The Google Places Dashboard And Listing Ownership

The old Google Places for Business Dashboard allowed a listing to be verified into multiple accounts. The new Places for Business Dashboard only allows one verification per listing. This is a huge difference process. It is also an impediment to many listings being moved over to the new dashboard.

Given the ambiguity of ownership in some listings in the old Dashboard Google can’t immediately tell which claimant has the most rights to manage the listing going forward. This has slowed down the transition for some listings. It appears though that Google has finally begun to resolve these conflicts.

Jeffrey Magner of TrumpetLocalMedia sent me this recent Google communication that implies that they have finally bitten the bullet and are starting to pick winners and losers. This should allow the remaining listings to transfer to the new dashboard more quickly.

Screen shot 2013-12-11 at 2.36.18 PM

Exactly who gets control and what rules they use to assign ownership are not known…. but I could imagine some that might work…. email from the same domain might get preference over a listing with a different email domain, a dashboard that has been accessed more recently might get preference over an account that was less active. Obviously there are still many conflicts that could occur for example between franchisee and franchisor that playing dueling listings.

The good news is that now that the new Dashboard is multi-user whoever wins can assign the loser (assuming they are talking) to a manager role or even transfer ownership.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
The Google Places Dashboard And Listing Ownership by

23 thoughts on “The Google Places Dashboard And Listing Ownership”

  1. In a lot of cases it requires contacting Local Places Support; which I’ve had really good results with. For the most part, they are very good at helping me ‘fix’ ownership issues. Dups are still out there though.

  2. Frequent changes by Google to the Places listings are sometimes an initial hassle, but I’ve found all of them to be improvements in the long run. Like Andy, I’ve always been pleased with their support team which is helpful when transfers in ownership aren’t properly pushed through.

  3. It appears this change has disconnected easy access to the dashboard for some of our businesses and connected this to a personal acct.

    Cripes. I wish google had told us about this beforehand. I’m juggling around to access adwords, analytics, WMT.

    Hey google. Why can’t you be user friendly rather than one big mysterious entity that jerks us around.

    Right now you are charging us for some adwords accts and Its not that easy for us to access.

    I know Google gives 2nd shrift to everything but adwords. but cripes…now you disconnected the money acct….that is the only one you’ve ever given even half an effort of full customer service to.

    Imagine what is occurring. A business is charging you…and they’e just disconnected you from the two way interaction between you and them. They are taking your money and you know nothing about it or how to interact.

    WTF. Can you friggin fix this or communicate besides having somebody get a grasp of this through Mike Blumenthal’s communications????

  4. After a lot of cursing, I called into google adwords customer service. My experience over many years is that its customer service is best (probably because they’ve been running it longer than places…and it is about $$ after all.

    The decision tree and choices rolled along and none of the alternative choices seemed appropriate for this problem. So when I finally chose something that I thought might answer these problems…it took me to a Places customer service rep.

    She knew nothing about the changes. She was professional, and she put up with my invective.

    And then she responded with an email pretty quickly.

    For accts and tools or products associated with a business you could try accessing it in your browser via google.com/dashboard.

    then you will have to sign in to that gmail and acct. (if you weren’t there before).

    Except this dashboard is missing some key products: As I went through it is missing both google places and google adwords.

    Places can be accessed via google.com/places. Adwords can be accessed by adwords.google.com

    Isn’t that niiiiiiiiiiiiice. for the time being there are now 3 access points where once there was one.

    Now I could be missing some google products you would like to see or have been in your dashboard. :D so feel free to add.

    I hope they fix this thing soon.

    One other observation relative to the email that sparked this post by Mike. For one of our accts..as I accessed it today only to be bewildered by google’s new surprise presentation…which was totally one that they hadn’t forewarned us to…I noticed that its focus was on G+ information and g+ contact information.

    (parenthetically…this g+ cr@p is all for google and not for us, as far as I can tell).

    For one of the smb accts the g+ acct which I had set up had a cell phone for the smb’ partner. he did not give them authority to connect this phone number to that acct. he did give authority to connect other gmail accts to this phone number. So they evidently “decided” to use this phone number.

    F*ck. hey google please ask directly first!!!!! now we have to change that.

  5. never had a problem using google places but 1 I think we all need to keep an eye on is bing places, I have listed a number of businesses on there and the speed that they get you listed is great much much faster than google

  6. The system is broken in so many ways from my perspective: inconsistent naming; inconsistent process and lacking education or help for the small business owner. I am open to anything we can do to put pressure on Google to improve this system. I think the idea is great for small business but the implication is a disaster.

  7. Agree, there are many problems with this transition period. Specifically with the bulk up-loader tool. Google limits individual accounts from being managers of more than 50 listings, except with the bulk up-loader tool. I have yet to try this as i do not know if they will provide the same features (insights, social postings, etc.).

    Anyone have any experience with the bulk up-loader tool since the merger?

  8. @ Mike:
    @ Google
    @ all others:

    Google sent Mike an email asking if I would reveal the gmail acct to this business(s) that were affected. From what I understand they wanted to review “internal processes” vis a vis the request for help.

    @Google: I gave a response above to that limited perspective. It was okay.

    I really believe you should look at this in terms of open dialogue between all the smb’s and accts affected and not from your own limited perspective.

    Here is how I was affected by the sudden changes.

    When I went to a business act gmail which had previously provided me access to a lot of accts inside google that have enormous and overwhelming impact on the business livelyhood, I was met by an entirely new user interface. I had no idea what was going on. There were no correspondence in any acct as to this change. I couldn’t find necessary data or access to critical accts.

    Some of those critical accts or what you previously called “products”…and what yesterday changed into something called “data tools” (all done without prior warning or notification) was alarming. Frankly I had no idea how to get to serious items that help us monitor the health of our businesses:

    I couldn’t access:
    analytics (information on who is going to our web site, and from where, what is occurring with those visitors.
    adwords: Google we spend a lot of money on this WITH YOU. I couldn’t find it. Did you delete it? Did you charge us more money? I coudn’t find it for the life of me?
    WebMaster Tools: I currently view this as a tool to determine if your ever changing perspectives or rules have penalized the site. I couldn’t find it.
    Google Places: I couldn’t find it. Recently you made a change that enables us to look at lots of business reviews from lots of sources. That was a helpful insight. Its like a temperature gauge to see how the public is reacting to our businesses. I could not find the Google Places acct, its data or its status.

    The entire situation was incredibly alarming. Not only were we not forewarned of the changes but we were not forewarned of changes in nomenclature.

    i.e. You changed the names and references to these accts/products. A couple of days ago they were called “products” Now you are calling them “data tools”.

    Now here is a big BIG BIG PROBLEM. This list of products/services/accts/data tools is now incomplete. Specifically Adwords and Places are not in this list of “items” (for lack of a description that is consistent and would stick….rather than an ever changing ways of describing them that you seem to install and then neglect to describe to those that rely upon them).

    Why don’t you tell the rest of the world what occurred rather than do a little internal investigation into your own limited processes to determine if an adequate response went out.

    Here is what I would find helpful. Maybe others could chime in to articulate what they would find helpful. If others chimed in it might help you uncover ways to be user friendly rather than pronounce changes in language that is often indecipherable.

    Here is a short quick list off the top of my head. I’m sure there are other questions that others might add to:

    1. What occurred with this change in the user interface when one clicks on the gmail link to access the list of “items” relevant to google products/data reports (whatever you are calling it today?

    2. Why and where are places information and adwords? Are there other services no longer bundled into this grouping?

    3. Was it a glitch? Is it a permanent change?

    Google: One of the reasons I made these comments on Mike’s blog is because its public. Its not under your control. All parties can comment. Those who are affected by your changes and you obviously can see this also.

    Others can chime in. If you read through the comments of others and respond in an open forum you might receive a sense of how the business world is reacting to these sudden unannounced perpetual confusing, overwhelming in volume of changes that you are making (inflicting on the rest of the business world) that is impacted by search in which you google have a monopolistic share of all traffic.

    By the way, I’ll repeat what I referenced in a post above. The “customer service” response on the phone was fine. It wasn’t GREAT. The customer service rep didn’t know what you had changed.

    The customer service rep did a good job of follow up…in a limited basis. They got back to us by email. They gave us alternative ways to access among other things….adwords and places.

    But parenthetically, since the customer service rep didn’t have the answers immediately I tried some alternatives, trawled through the web…interacted with webmasters and found some of those answers myself long before your customer service rep could get back to me by email.

    That was okay. The customer service rep was pretty quick and diligent.

    I hope you are happy knowing that.

  9. @James

    The bulk upload tool largely functions independently of either the new or old dashboard. It too though appears to be in the midst of its own upgrade.

    It works reasonably well although its photo pipeline and time to live for photos is slooow…..

    BTW the limit in the Places Dashboard is 100 businesses. Now that it has review monitoring and easy access to the Plus features I strongly recommend it over either the Plus management environment and bulk. Bulk only makes sense if you have hundreds and hundreds of listings.

    It is too bad that the new dashboard does not allow for data uploads up to its 100 listing limit.

  10. Yes I was perplexed by the request to look into Dave’s support encounter. That was not the issue. It was the unannounced and unexplained interface changes and the missing products/tools.

    I have recommended to Google more than once that they need to have a low tech Mom and Pop SMB focus group to test changes on and in-product run messaging by to ensure it makes sense to the average person. Because many things that make sense to Google engineers and designers don’t make sense in the real world.

    Dave is an advanced user. Pity the poor Mom and Pop that’s trying to figure these and other changes out.

  11. This has been a huge issue for us as we are trying to consolidate listings at a corporate level but there are many franchisees who have individually verified their listings.

    Our solution has been for them to just add us as a manager in order to gain control over the listing.

    This does leave us with a problem for bulk uploaded listings — if the franchisee has PIN verified a store, our bulk listing goes inactive. I think this is something Google is still trying to iron out.

    The only clue I’ve gotten from Google is that “The listing that appears most active will probably gain control in the end”

  12. @Stephen
    It has and will likely continue to be a problem although multiuser access solves some of the issues but not all. I think Franchisors need to add a clause to their contracts detailing who controls the online presence of the franchisees.

  13. Is it possible to add additional service areas to google local?

    For example, we have a single physical location that serves the NYC metro area. Customers in this area can visit our showroom, and we deliver to them.

    We also promote in other areas (Boston, Philly, Chicago, Miami and others), where we regularly send delivery and installation teams.

  14. @Barry
    Sorry for the delay in approving your comment and replying. I was traveling yesterday.

    There is no ability within the current structure of G+ to merge pages a company Page with a local Page. The reality is that the local Page is much more likely to be seen in the main search results and is thus more likely to see some visitation. This is particularly true if you business is primarily local.

    Given that reality it makes sense going forward to do your posting on your local page.

  15. Hi,

    Curious how everyone is handling the places ownership issue when you have the following situation: The places account we used to manage for our client is no longer the designated “owner” of the listing per Google so we can no longer make edits to the listing. The client swears they have no other Google accounts at all so they are unable to access the places dashboard and give us manager privileges. What are our alternatives? Is there any way to get the existing listing back under our creds? Do we need to start over with a new listing (which will create a dupe)?

  16. Hi,

    I have been in the G+ local page process for a while now. We’re couting over 500 pages and are specieliazed in Denmark to make these with local SEO.

    We have been experiencing a lot of problems with this and the merge process.

    One of the problems is that many of the homepage designers make G+ pages not knowing what they are doing. This makes them the owner of the account – and neither me or the company knows the email it’s on. This creates tremendous difficulties with the support.

    EVEN if the company made it by them self they rarely know the email it’s on.

    Sometimes they just help and merge the pages and unverify the old one. Other times they send the mail verification and sometimes it takes for ages.

    Do you guys have the same experiences?

  17. @Anders

    I have a similar problem with some of my clients.

    I find that many times the mail verification doesn’t work because the store throws away the post card. In order to avoid this I think it is important to make sure that the stores/locations are educated on what the post card looks like and when to expect it.

    In cases where the owner doesn’t know the right e-mail account associated with their listing, sometimes it is necessary to call Google’s support line and have them act as an intermediary. Having an e-mail address that uses the same domain as the home page listed on the G+ page makes dealing with ownership issues a lot easier as well.

    If you know the e-mail account and they have ownership, you should consider having them add your account as a manager. This will make it so that you are able to manage the page from your account (although there is a limit of 50 pages per account).

  18. @Lisa P
    Call support (or rather have support call you) and discuss with them the issue of account ownership. They can often send an email on your behalf to the email account holding the listing. They can also sometimes give you a clue about the email address.

    Starting over with a new listing will no longer work.

  19. @Mike,

    I have been helping clients claim their GPlaces listings and take control of their information from an business Identity & information verification standpoint.

    It’s not uncommon for my clients to have used a 3rd rate SEO company to market their business. In many cases, a customers URL’s, NAP’s and other misc. information is no longer correct.

    I am running into an issue now where clients cannot claim their existing listings over the current owner. Most of the time there was an account created using an alias email that is never checked. So, when we send out admin requests to the current owner, there is nobody responding. We have resorted to having clients call the company and ask for access. Most of the time we are not given administrative access, just managerial. Even though the business owner would like complete control. It’s hardly ever provided.

    Now we are resulting to calling Google to resolve the issue. It’s not a great resolution. Many of the clients I am working with do not have access to the domain provider or hosting accounts that were used by the SEO / Marketing companies to create an email address that reflects the current URL on the existing listing.

    It’s just become more of a headache than anything. Although the claiming of active listings seems a bit redundant, I liked it better because it was an active record of who controls the listing /page. I know what Google is trying to accomplish by having one administrative owner but, 60-70% of the time clients do not even know where to begin with Google+, let alone creating, managing and assigning managers to manage a Google + page.

    All in all I think it is a step backwards in the managing of Places. Although, I do like the platform and service.

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