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Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

Does the Google Places “Report a Problem” Work to Remove Spam?

Does the Google Places “Report a Problem” Work to Remove Spam? In the past reporting, spam via this mechanism has been roughly akin to peeing in the ocean… satisfying but hardly ever changing the salinity let alone warming the ocean around your feet. I am curious whether, along with other improvements in service level, “Report a Problem” is now a functional solution for dealing with spam in your marketplace.

Google has been slowly and steadily improving their service in Google Places. Given its very low starting point, service levels could have only gone up and while they are not anywhere near a level that one would call excellent the service situation is clearly better than it was 6 months ago and steadily improving.

The forums are staffed and real solutions are offered. There is now a way to get in touch with staffers in Mt View to solve complex problems created by the system like merges via the Google Place Help troubleshooters. The emergency messaging, needed when Google self inflicts turmoil in the Places index, has improved. Mapmaker, although complex and ugly, has been a help for do-it-yourselfers and “Report a Problem” has been a somewhat successful path on issues like dupes for those that don’t want the excessive complexity and bad UI of Mapmaker.

But spam has been and remains a huge problem in Places and the main way for most to report it has been via the “Report a Problem” process. I am curious: Are you finding that it works to remove the spam that you are seeing?

Have you recently reported spam via this path? Has it proven successful? Was Google’s email correspondence back to you meaningful or non-sensical? Did it still seem like like an exercise in urinary futility or was there a sense that you had actually impacted the outcome?

If you haven’t recently reported spam, I am asking everyone to take part in a grand group experiment. Find an egregious piece of Places spam, report it via “Report a Problem” today and report back if you see any results within the next 10 days.