The inestimable Maps Guide Jen, Google Map’s not very public face, has agreed to share her highlight in Local from 2008. If I were Google, I would turn Jen loose to be their voice in Local.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share some picks for 2008. Matt did a great job weighing in on some of our spam fighting efforts, and pointing out articles like Danny Sullivan’s and your own posts on “Google Local Business Hijacking” and “Google Maps Hijacked.” These efforts certainly remain high in priority, as you’ll see within the list below, but I’ve also included some particularly relevant articles that speak to the successes of Google Maps last year.
1. Spammers Hijack Top Florist Google Local Listings – Cathy, FlowerChat (September 13, 2008)
Prior to this post, we’d seen spam restricted mostly to small-batch, low visibility businesses. Cathy’s alarm really exemplified the extent to which spam had begun to affect the lives of major business owners.
2. Google Local Business Center adds custom category selection – Erik Larkin, PC World (April 15, 2008)
Custom categories were a huge win for business owners with Local Business Center listings. We saw many debates over category selection and display; this change significantly curtailed concerns over categories.
3. Evaluating Google’s Response to Maps Spam reports – David Mihm, Sphnn (September 11, 2008)
We loved to see this public analysis of our own spam fighting efforts. We recognize that what we’re doing may not always be prominent, so we really enjoyed seeing the results of our efforts from David’s perspective.
4. My experience using Google Local during a Medical Emergency – Miriam Ellis, SEO Igloo Blog (November 4, 2008)
Miriam’s great, well-reasoned perspective showed us the perception of community edits in the SEO community. From later correspondence, we also recognized a few places to bump up the prominence of our contact forms, and display more information on how community edits affect the Maps index.
5. Google hobbyists put ‘paan’ vendor on the map - Samsanth Subramanian, livemint.com (October 16, 2008)
By featuring a couple enthusiastic users who are making a big impact through Map Maker, this article talks about how the wiki model for maps in India is working.
6. Local Business Center Update – New Interface & Features – Mike Blumenthal, Understanding Google Maps… (June 13, 2008)
This redesign cleaned up our interface to make it faster and easier for business owners to create, verify and edit their listings. We found that the changes cut down on a lot of confusion over verification, and how clicking on various buttons/links would affect a listing. As a result we saw a decrease in complaints about those processes.
7. Report Spam on Google Maps – Maps Guides & Google Users (July 10, 2008)
This isn’t really an article, but we’ve found it incredibly useful to have this thread where the public could see and respond to spam reports. We understand the scope of what users are concerned about, where the definitions of spam become fuzzy, and how spam reports change in nature as we filter out types of spam.
8. Google Maps and YP – Comparing Oranges To…Tangerines – Miriam Ellis, Solas Web Design (July 17, 2008)
9. What is a Legitimate Review? – Greg Sterling, Screenwerk (August 7, 2008)
10. Local Users Bill of Rights – Mike Blumenthal, Understanding Google Maps & Yahoo Local Search (June 7, 2008)