It’s unfortunate that we continue to see Australian businesses choosing to spam Google maps.
Mike Blumenthal first reported spam local businesses listing on Google Maps on the 27th July 2007. It’s nearly one year on and Mike is still reporting on cases of spam on Google Maps that Google appear to be turning a blind eye to.
You may recall that we brought attention to a Melbourne mobile mechanic who created over 500 dodgy listings on Google Maps on February 20th this year. Those instances were eventually removed, and that spammer has gone on to find new and innovative ways to spam. They have also made a series of threats against us for reporting on the matter (we may publish those at a later date).
Today we have the case of a Sydney based locksmith with a couple of vans and one registered office that shows up on every street corner of Sydney.
According to Google Maps, this business claims to have 40 addresses in the one suburb alone… Have you ever seen a suburb with a locksmith on every corner? Probably not a suburb that you’d want to live in.
Once again despite many contacts and exchanges with Google, so far nothing has been done about the spam.
We know that showing up in web searches on Google Maps results in many more clicks than even the number one organic result attracts. Undoubtedly, this spammer has attracted plenty of unsuspecting customers through this deceitful measure. Our question for potential customers is:
If a business is willing to falsely represent their business address, how are they likely to treat their customers?
Ultimately, such conduct will come back on the business. It is deceptive, and customers should beware.
Yesterday, Mike Blumenthal called for Google to create a formal solution to the map spam problem. We definitely support this idea. Like the Yellow Pages® of previous decades, Google’s actions (or lack thereof) have a significant economic impact on small businesses in Australia. They have the power to make or break businesses and they must take this responsibility seriously.
In addition we believe that the practice of spamming Google Maps with false addresses is misleading advertising that the ACCC should pursue. If a competitor of yours is engaging in such a practice, you should contact the ACCC and your state fair trading office to register a compliant.