Although the 2011 year has only just kicked off, Google is already making headlines.
There are reports that Google holds bias in its Google Maps against business not showing a proper address in their listing and have even removed some businesses listings.
Local businesses like building contractors, painters and electricians who prefer not to show an exact address (because they generally work out of a home office) have all been alienated by Google Maps. Also, businesses who list a PO Box number as their address are being frowned up by Google.
This is contrary to the statements issued by Google’s Michael Jones and Carter Maslan who noted that business without an address can get a listing on Google Maps by renting local post boxes. Now, come December 2010, Google released a statement on their official blog that left many businesses in a jam. Google’s Lina Paczensky outlined the following:
Google Places is meant to facilitate customer interaction with brick-and-mortar businesses and service providers. Therefore, the business owner or employee who is officially authorized to represent their particular business location must have a physical address in order to comply with our quality guideline. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.
Confused yet? I sure am.
While we can see that Google is trying to keep out spamming websites from listing in Google Maps as a legitimate business, this decision to remove PO Box addressed businesses is likely to only make the spammers more innovative. They are likely to get fake addresses to get listed. This move by Google has left many small businesses experiencing sudden drop in their ranking or removal completely from Google Maps.
What’s the solution? At this stage it’s not known what Google’s plan is. But we do believe it better hurry up and work out a concrete solution.
Has your business listing been blocked in Google Maps?