Understanding Google My Business & Local Search
Yahoo Local Filled with Locksmith Spam
I look at Yahoo Local rarely and report on it even less. However, my lack of attention to it doesn’t mean that Locksmiths are not interested in playing there. And while this is old news, with Google Places having become a difficult place for them to play, locksmiths have moved on (for the most part) to the next easy pickings. I am sure that the exposure is not as great but a small fish is better than no fish at all and one can still marvel at their audacity.
Jeff Magner of Trumpet Local Media pointed out this search for watch repair in Boulder, co at Yahoo that turns up locksmith spam even in categories as unrelated as watch repair. When you do search on Locksmiths the results are “impressive” with the top 4 listings each showing more than 450 reviews each.
Since Yahoo’s algo so heavily favors review count, they appear to be in an arms race with number 3, Boulder Locksmith Service 24/7 having gathered over 400 reviews since the first of August… a clip of almost 7 reviews a day…. The number of their reviews alone amount to 1% of all households in Boulder. The top 4 listings have procured reviews from over 5% of the households. No small task that. 🙂
Obviously, as Jeff pointed out in his email, this decay doesn’t just affect the locksmith listings but has moved out and is polluting other categories as well. I recognize that Yahoo has other things on their plate. But unless they are going to proactively manage local they should be selling it off to Microsoft as well.
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Surely Yahoo local can see that once the business reviews become worthless it will in turn make their product worthless too?
me? I’d call the #5 listing, if I lived there…figuring that anyone who ‘spams’ reviews, ain’t worth the dime, eh!
funny thing is….up here in g.ca land, a look at “locksmiths near Hamilton, Ontario” brings up tons of same, but not A ONE has a review…ie none of them here at least are doing that…
sigh…guess it’s still to come here…
Mike – you would certainly be a right person to call attention in your blog to several review spammers that are at the core of many of the issues we are all seeing. I won’t mention the firm names here but they are deluging SMB’s with solicitation and influencing more and more Google 7 pack results as well as Yahoo Local. I mentioned the company airing commercials on the EIB radio network (Limbaugh) which is no small undertaking.
You know…something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, Mike, is that some industries are just not naturals for user reviews. When I see a figure like 400 reviews for a locksmith, I immediately feel suspicious. Sure, some people might be so grateful for a locksmith helping them out, they would take the time to publicize their gratitude via a review…but isn’t getting locked out of your house something you’d rather just forget about than prolong by going online and writing about it?
Similarly, have you ever looked at the reviews of bail bondsmen? Now there’s an industry worth taking a look at. I have seen the most ridiculous, fishy things like reviewer accounts with multiple bail bonds companies being reviewed. So, like, I’m supposed to picture someone who keeps going to jail over and over again and each time, the first thing he does when he gets out of jail is to sit down and start writing about how great his bail bonds company was? I really don’t think so…
This issue of unlikely-to-generate natural reviews industries is one worthy of discussion. As for Boulder, gosh, someone needs to get those people an extra key or something.
Thanks Yahoo… Your Local Search service has made it easy for me to find an honest and reliable locksmith; one who I can trust to be ethical and beyond reproach 😉
[…] Yahoo Local Filled with Locksmith Spam, Mike Blumenthal […]
@miriam: I was speaking a while back w/ a guy who has owned a certain business and business type for about 30 years. We have known one another for a while. I had noticed how one of his businesses had lots of reviews. A. LOT.
I asked him about it. He started laughing and said something like….”my customers don’t know how to write”
btw: he wasn’t a bail bondsman 😉
yep. there are a lot of fishy reviews out there
I agree with both of you about the spammy reviews, their bad nature especially in some businesses that are less likely to be getting some, such as locksmiths.
I have two things to mention about that:
1. I agree 400 reviews looks suspicious, however, recently business owners become more aware to reputation management, hence encourage their sasisfied clients to publih their feedback online. That’s why I beleive that in time we’ll see more customers involved online & a growing number of reviews…
2. Yahoo Local is an unfortunate case of an advertising platform that encourages spam in order for a business to be on top position. It seems that nothing has changed – geographical proximity is an important variable in this ranking equation but not as valuable as reviews which are still considered as number 1 factor in increasing one’s ranking.
Until Yahoo changes this bad system, spam will continue to flood the system.
Yahoo Local customer service support should start taking this issue a couple of steps further & start blocking spammy reviewers.
Yahoo’s Organic algos (based on KWs in the URL) & Local algos (based on amount of reviews) are way too simple.
Sometimes it feels that Yahoo just eager for traffic & will do everything (really) stupid & (really) simple in order to get more clicks, activity & traffic.
As we all know- in 1 thing Yahoo Local is better than Google Maps- THEY HAVE REPRESENTATIVES which you can actually speak to. unfortunately, when we are facing them with the reality in the Locksmith industry they are saying- keep on reporting on them using the regular tools we offer. well, we are doing so. Actually we are doing so 1000s times a day. sometimes it works & sometimes not.
but, beating down the scammers in this method is very not efficient. After couple of days, after their listing got TOTALLY cleaned from reviews, they are stuffing 1000s more..
see examples here (if you’ll watch it on a daily basis, you’ll see what I’ve described)- Locksmith Dallas
bad system after all..
hmm, I was just wondering how much traffic can bring Yahoo nowdays?
As far as my industry- ~20% of total leads. not mentioned- 1. Nice backlinks 2. Reinforce Google Maps listings
Hi Mike, I’m also experiencing the same issue in my local market where my competitor has created multiple entries and they take up all 10 spots and to append to the problem my competitor has found a way to take our listing. I’m interested in resolving this problem by getting out listing back if possible or at the very least put this in front of a Google Spam team members eyes just to show what they’re doing. I’m sure if they viewed the accounts listed it would show the same ip address but each local listing has a unique domain, all previously registered to the same person and now they’re all registered privately but it’s still recorded via domaintools. Also, the local listings all have the same email address prefix “name” and some of the listings are created twice. Is there a way to have this resolved other then using the Google’s report a problem button because they’ve never responded to me and from what it looks like never responded to anyone.
I’d pay a premium to have this resolved, anyone interested or think they’d be able too please email me at dikaio [@] me [dot] com
Can we see the search that brings up all of the spam?
@Puresheer: tx for referencing the percentage. those percentages are so much a function of industry by industry. My experiences with yahoo and bing range from about 4-8% of google traffic. Basically I’m comparing #1 search terms against number 1 terms.
but thanks to your simple description I’m going back and comparing it on a leads basis versus traffic.
Its all in the details.
Hi Mike, thank you for offering to take a look at this. Please excuse me in advance for bringing a some what adult type term into talks here, but I’d just like to express my appreciation for any advice I can receive or if willing to pay to have this resolved. The problem:
I manage lasvegasescorts [dot] com and had outsourced the local seo for a few years now but the gentleman that was handling our local listing explained our two listings were being merged together with our competitor (candyapplegirls [dot] com) because of the proximity of our addresses. The city only allows these companies to operate in certain areas of the cities so many of them are in the same building (3135 Industrial Road) but in different suites, the companies address of our site is 3135 Industrial Road Suite #210 and our competitor is Suite #213, if you do a search for Las Vegas Escorts 3135 it will pull up a list of businesses in that building, all of which are this companies local listings, in fact all of his local listings have a girl appended to the email address of the domain e.g. girl@domainA.com, girl@domainB.com, or girls@ or thegirls@, etc. Also, each of those domains listed have a record via domaintools that they were in fact owned by the same person prior to the domains going into private registration.
Hoping you may offer to shed some light on this Mike.
Yahoo Local updated its ranking algorithm and it now shows good results for your example query “watch repair Boulder, CO”.
Yahoo search for Watch Repair Boulder Co
As I undersatand it, Yahoo Local did not update it’s algorithm rather simply erased the reviews that were reported with their ‘Report Abuse’ tool.
I guess Yahoo knows that most people don’t understand these reviews are spam(!!!) and so people still search in Yahoo quite often(a blog spot by PureSheer)! Why to change it if it works?!?!?!
Totally agree with you! see what’s going on here- http://local.yahoo.com/results?p=locksmith&csz=oakland
No, those reviews are still there (http://local.yahoo.com/results;_ylt=AqsAH60C3bsMoK2r08pHtpWHNcIF;_ylv=3?p=locksmith&csz=Boulder,+CO). So, it must be the algorithm change. It is now much more robust to the review spam.
More robust maybe… but robust enough? This search result looks pretty spammy.
I agree that locksmith listings are spammy. But my point is that you don’t get affected by the locksmith listings any more when you use other queries (e.g., watch repair). That is an algorithmic enhancement.
Thanks for the clarification. It is a sign that Yahoo Local lives… a good thing for us all.
These are the same guys recently blasted off Google in the last few days. 6300+ reviews and look at the names number up anyone?
I did notice since the Google map maker editor that will remain nameless that the spammy ones have gone to pay per click listings.
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