Five months on, Google Maps is still tagging local businesses with the phone numbers of their competitors. And local businesses are none too happy about it. When compiling contact information for businesses listed by its Yellow Pages-killing local search engine, Google Maps has a nasty habit of merging the URLs, phone numbers, …
Sue, Grabbit & Runne
A couple of class action lawsuits for defaming and/or damaging the reputations of businesses by misrepresenting what they do or where they are located should get more priority placed on getting this issue sorted out.
Why are these businesses depending on this free service so dearly?
While I can see this is clearly a problem, a little part of me nags about something. Google provides their mapping service for free and it's totally optional for anyone who wants to use it. Yet the businesses listed on it act like they are entitled to the traffic generated by Google and their various methods of searching.
I'd wager that if they paid for Google ads, their custom advertisements would appear when people searched, totally solving this problem. Right now they aren't paying but expect the same level of service as if they were.
Yes it's free, but if you are not able to correct that info, or are not even aware it's wrong, then it could be devastating to your business.
Imagine if the yellow pages worked on the principle, well most people think your phone number is xxx so it must be true, and we don't care if you say it isn't.
And then build into that the fact google is the prime source of info on the Internet, pretty much everyone starts with a google search.
There is no hope for humanity...
... when someone can seriously make a statement like this:
"Some of the Localsearch quality folks recently launched a shiny new algorithm for exactly this purpose. I was really psyched, because a bunch of duplicate businesses got consolidated properly after this change. However, I've been seeing some user feedback in the forum about businesses that are still being lumped together improperly, so it looks like the algorithm needs tinkering. The team is now working on a fix that aims to solve this problem for the users who are hurting, without taking a step backward in terms of our overall quality."
in a business context, without getting laughed out of town.
Is she addressing an audience of retarded three-to-five year olds?
This is the consequence of the collapse of the education system. It is too late to fix it; those kids who left school without a proper education are now the managers making the decisions.
I think she meant:
"We have fixed some flaws in the Localsearch algorithm, and it is now better, but still not perfect. We can see from the continuing complaints that several people are still unhappy, so we are trying to improve the algorithm further. However it is important that we avoid causing new problems while attempting to solve the existing ones"
This is how a grown-up would say the same thing. If I wanted to be talked to as if I was being patronized by a ditsy teenager, I would go and find one.
There's no hope for humanity?
.... And the above kind of rant is what a pensioned schoolteacher (who already hated children back in the day) would write.
As for "not depending on a free tool": this is how a protection racket works --- "you don't have to pay Google for adverts, if you don't your customers will disappear... You wouldn't like that to happen, now?". See also the ongoing Yelp "pay to remoive reviews" saga, as reported in ElReg.
The thing is also that it's not the business that uses the free tool, nor advising to use the tool, it's the customer --- and you can't reach them until they found you. And anyway I for one resolutely ignore the advertized suggestions; the few times I've clicked it has been less than useful, in the best case wasting my time with a Flash animation instead of facts immediately.
That said, why so many colon cleaners? Why not diversity to greengrocers' apostrophe's expunger's? Questionmark correctors? Comma fiddlers? I hear they all flock to Wiki.
That's not a bug - it's a feature.
"This isn't actually a bug by Google's definition..."
I really think problems like this need a "Brazil" icon
Not just businesses...
...about a year ago every primary school in Co Durham was cross-linked to the same cricket club register... no tag info about the schools, just a list of places that could be booked for a spot of willow on leather-covered ball action.
Google couldn't care is no real surprise
Five months on, Google Maps is still tagging local businesses with the phone numbers of their competitors.
Am I surprised? No! Goggle have never give a flying fk about anyone.
Languages evolve. Shakespeare would probably cry if he had the chance to read your "correct" re-phrasing of the article. But he can't because he's dead.
But it's NOT optional
One of my clients runs a school fundraiser, and they have a website set up in the fundraiser's name. When you search for the name, Google will return the correct URL, but will show a map and phone number for a competitor (whose four-word name includes my client's one-word name) located in a different state. What is (to me) important to note is that my client has NOT set up a Google business listing.
"Google provides their mapping service for free and it's totally optional for anyone who wants to use it. Yet the businesses listed on it act like they are entitled to the traffic generated by Google and their various methods of searching."
Actually, as my client's case illustrates, it is NOT optional. My client does not "act like they are entitled to the traffic generated by Google". They simply want Google to stop advertising a competitor's address and phone number as the contact info for my client. They want THEIR address and phone number to appear, OR NONE AT ALL. And considering the fact that they never signed up for a Google business listing, there should be no map data associated with their URL.
A proper analogy would be calling your phone company's directory services listing because you want the phone number of Johnny's Pizza down the road. You tell the operator the restaurant's name, and they (intentionally) give you the address and phone number for John's Super Seafood three towns away. Are you saying that Johnny's Pizza has no right to be upset?
Charities affected too
Sheffield Conservation Volunteers are coming up as wildsheffield.com instead of www.sheffieldconservation.org, so we aren't getting the new volunteers we depend upon to keep the charity going. Some must get confused by being sent to the wrong site. And since the wrong site is in the same kind of area, it's not so obvious that they are in the wrong place.
The Charity has been going 30 years, and we need this sorting in the next few months or we are going to start suffering.
In my view, if it's getting things wrong, it should be turned off.