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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

LA Dog Bite Lawyers in a Cat Fight over Maps

On May 7, 5:52 pm, “Maps Guide Jen” notified a poster, panzermike, at the Google Maps for Business Group that his business listings had been banned from Maps for the “foreseeable future”:

Hi panzermike,

I had a look into your account. Your listings aren’t appearing because removed them from Google Maps. At this time even though you’ve reversed spam attempts, you’ve been blocked for the foreseeable future. I won’t be able to answer any additional questions about your listings.

– Maps Guide Jen

Yesterday, the poster Michael P. Ehline, P.C (aka panzermike) posted a comment at this blog:

I was removed from Google maps for mapspam after a guy I hired did all sorts of bulk uploads for the same address who I paid goo money. One of the listings was to a park!! (I found out later).

In all events, Google allows other businesses to claim your listing. Pretty sneaky. I think I discovered a guy who did that to me and went to the Maps group for help. Instead, a forum troll reported me as a spammer and I was removed from Maps.

I fired the webmaster who set up maps for me. Too late, Maps Jen says I am out for the “foreseeable future”. I have suffered at least a 30 percent drop in business.

What’s worse, is that the other sites my guy copied are all still submitting multiple listings for the same location, using multiple mirror sites with different url’s, submitting fakes firm names, that are really keyword names, and are totally controlling all the traffic from Maps.

Do you have any suggestions as to getting back into Maps and to get Maps to enforce its rules in a just manner, rather than the arbitrary and capricious manner they enforce their rules now? It really killed my phone.

Don’t you think they should offer amnesty or a second chance?

I was intrigued by the situation and emailed PanzerMike to see if he wanted to bring his case to a larger audience. So I am providing an interview with him and putting his question to the readers of this blog: Do you have any suggestions as to getting back into Maps? Do you think Google should offer amnesty or a second chance?

Here are his responses to my interview questions:

Me: I am reading your post and it raised several questions for me…You can choose to answer none, some or all of them. If there is something you don’t want me to publish let me know.

Me: What is your firm name?

PanzerMike: Law Offices of Michael P. Ehline, P.C.

Me: What is your role in the firm?Â

PanzerMike: Accident, DUI, business torts, criminal defense, Marine Corps. disabled veterans mentor.

Me: What type of legal firm is it?Â

PanzerMike: Personal Injury, criminal defense

Me: Do you post to the Group as panzermike? Anyone else?
PanzerMike: Only panzermike

Me: Is the webmaster the person who did the bulk upload? When you say you paid good money what was the deal with your webmaster as you understood it? What did he promise and what did you think you were buying? Can you share his company name (even off the record)?

PanzerMike: I asked if he could copy what firms like Farzam law was doing. I am a natural language SEO guy and write tons of articles and do videos. I did not understand how maps worked. He said he did and he could match farzam. He did and I got great rankings.

I do not want to share his name, because he is also a client of my firm!! Abe Lincoln said it best, “avoid litigation at all costs” (especially when you can be reported to the State Bar for breach of confidence)

I will never recommend him. But if you look around, I think you can guess the other firms who hired him.

Me: How many postings did you make? when? How long did they stay up before Google took them down?

PanzerMike: I dont really know how many postings were made. I did not make them all. All I know is there were many upoloads and a lot of them had bogus addresses that were similar to mine. One was actually to a park!! I removed them all and only have one for each address now.

Me: Do you have more than one location or just one?

PanzerMike: I have more than one business location.

Me: Where the postings to areas out of your geography?

PanzerMike: No. Only where I maintain locations.
Me: What search phrases were you attempting to place on?Â

PanzerMike: Anything accident, dog bite, motorcycle accident, cruise ship accident or injury related with the keywords “Los Angeles”.

Me: Were you finding that Google Maps was returning more calls than yellow pages? than other advertising?

PanzerMike: It was unbelievable. I had to hire someone to help me due to the incredible amount of calls I was getting!! That is when I took an interest and started learning data mashing, which led me to read the Maps rules and then start questioning my web master’s tactics. I am still in shock that after I came clean and exposed all the weaknesses in Maps that they still won’t let me back in.Â

Totally unfair. Maps has so many holes to exploit. And when everyone else is doing it and not getting punished, it doesn’t make sense to arbitrarily enforce the rules to my detriment.

The main problem is using keywords for the firm name and allowing firms to use mirror site urls to confuse the results. Google Maps should shut down the ability of the title to having ANY significance.  Google Maps is creating a huge windfall to my competitors. I know all those calls I was getting are now going to guys who SPAM!!

Me: Was your communication with Jen via email or via the group? Would you share it with me?

PanzerMike: Both. I will share any communications I had with Jen so long as you agree to keep my e mails to her confidential. I have been reporting spammers like crazy and not interested in retaliation.

Me: It is difficult to claim the listing of another business. Why do you think this has happened? Do you have a specific listing that you know someone hijacked?

PanzerMike: I have an office in the same building with a different suite number as the guy who was compromising my listings. Another attorney apparently uploaded/copied “Los Angeles Cruise Ship Accident Attorney” (My Listing) and then when Google asks/says there are other business with a similar name, is this your listing?, You need only say “yes” and cick. I think it was done to me because all of a sudden his data was merging with my data, so his url was showing under my phone number and vice verse.

Again, I can only deduce. So far, Jen, God bless her soul, is the only person at Google who actually was kind enough to at least tell me I am banned now. I note that Yahoo! has a phone number you can call and they are awesome with customer service.

Me: Which site is this? What are their listings? Do you have a URL that can help me see which listings are theirs?

PanzerMike: I sent at least 15 or 20 examples of law firms who are doing this to Jen. Again, ok to speak directly to her. She is rad. I gotta say, this is the first time I have ever seen Google engage in what is commonly known as customer service. lol. (Sorry guys, but for a publicly traded company, you aren’t making me want to run and buy stocks)

But for example, do a search for: “Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney” then do one for Los Angeles car accident attorney, los angeles auto accident attorney, attorneys, etc., you will notice that there are multiple firm names that are all false and that they are usually multiple urls’ all to the same mirror site. It is absurd.

There is a law firm that advertises 25 locations. So I could understand one listing for each location. But are you kidding me? MUltiple url’s, multiple listings for the same address, etc.  Way more abuse than I ever engaged in. Good grief I got banned when I complained about problems such as this. Should’ve kept quiet. Right?Â

dog bite lawyers near Los Angeles, CA

car accident lawyers near Los Angeles, CA

wrongful death lawyers near Los Angeles, CA

Me: I realize that this is lots of questions. If you would care to answer them I would consider writing a longer article. If not I will just publish your post and respond to it there.

PanzerMike: It’s ok. I pray you can help me get back into Maps. With my mastering of the data mash, I feel I can dominate with no need for spamming. And again, I am really grateful to Jen. No one would even tell me if I had been banned, so I was deleting and uploading, trying to get my listings live, assuming it was a computer or data issue. At least it saved me from wasting any more time. Ya know?