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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Google Places Dashboard – There’s Good News and There’s Bad News

Did you ever hear the one about the Lieutenant in the trenches of WWI that called together his dispirited troops and announced:”Troops, I have good news and I have bad news. Would you rather hear the good news first or the bad news?”.

The troops called out in unison: “Tell us the good news! We haven’t had any in such a long time!!”. The lieutenant says: “The Good News is that you finally get a change of underwear.” And the troops erupted with a wild cheer. “Now tell us the Bad News!”

The Lieutenant responded: “Larry you get Joe’s, Joe you get Harry’s….”

The  Google Places Dashboard has been a lot like that of late. The good news? Well the System Error and Pending Problems seemed to have been cleared up.

What’s the bad news you ask?  Apparently large accounts “will be unable to view, edit, or take action on listings 1001 and above” that were created via the bulk upload feature. It obviously does not affect the bulk of users but it means that those organizations with a large number of stores will be unable to affect changes on some of their listings. So for example if a store closes, they will be unable to remove it from Google Places.

Here is an email that went out to the accounts:

Subject: Important notification regarding your Google Places account


We would like to inform you that your Google Places account will be affected by scheduled maintenance of our bulk upload experience.

Beginning on March XX, 2011, for a period several weeks, you will be unable to view, edit, or take action on listings 1001 and above. We will email you when we have an additional update.

Please see the questions below for more information about how this will affect your account:

How can I view my dashboard?
The ability to view the dashboard statistics for any listings past 1000, page 20, will be unavailable. This means that you will not see any alerts, nor be able to fix, any listings with issues that are past 1000.

You can still download a .csv of all your listings by clicking Download your data file in your Google Places account.

Can I re-upload a new file so that I can view other listings?
No, even if you re-upload a new file, your listings will still be sorted in the same order.

If I have pending listings, will I still be able to view those particular listings with the sorting feature?
Unfortunately, the ability to view any listings that are sorted 1001 and above will not be available. To edit any of your listings, you can re-submit your bulk upload file at any time.

We appreciate your patience while we work to improve Google Places.


The Google Places Team

© 2011 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043

What does this mean? Who knows.  Carter Maslan noted at SMX that “changes were coming” to the bulk upload process. Coming as it did on the heals of the System Error issues, it is not out of the question that Google is in mucking with the plumbing in Google Places. Hopefully changes for the better are in the works but we can expect changes regardless.

If that is the case, it is interesting to me that they are sending out emails to affected large accounts but provided nary a peep to the hoi polloi (the unwashed masses) affected by the nearly 48 hour outage  System Error.

Google’s communication, or rather lack there of, is something that I always have a hard time understanding. Regardless of the cause for Google’s poor communication with SMBs (lack of attention to the details, fear of giving spammers or competitors too much information, whatever) it ends up appearing at best as an uncaring attitude towards the small businesses that depend on Places