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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Is Google’s Australian Data Partner Spamming Places for $11 a Listing?

In Australia, Google uses the Australian Yellow Pages as the exclusive primary data source for Places and it is so noted on every page of business listings in the Maps results.

Yet this story from the forums of being able to buy your way into a multitude of Places listings by purchasing locations with the Australia YP rang true. While I have not verified all of the facts independently I have heard reports elsewhere of being able to create a large number of Places entries via the Yellowpages.

If true there is a certain irony in Google’s primary data supplier knowingly spamming Places for as little as $11 a listing. I fully understand that YellowPage’s have long accepted non local listings for the local YP directories as a revenue stream. Perhaps they don’t think of it as spamming. But they must know of Google’s guidelines requiring a real location and yet appear to have proceeded with the explicit acknowledgement of feeding the listings to Google.

Whether 1300 Florists used the Australian YellowPages or not, the Maps index is full of their spammy listings, without address and with the same phone number through out all of Australia.

Here is SweetAngel1988’s post from the forum:

Why is it that 1300flowers is allowed to have 700+ Places listings all over Australia?


Level 1

I was searching for a local florist for Valentine’s Day last week and came across a Google Places listing for 1300flowers. I actually know 1300flowers due to seeing their advertisements on t.v, so I thought it very strange that they had a Google Places listing in Beaudesert in QLD, Australia. I also know that they are not even a florist, just an online florist, and that they are located in Sydney. This first issue is quite a concern when I thought that Google Place was specifically for local businesses.

Being a local business owner myself, and with a Places listing that I am always struggling with,  I dug a little deeper to find out how they could possibly have a local florist listing, in Beaudesert of all places.

After clicking into the listing I noticed that the listing had been fed to Google by Yellow Pages (yp). I then went to yp, searched for 1300flowers and found their business listing (this is also strange as they are not an actual florist). In their listing I found a link titled “additional locations”, and this is where I found the listing for Beaudesert + 700+ others:

Beaudesert QLD 4285
ph: 1300 356 937

I then starting searching all the ‘addition locations’ in Google with the work ‘florist’ after it. And, you guessed it, they are all listed in Google Places. I didn’t check all of them but searched and found at least 100+ in Places. So it seems there is a major loophole in Google’s relationship with Yellow Pages in Australia?

Posing as a local online only business I then rang yp and said that I was interested in targeting certain locations for my yp listing in the hope of getting a Google Places listing. Their response was “yep, not a problem, provided you have a relationship with another business in that town/suburb you can have multiple locations that will then appear in Google Places…’ What, am I missing something? The worrying thing that then happened was that they said that each ‘additional location’ would cost $50 AUD. Then yp went on to discuss what they define as a sliding scale, that is, the more postcodes/areas you target the less they cost. I said what it if I want to target 700+ locations? Their reply was that the cost would go down to around $11 per postcode. These locations can be view here

So, I have more than one question on this.

1. How is Yellow Pages allowed to do this?
2. Does Google even know that yp is doing this?
3. How is it fair that a big company like 1300flowers is allowed to have 700+ LOCAL Google Places listings?
4. Is yp breaching the trust and integrity that Google Places stands for?
5. Is yp taking advantage of their relationship with Google?

I am clearly concerned about this major flaw with the relationship between Google & YP and hope that this post gets through to some decision maker in Google Places.

Has anyone else heard of this happening before?