Google Local Spam – An A for Effort, a Z for a Zillion & an F for Google

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a sampling from MapMaker

Update: As of 12/13 Google has removed ~40 of these listings but somewhere on the order of 20 still remain.

I have been in the local space, in one form or another, for almost 15 years. Ten of those focused on Google Local. It is rare that I am shocked by my discoveries much these days but the spam reported in this forum post  really caught my eye.

This dermatologist’s “entrepreneurial” efforts created a true sense  of awe with somewhere on the order of 60 spammy local listings and 60 or 70 spammy websites all at one location. And every last one was verified.

This speaks to Google’s failures in this arena as much or more as to his amateurish”marketing” efforts. While  his chutzpah is impressive, it’s truly  incredible to me that with all of Google’s spam fighting resources, their public  bluster, all of the rules and all of the people and all of computer horsepower, this took a report in the forum to uncover.

And of course with many of these keyword laden business names/domains he’s getting a fair bit of 3 pack exposure.

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His websites are truly “works of art”
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….truly “works of art”
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…truly “works of art”
....truly "works of art"
….truly “works of art”
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a sampling from Maps
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A sampling from search: Fraxel NYC (What is Fraxel?).
Search: Ethnic Skin Care NYC
Search: Ethnic Skin Care NYC
Search: Skin Doctor NYC (he gets 2 listings no less)
Search: Skin Doctor NYC (he gets 2 listings no less)
Search: Best Dermatologist NYC (I am sure that he is....)
Search: Best Dermatologist NYC (I am sure that he is….)
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No irony here… Medical office for lease..hmm none left, our good skin doctor took them all.

An artifact of this whole process is some of the most amazing business names ever. I wonder what he says when we goes to the bank for a loan or when his mother asks how the business is doing? I have no clue what Pearly Penile Papules are but I can only imagine folks eyes bugging out if I were to hand it out on my business card.

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Google Local Spam - An A for Effort, a Z for a Zillion & an F for Google by

12 thoughts on “Google Local Spam – An A for Effort, a Z for a Zillion & an F for Google”

  1. Mike,
    That is a shockingly huge amount of spam!
    Did Google fix it and remove the junk? Your posting just says that it was discovered, but did they dump all of the results?

    What are the chances that someone just marks it as Permanently closed, but leaves the junk in there? We faced that here locally with someone with 3 listings marked closed but still taking prime spots.

    1. @Conor
      It was elevated to Google this AM so no action has been taken yet. I assume that it will be removed soon enough. Since it is obviously spam and not a business that was at that location, it will be removed not marked as closed.

      Its hard to imagine why there would be 3 listings marked as closed at the same location. But Google’s handling of closed locations is also problematic.

  2. @Sandro

    Yes it was a low cost, burn and churn marketing approaching…. not for the long haul but probably resulted in some business and very little expenditure. One has to wonder if the owner did it or if he hired it out… I did notice that the owner had 70 domains in his name so it is likely homegrown..

  3. That looks like some of the crap I’ve found in the Dallas market for SAB’s… This year I spent nearly 12 months reporting 1 group of spam listings before Google finally took a look at them and had them removed. I’m sure they’ll be back and re-verified come January 15th, just like they were last year.

  4. And on a side note… what ever happened to the common sense approach of calling the business phone number and seeing how they answer the phone when determining whether or not they’ve used the correct business name in the name field, as opposed to a keyword stuffed fake name? That’s how I identified the crap listings myself…

  5. Sadly Google local spam control and support seems to be getting worse instead of better.

    From my perspective, it seems like someone is making decisions to reinterpret some of the old guidelines in new ways, which can be impossible for some businesses to deal with without playing games. Meanwhile truly obvious spam like this goes undetected. And many times when it is reported, nothing happens.

    Is reporting spam in the forum, the best way to get them to pay attention to it?

  6. It looks like that Google jumped on this and has resolved it (for now). Wonder will they take the next step and penalize the company for a few months as a punishment (wouldn’t that be nice!)

  7. I had a potential client call last week that was a bail bondsman. I have never worked with a client in this industry, so it seemed intriguing. After finding out that he had about 10 websites that were all the same – and all of those websites were ranking in the local pack and organic listings – I started doing a little digging. I found that he had competitors that were doing the exact same thing, and ranking quite successfully. It’s hard to convince a business owner that what they and their competitors are doing is wrong, when Google is rewarding them with top rankings.

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