Maps:

Study estimates millions of business listings on Google Maps are fake

Posted on June 24, 2019

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Google Maps is now littered with business listings and contact numbers that are not genuine, with many rerouting to competing companies.

Thousands upon thousands of new, fake listings appear on Google Maps each month and the Wall Street Journal believes that the service could have as many as 11 million fake business listings on the site at present.

Back in 2017, Google itself self-funded an academic study into this subject and concluded that only 0.5% if local searches were not genuine listings. However, the Wall Street Journal’s investigation says otherwise. The Journal searched for business listings of plumbers based in New York City and it found that more than half (13) of the top 20 business results were false listings. Furthermore, it found that only two were genuine businesses that adhered to the guidelines set out by Google. These guidelines stipulate that all pushpin listings must detail locations that are open to customers.

The Journal’s research suggests that companies not based in the locations suggested by their listings are likely to include repairers, car towing companies and contractors. Google internally refers to these businesses as ‘duress verticals’ as they are the types of businesses people would turn to when they have an emergency and wouldn’t spend much time looking into the business’ credibility. The research was diluted by Google’s inclusion of hotels and restaurants, which are nearly always at the location detailed in the listing.

In order for a business listing to be verified, Google sends out a numerical code to these companies – either through an email, a phone call or by mailing a postcard – to show that they are genuine. However, it is thought that this system is fairly easy for scammers to get around by providing fake phone numbers and addresses.

This loophole in the system can damage genuine businesses and their potential customers, while the scammers, and even Google, seem to benefit. In the time since the Journal’s investigation, Google has removed the fake listings, with a spokesperson for the online giant stating that the company has since added new defences for business categories classed as high-risk.

Google has also announced that it will be giving businesses more options to customise their business listings through the My Business feature. Though this, companies can offer first-time visitors a discount on products and services, set a cover photo, and claim a shorter URL.

Furthermore, in a blog post, Google has stated that it will be working on new ways for people to report any suspicious business listings they find.

Posted by Alan Littler

Google Maps to add messaging feature

Posted on January 10, 2019

Search giant Google has recently introduced an update to its Maps tool – a messaging feature.

Over the years, Google Maps has (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler

How can your business use Google Maps?

Posted on September 11, 2018

In my entire working career, I’ve certainly never had a job that’s had anything to do with cartography. However, almost every company I have worked for has found some way to use maps, and some knowledge and appreciation of geography has come in useful.

This is no different with Engage Web. Since our content marketing service calls upon (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Google launches video reviews in Maps

Posted on September 18, 2017

Search giant Google has recently launched a new feature that allows users to create and submit video reviews for Google Maps.

While we are still a (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler

Have you spotted yourself on Google Street View?

Posted on March 17, 2017

Google Street View is one of my favourite tools on the internet and, as someone caught in a compromise between wanderlust and laziness, I find dragging Pegman onto streets all over the world strangely addictive.

What’s more, it seems like every time I go on it, there’s even more to see and do. As this Wikipedia page shows, Street View made its 213th update on Wednesday, now allowing you to venture into (more…)

Posted by John Murray

Google adds another new feature to its Maps app

Posted on February 14, 2017

A new Google Maps app feature will allow users to save certain locations and send them to their friends.

This latest update has been (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler

Google adds pit stops to Maps

Posted on October 22, 2015

If you use Google Maps as your main navigation tool, you will soon be able to plan your journey ahead in greater (more…)

Posted by Mark Glenning

Samsung introducing app to rival Google Maps

Posted on September 2, 2014

Electronics company Samsung has announced that it has teamed up with Nokia to launch map software that will be made available on its (more…)

Posted by Alan Littler
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