Mike Blumenthal first reported Local Business Listing SPAM on Google Maps last July. Seven months later it seems that Google has no answer for the spammers filling up the Google Maps Local Business Center with dodgy business listings.
We recently found a Melbourne based mobile mechanic who spammed his business into 500 locations on the Melbourne Map in Google Maps. Whilst the business appears to have only one real location, they asserted that because they are a mobile mechanic, they should be allowed to show up on the map on every main street of Melbourne city.
Obviously there is a serious advantage to being listed number one in any directory, but before your decide that spamming Google Maps sounds like a good idea, be warned… Spamming is never a good idea, and here’s why:
- Stuffing any directory with repeated information only serves to devalue the directory and the information in it. As a result of the spam, the reliability of the whole service is brought into question and its effectiveness is reduced.
- A user seeing repeated results will become frustrated at not getting what they want from the directory (i.e. choice). This will lead them to question the legitimacy of your business. If your listing looks like SPAM, then you look like a spammer!
- Eventually, Google will come up with a system to eliminate the spam, and the penalties of spamming usually involve your website being removed from Google altogether.
Is spamming really worth the risk?
Currently the click through rates on Google Maps listings that show up in the main search results are very high. If the spam continues and becomes more widespread, users will learn to ignore it altogether.
What that means is that Google Maps in search results could become less effective at generating clicks than Adwords.
The Google Maps help forum is littered with reports of businesses who have spammed the Local Business Listings, and the majority of the instances reported have not been dealt with or had an official reply.
Let’s hope that Google find some answers and soon! Seven months is a long time in the life of a search engine.