Google Spam Hall of Fame: Cheap Auto Insurance – #ShameOnGoogle

Google has the unique ability to look like they are doing something about systemic problems in Local when in reality it is just misdirection.

Spam reporting is but one flagrant example of this. I recently reported some obvious spam. Any effing idiot could see that it is spam and yet my edit was denied. #ShameOnGoogle

Curious, I called the number and it was clear that it was lead gen spam. After a set of qualifying questions from the auto attendant, it directed me to the corporate offices of Liberty Mutual in Orlando.

Obviously these are showing in the search results. So naturally I set aside all of 15 minutes and explored whether this was just a regional or nationwide “marketing effort”.

Clearly these are national in scope. #ShameOnGoogle

I called bogus listings in Cincinnati, Buffalo, Denver and Los Angeles (when I stopped looking) and was asked the exact same set of qualifying questions by the exact same automated attendant but each call led me to different actual AllState or State Farm etc agents around the country. Usually in the same state but often hundreds of miles away from the pin. Often the listings were not even verified.

Another flagrant example of Google’s misdirection is when I meet with Google about spam, I am often told “Show us the pattern” or “we can’t do anything if we don’t know the pattern” or “we are a search company and have a lot on our plate” or “blah, blah, blah”.

WTF? This pattern isn’t complicated, it isn’t hidden, it isn’t all that difficult to figure out… #ShameOnGoogle.

Google if you are reading this, here is the pattern: reported as spam, suspiciously spammy name, with exactly the same listings effing EVERYWHERE and they all ring into the same automated attendant.

Shame on you.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Spam Hall of Fame: Cheap Auto Insurance - #ShameOnGoogle by

6 thoughts on “Google Spam Hall of Fame: Cheap Auto Insurance – #ShameOnGoogle”

  1. I get that they are (likely) hoping that implementing LSA’s with a vetting process will eliminate this type of thing, but until they have all the niches and all of the cities looked after, they really should be taking this type of spam more seriously. People are beginning to lose faith in the Local listings because of crap like this… and as you point out, it’s VERY widespread and volunteers can’t be expected to do ALL the work. Once identified, Google should be taking up the investigative process and eliminating the soammy listings. If Google is seeing this post (and connects), please help the good guys: things are really getting out of hand.

  2. “People are beginning to lose faith in the Local listings” — I would say that people are losing faith in Google itself, not just the Local listings!
    Gmail continually marks legitimate emails from well-known companies like LinkedIn, Quora, etc, (all Google competitors, co-incidentally?) as spam, no matter how often I mark them as ‘Not Spam’, and drag them back into the inbox. Yet obvious spam still gets through by the bucketload. Losing the plot, Google?

  3. Spammers are using Local Guides to add listings with fake addresses or even the address of other business’s that are all ringing to the same company. Most unverified. Spammers are definitely taking advantage of this loophole.

    1. @Tipper, but isn’t that Google’s job, to weed out the spammers? They are always boasting about how sophisticated their algorithms are, yet they seem to be dropping the ball more and more in every app they have.

  4. It’d be as simple as them auto-flagging any listing with “cheap” or similar marketing lingo in the title. Are they willing to admit to their mistakes and actually take action? Not only is it wrong.. It’s a horrendous search experience. Google, you there?

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