Category Archives: Google Places (Maps & Local)

Comments, research and information about Google Maps (Google Local)

“We Currently Do Not Support This Location” Bug Should Be Fixed But The Message Will Persist for Some

The snafu with the Places index that caused an inordinate number of accounts to suffer the dreaded “We Currently Do Not Support This Location” report for a listing should be fixed by now. But some users may find that they have moved from purgatory into Dante’s circles of hell.

Vanessa noted in the forums that the engineers should have had the immediate problem repaired by today and the influx of new messages has nearly stopped.

The operative word here is nearly. To those still experiencing the problem Vanessa is referring posters to this FAQ where she details why a listing might still be getting the message. She notes the following:


You may be seeing this message on your listing for a couple reasons.

1) Have you just recently verified your listing? Note that it may take up to a week from the time you’ve verified that listing to appear on Google Maps, and during that time your Active listing will say “We currently do not support this location” on it. Please just sit tight.
2) Has your listing been verified and live for some time? Search for it on maps.google.com (“business name, city/phone”). Sometimes the links from your Places dashboard aren’t synced properly, so you should always search on Maps first to make sure it is indeed removed . Often it’s still live and there, you just need to look it up via maps.google.com.
3) If you’ve done a search on maps.google.com and still don’t see it, go to your Places dashboard (google.com/places) and “poke” the listing by clicking Edit > Submit. Give it a couple days, and then again, go to maps.google.com to see if you see it appear live.
4) If none of that helps, then your listing has been removed from Google Maps. If you believe your listing should not have been removed, get in touch with our support team:
Select: I have verified > Yes > My listing no longer appears > Fill out the short form, hit Submit, and await an e-mail from a member of our support team (it may take a few days).
- Vanessa

Issues 1-3 are all temporary states from which your listing can and will easily recover. I would however direct your attention to point number 4. The implication of the message is that Google feels that your listing should be removed from the visible index for some sin real or imagined.

In the past I have referred to this state as purgatory. However purgatory assumes that you have or can redeem yourself and achieve a state of grace.

This penalty, occurring at a listing level rather than at the account level, might actually assume that purgatory is not appropriate punishment and the reality may be that you have entered the eighth circle of the inferno instead.

Google Places Quality Guideline Update

Nyagoslav Zhekov pointed out to me that Google has recently added the following to their Google Places Guidelines:

Marketing, promotions, or other contests

Any promotion, marketing, contests, or other giveaways should clearly link to the terms of the activity and provide clear guidelines and qualifications. All such promises, given or implied, should be adhered to.

This is an odd Guideline in a number of respects. At this point there is no obvious way to run contents or giveaways on Places and even if you figured out a way to do so (via Offers or Updates) it is not clear that you would be able to include a link. I have asked Google for clarification as to what exactly this new guideline applies to.

Thanks to All

I have not been very present of late. I had some health issues that have been resolved which kept me from posting. For the past nine days I have been speaking in the Northwest and while I have had time to eek out a few posts I haven’t been very present in the comment sections.

Thanks to all of you that kept the conversation going in my absence (Linda, Dave and many, many others). You are a great community!

Google Places Account Suspended- All is Not Lost

Linda Buquet notes that in some situations (where you have not received the start over email) Google is still apparently resuscitating some suspended accounts.

From the post:

Your account’s been suspended. See my response on this other related thread:

Listing not live on Maps anymore, or, it is live and it’s not owner-verified? Use this contact form and …
Select: I have verified > Yes > My listing no longer appears on Google Maps. > Fill out form, hit Submit

Listing live on Maps, and owner-verified? Use this contact form and …
Select: Someone else has verified the listing > Fill out form, hit Submit

Give support a few days to get back to you, they’re working through a lot of tickets right now.

You are up, you are down… if I had to interpret this very mixed messaging…. it sounds as if there are suspensions and then there are suspensions… ie soft suspensions and hard suspensions. Soft suspensions for example might occur if a listing is claimed into two accounts and the wrong account is flagged or if the listing was suspended due to minor violations and still appears in Maps.

My suggestion at this point: request reinclusion, wait for the response. If they note that there is no hope, start a new account with a new listing.

“We Currently Do Not Support This Location” Bug Being Fixed

Apparently there is a new bug (or is it an old one that has resurfaced) causing a number of listings to be erroneously noted as “We Currently Do Not Support This Location” .

Google’s Places Forum Community Manager Vanessa has noted in the forums:

A bunch of you have reported seeing “We currently do not support this location” on your listing. We’re working on a fix right now and will keep you posted on progress.

- Vanessa

So if your listing is experience the dreaded message, Take Two Beers and Stop Back on Monday.

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?

Google Places Reconsiders Reconsideration Requests – What To Do If You Are Suspended

Google is no longer accepting Places reinclusion requests via the link in the Places Dashboard. I just received this email from a client that had recently requested reinclusion for a suspended account. I have bolded the significant points in the email:

From: Google Places
Date: Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 7:34 PM
Subject: Re: [#10101010101] Your Google Places Reconsideration Request
To: xxxx@gmail.com

Hello,
Thank you for requesting a review of your rejected listing(s).

Unfortunately, this process is no longer supported.
You may create a new listing that adheres to our guidelines in order to
show up on Maps.

If your listing shows as pending, please check on Maps to see if it is
live. In that case please be patient as we are currently overhauling the
reconsideration process. Please also have a look in the Help Center at
http://support.google.com/places/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176520 for
further updates.

Cheers,
The Google Places Team

On a tactical level this means that if your listings have been suspended you have to create a new account, add your listings and re-verify.

It is also interesting to speculate about this on more strategic level. Is Google just coming up with a better, more streamlined way to allow listings to be reincluded or is there more to it than that?

When viewed in light of the recent move to pull AdWords Express from the Places Dashboard and the fact that Places is one of the only Pages not to be brought under the Google Plus umbrella, one has to wonder whether Places and the Places Dashboard are long for this world in their current form.

Google Removes Adwords Express from Places

Google has removed Adwords Express from the Places Dashboard and installed the product into its own area of Adwords. In accounts that did not have an AdWords Express ad, the AdWords Express Tab has just disappeared.

In accounts that had an AdWords Express Ad, Google has reconfigured the ad at adwords.google.com/express/.

AdWords Express has moved to adwords.google.com/express/.

Things to know about the change:

1) No changes were made to your ads — we just moved everything to a new place!
We left your ads and your other account information just as they were in Google Places. Of course, you can always make changes in your AdWords Express account.

2) You can get to AdWords Express directly by going to adwords.google.com/express/.


We suggest you update your bookmarks to the new address (adwords.google.com/express/) to get to your AdWords Express account fastest. But, we’ll keep the AdWords Express dashboard and this link in your Google Places account for a little while in case you forget.

The change is of interest on several levels. The primary marketing interface to AdWords Express (outside of their inside sales staff) has been its prominence inside of the Places Dashboard. There are currently no links within the Dashboard to the simplified AdWords product if you had not previously used the product. The only link referencing AdWords links to the main AdWords site and makes no mention of the Express product. Given that the product is now essentially hidden one presumes that Google is planning some new interface for marketing the product.

While ad creation remains the same, in making the move Google has provided AdWords Express with a new interface which allows a user to add additional businesses and allows for a change of categories for an existing ad WITHOUT returning to the Places Dashboard.
Continue reading Google Removes Adwords Express from Places

The Venice Shift from Local Pack to Blended Results

The Venice update that started in late January had significant impact on Google local search results. We saw an increase in the display of the PlusBox, an increased search display of Blended results, reduced display of Local Pack and an increasing number of city level results being inserted in the organic SERPS (See Mike Ramsey’s piece at SEOMoz).

This “citification” of organic results where truly local webpages are given a ranking boost is quite significant. It offers clear opportunities via traditional SEO for local SMBs and those with a significant local presence to compete on a broader range of head phrases that don’t show pinned results and that have in the past been the exclusive domain of national sites.

Equally significant was the dramatic increase in the display of Blended Local results and the equally dramatic reduction in the display of Pack results. The 5 and 7 Packs seem to be completely gone and the vast majority of pinned results are now Blended. We all have anecdotal evidence of this shift but it is useful to have a large scale, quantitative view as well.

Just how big was the shift from Local Pack to Blended results?

Hanns Kronenburg of Sistrix, who spoke at SMX Munich, agreed to share Sistrix’s large scale research from his presentation with me. Every week they analyze the search results 100 deep for one million of the most common queries at Google Germany (google.de). For SMX they did some additional analysis of these numbers and extracted before and after Venice tabulations of the absolute and relative frequency of the Local Pack vs the Blended results that occur in the main search results.

Their methodology, which I explored in detail with Hanns, seems to accurately reflect the relative quantities of Blended vs Pack results although it might slightly undercount the absolute number of pinned results. Because the analysis is of Google Germany only there may be some differences with US or other country local results. However my anecdotal experience in the US is consistent with their results and I think the results are typical of pinned local results worldwide.

When viewed on a pie chart the change in the frequency of Blended results is more obvious:
Continue reading The Venice Shift from Local Pack to Blended Results

Google Places False Negatives Comic by Margaret Shulock – Joseph & The Inn

Joseph & The Inn

Joseph & The Inn

“Joseph & The Inn”by Margaret Shulock is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at blumenthals.com

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