Google Is Automating Ownership Conflict Resolution

The account owner immediately receives an email

Google has started to roll out a new feature to the Google My Business Dashboard that automates the process of regaining control of a listing that is in another account.

Besides verification issues and the inability for a business to easily get rid of inappropriate photos this has been one of the huge problems that small business owners have confronted. Historically it required requesting access and then waiting, praying, waiting some more and then trying to get in touch with support. The old system was not for the faint of heart.

Making this part and parcel of the dashboard will go a long way towards minimizing the time and expense of resolving these.

Here is the announcement in the forum (and the updated help page):

If you’re a small business owner, time is your most valuable asset. That’s why when it comes to managing their Google My Business account, some small business owners choose to get help from employees, friends, family or other third parties. Sometimes when the people who manage the account move on, we don’t always remember to take back control of the account until they’re gone and it’s too late. 

This week we’re launching a new feature to enable users who can’t get in touch with the current verifier of a listing to start the verification process themselves. This will allow you to prove you are the current representative of the business and take over the location without having to track down the previous manager. 

Just follow the steps to sign-up and request access from the current listing owner and then follow the instructions you’ll be emailed if the current listing owner is unresponsive.

I just ran through the process and it is very straight forward. I am not sure once a rejection happens what the appeal process looks like but one hopes that it is rational:

Some notes from Google:

Currently only available only applicable to users who verify listings individually, no bulk verification listings will be eligible for this new process.

After the claimant verifies as the new owner the original owner’s listing will become a duplicate. It will be unverified and their edits will not be live on maps.

Unless access is granted anything provided by the original owner, like photos and review responses, will not be transferred over.

Reviews and customer provided photos will remain attached to the listing.

Apparently if the requestor is initially rejected, he/she may request and appeal (again within the dashboar). Although it appear that there will be times (when, who, why is unclear) where in some circumstances Google will not be able to offer the option to appeal a rejection from the current listing owner.

The update is rolling out now and will over the next few days be available to all if there are no glitches found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Google Is Automating Ownership Conflict Resolution”

  1. Hey Mike,

    Do you know if this rollout is world wide or just in certain countries? I know they have a habit of doing this kind of release by geographic area.

    Cheers,

  2. The initial manual support process was designed with an eye towards automation. It’s unfortunate it has taken so long to become more integral to the product.

    This is an interesting design decision:

    “Unless access is granted anything provided by the original owner, like photos and review responses, will not be transferred over.”

    I would imagine that the information could be editable, but it sounds like Google is essentially automatically doing a “delete” out of the previous account.

  3. @Joel
    Yes it sounds like its a new iteration of the listing.

    Better late than never!

    @Brian
    Ahmen!

    @Marc
    I believe that it is rolling out world wide but it is coming in waves… with testing as they go. So if there are issues they would roll back or slow the rollout

    @tim
    for sure

  4. I have had to go through the appeal process this week when a previous 3rd party won’t return access and it’s a joke. You are pretty much SOL of the request gets denied

    1. @colleen
      Hopefully this new automation will help some as will the appeal process. However its always best if you use an email at the domain of the business so as to improve your chances. Remember when all else fails take it to the GMB forum and ask a TC for help.

    1. Chris
      The flow or at least parts of it have been around. What is new is that many of these requests will now be automated on the back end. And appeals will now occur from within the GMB dashboard not some place else.

      1. Thanks Mike for clarifying – i have been utilizing this for some time as well, so I was confused. Thank you – Hugs from MN!

  5. The most frustrating thing is when you submit to request ownership, but you receive *no* response at all. Happens a lot because business owners/managers forget their logins, which login the account was in, and/or they simply never access email on that account (so they never get the request).

  6. I kind of predicted this, when I saw some parts of the process you outlyed above in beginning of January 2017

    See my post at https://plus.google.com/+NicolaiHelling/posts/eXXkp3a3b5n

    However besides the relocation of the process from Mail to GMB dashboard, I can’t see any improvements towards process itself. Still you need to get in contact with Google support, if the unknown business owner does not respond.

    Greetings Nico

  7. @Nico
    Per Joel above, they have been working on this for a very long time.

    My suspicion is that now that they know the types and nature of questions, some of them are in fact automated, or rapidly facilitated and don’t need human intervention.

    Also it is all occurring in one place which should improve things.

    But with all things Google, time will tell….

  8. Hello Mike,
    This feature has been live for some ~2-3 months already, at least in food industry listings (restaurants, italian, pizza etc).
    This automated feature makes it easy for the GMB Support team (as they don’t get involved in the process), but not at all for the business owner to reclaim the listing if you get a denial as a response.
    Then when you ask for help and call GMB Support reps from the dashboard, almost 9 out of 10 times refuse and never release the listing, even you supply them with proofs of location ownership, like business license, they are contacted by the owners themselves, etc.
    Even this channel is not working at all https://support.google.com/plus/troubleshooter/1715140?hl=en
    But as you said, “with all things Google, time will tell….” and they might fix also this issue.

  9. Hi Mike, I’m curious as to what happens if the original owner doesn’t respond in 7 days. The support doc says, “If you don’t hear back after 7 days, click the link in your confirmation email and follow the instructions to request additional support.” Presumably (as you suggested in your answer to Justin) there is a resolution path that will eventually grant you access even if the original owner never responds. Does that seem like an opening for abuse though? Say I have a listing claimed under an email I don’t check very often. I login one day and discover that my listing has been taken over by my biggest competitor. Or am I just being paranoid? 🙂

    1. @Damian
      My guess is that it depends on how active the original owner is and how much trust Google has in the new request.

      I think if it were an inactive account then Google would probably just give it to the requestor.

      If the requestor is using an email address at the domain there would be more trust that might sway edge cases.

      Beyond that I am not sure what will happen.

  10. I never quite understood why clients would spend hundreds of dollars for internet marketing, and then when we would request access to Google My Business they’d have no clue. This will be a lifesaver for us now.

  11. I’m just glad they are trying SOMETHING to make claiming pages easier. It’s been a nightmare having to contact Google everytime that we need access to a page that a client has lost. May not be perfect yet, but hopefully it will get there.

  12. Just to follow up, in our experience, we’re seeing a “verify” option in some cases. So, Google is keeping the listing verified until the postcard or phone call verification process is repeated. Then, once the petitioner verifies the listing, the former owner gets replaced by the petitioner.

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