being forced to make decisions they can’t be qualified to make. In their attempts they often anger many folks whose anger should be directed at poor licensing practices in their communities. Also, local government is comprised of elected officials and is part of our democratic process so as citizens we have more rights and ability to get things fixed. Google is a business and even if 100% altruistic only has finite resources to fix problems.

    i’d like to hear feedback from folks on why they feel requesting a business license is so invasive? Clearly Google Places can’t request a business license in areas that don’t have licensing, and for those that do require licensing wouldn’t you be scared to use a business that didn’t have a proper license?

    My personal kudos to Google for taking this action. Pending feedback here perhaps on something i’m missing, I hope Google expands this requirement to as many jurisdictions as possible that require business licenses. I think this will remove significant amounts of spam.

  34. Illegitimate to whom?

    Yeah, that’s what we need – the gov’t to get involved.

    We show our papers to Google and the local gov’t confirms..do we then pass muster in this hypothetical if not terribly overbearing and ineffecient draconian scenario?

    Oversight is good, restrictive (for everyone involved) oversight is counterproductive.

    …but at least you’ll keep the convo going

  35. In general I too don’t like regulation and too much government intervention. However, I think the government is best suited to regulate businesses in terms of making sure they are legal entities, and for making sure that special categories like locksmiths, financial institutions, broadcasters, restaurants, etc pass minimal standards set for those industries.

    Also, regardless of how I personally feel about it, the infrastructure already exists with licensing and enforcement. Why not take advantage of a system that already exists for this purpose?

  36. @Jeff
    As an SMB for over 30 years I can tell you emphaticly most licensing schemes are revenue generating tools. Personally I value my freedom and liberty and am opposed to any licensing not affecting public health and safety. Believe me Google’s interest has nothing to do with whether a business is legal or not. Maybe they would have a tough job making sure the business was valid in the industry but that does not appear to be their intent. Many other considerations on this topic but here’s 1. These are called places not businesses, all places qualify as a place, no? Churches, food pantries, etc.

  37. @Chris. I have to agree. Our founders never envisioned that one would need a license to do that which God commands. The revolution was fought primarily over property rights and economic freedom. Business friendly cities realize this, and that is why so many businesses make their HQ in Delaware, or set up shop in unincorporated areas. Markets can decide if its a legit business, and if not, they can go somewhere else.

    To say that somehow a license means your legit is pretty dumb. Cities just want a piece of the action for doing nothing. Precisely why California has lost 20% of the businesses under “tax and spend” governor Brown. The voters here seem to think they deserve a free meal from their neighbor’s paycheck. Soon the only people left here will be actors and bums. Kinda like how Santa Monica city is now.

    I feel kinda bad for Google on this one. They are just trying to verify if it is a real business or some SEO company making fake listings to sell people like you and I. But when they assume a duty like this, they then open themselves up to legal liability. So it is a catch 22.

  38. @Chris @panzermike. I just looked over Wilmington, DE licensing requirements for discussion purposes and to make a point. In this market, a business must specify it’s industry, and either the federal tax id or the SSN of the sole proprietor along with business name, address, etc. Having these requirements is not big brother I don’t think, and the fees are actually quite small ($120). But it does force whoever runs a business in Wilmington to disclose this information.

    If I am in competition with a company who has gotten a license, and they are fake or a scammer, I can pursue legal action against them. They can be identified. If they can’t be identified, or there is a problem, they will have their license revoked.

    It seems easier for me to pursue them in my local area and to prove they are fake/scammers there than trying to get Google to remove them from their listings and prove to Google they are fake/scammers.

    Again, I don’t believe in big government, but basic business licensing seems kind of obvious to me. I’m still not understanding the issue here for legit businesses.

  39. btw, I should mention that Wilmington requires that restaurants need a board of health certificate, plumbers/construction workers/refrigeration specialists all have to pass tests, etc.

    I’m gathering from what is being said here that you folks are advocating removing these kinds of requirements for businesses because they are big brother?

  40. @Jeff: You seem to be confusing a business license (a revenue generating license) with the professional license requirements. A few cities in Delaware probably do require business licenses. But again, that is for raising money. Doctors, lawyers, plumbers, attorneys must have professional licenses for proving they are qualified. They must also do continuing education in most states I am aware of.

    Anyone can get a business license. Just pay the fee. The government does not come to see you or how you run the business. They just want to take your money and give it away to someone else – usually for votes. Anyways, if you want to sue a competitor, what would be the basis? Can you prove without speculation that you lost business?

  41. Thanks Panzermike for the support. Allowing the market to decide is fundamental. Personally I like to start at ground zero in most things so zero would be the best fee for a local business permit. If a municipality has some value to offer by requiring a license or permit I am free to make a decision to pay it or go elsewhere, which I have done in the past. I’d rather not fall into a trap of making decisions based on ” well, that’s not too bad” because pretty soon that bar gets raised.

  42. @ Jeff
    I see where you’re coming from and in some cases certain legit business operators require some protection from the less scrupulous. Our instincts tell us to look to government for this help but IMO govt has proven beyond doubt they are not up to any task let alone one as simple as this.
    As for Google any action Google staff could take would probably be their smartest one. I don’t think there is such a thing as a Google staff, it’s just Larry, Sergey, and Eric giving a thumbs up or down on each listing. And you’re right Google could be shifting policing because that’s what they do – shift R & D, troubleshooting, policing, etc.
    I don’t think anyone is forcing Google to make any decisions but you are right that they are not qualified.

  43. @Jeff Not at all, although I do agree with @panzermike and @Chris.

    Allowing the market to decide is fundamental – +1

    My matters less than zero opinion says the gov’t is too ineffecient to tackle this task and would ultimately impede listing confirmation, thereby hurting everyone. Google needs to be working directly with local SMBs to keep throwing solutions at the problems.

    I’ve seen teams here in San Diego meeting & greeting local biz, driving around a VW buig with a big 360 cam on top…they need to go press the flesh and leave the gov’t hands out of it.

    Spirited debate for what seems like a case one off happenstance. Or is it? (I’m kidding)

    Tax ID or SSN is pretty standard, and probably a different but at least equally charged arguement.

  44. Your beliefs that the markets can solve all problems and the governments are inefficient are not born out by the facts.

    For example in trash collection and water provisioning most city governments did not experience any savings and in fact found quality degredation in the level of services. Why? Because for profit entities care about profit more than they do quality.

    So the argument that government should stay out because they are inefficient are not arguments based on facts.

    In fact there are many instances where government has been the innovator (the internet, space and medical research are all examples of that). So lets get rid of the religion shall we?

    Government’s role is in many countries and has been to try to create an even playing field for commerce. Markets have a tendency towards deceit, monopoly and short term profits. Government can have a positive affect on preventing businesses from soiling the beds in which they sleep.

    To argue that markets can resolve issues of illegal behaviors and other market inefficiencies has also been shown to be a myth. In many markets, consumers can not have enough knowledge about the market to make rational decisions. Rationality is a requirement of the current neo economic theory (a big flaw in it btw).

    So should government be involved in regulating business in general and in the business of licensing in particular?

    In NYC for example at the moment, merchants are begging the government to be more involved in licensing because street vendors that pay a fraction of the taxes are parking in front of real store selling counterfit knowck offs.

    Can the consumer really tell the difference between a real Louis Vitton and a fake one? Should the real merchant have to compete with bottom feeders?

    Expecting Google to handle the legitimacy of 100 million businesses world wide is a pipe dream and thinking that the market will resolve it is one as well.

    I have seen a case in Phoenix where there is no licensing where a computer dealer keeps “opening” bogus listings in Places, keeps building out websites to support them and keeps creating sock puppet accounts to review them.

    The affected local retail stores turned to the local government to help prevent the deceit. But since there was no licensing requirement the government was not willing to help.

    The businesses went to Google, who provided some relief, but the game of whack a mole has started again and the business with the fake listings are gaining ground again.

    Clearly Google does not want to be in the business of licensing.

    So who should regulate this situation? I would contend that a simple government licensing process would be the best answer.

    As to the charge that these are simply revenue generators… well if you squeeze governments at every turn then yes they are forced to turn to other avenues for revenue. Running a decent government requires money regardless of whether free marketeers like it or not.

  45. +Mike B. I don’t think I argued the govt should stay out due to being inefficent. But I will tell you this, I will try and locate my offices where there is no “business license” requirement. It is just a fee they make you pay … for a piece of your action. Now I agree we need health and safety fees for “general welfare” issues to be served. Trash involves public health and safety. Street vendors can become a nuisance and also a health and safety issue as they are on public pathways, etc. Violating a federal copyright or TM is funded by federal and state taxes on income, not a business license. So I agree with you that we need govt for these things. Those taxes, licenses and fees for things like trash collection are usually paid by property owners (public schools, trash) Non property owners in CA get those services without paying in. I am not certain how it is in NY. I was limiting my discussion to busines license. Wow this thread really went somewhere else.

  46. Panzer

    I was not directing my comments directly to you but to others as well that had taken a religious view of business regulation and government efficiencies.

  47. +Mike B. Ahh. I kinda figured that. But it is interesting how Places is evolving. Balancing the interests of business owners with Google’s own interest in no spam is tough. I see new fake businesses every day. I see attorney businesses change their names to non sense like “AAA-Accident Blah blah”… so they can rank higher. Google literally can cause a business to shut down an office due to these crazy merge issues. That is true POWER.

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