Google Maps are full of fake business listings and phone numbers which would reroute the competing business to one’s platform. This is exactly what the Wall Street Journal said recently in its report. According to estimates from online advertising experts, there are around 11 million false business listings on Google Maps. The extent is so large that every single month, more than a hundred thousand fake listings are added.
According to a search expert interviewed by WSJ, it was found that about 0.5 percent of all the local searches that researchers examined were found to be fake. This all happens as businesses are specialized in creating fake listings for their clients that want to boost their results in comparison to their competitors. So what they do? Well, they simply create fake listings and drive traffic to their listing.
What Google Has to Say on This?
As Google Maps are under scrutiny so Google’s product Director Ethan Russell came out and said that there are more than 200 million listings already present on Google Maps over the previous years. He also said that Google continuously takes down the fake listings available on its platform. Ethan said that last year it took down more than 3 million fake business listings available on Google Maps.
Out of those removed listings around 2, 50,000 were reported by users while around 85 % of them were removed by Google’s systems. Moreover, the company says that it had already disabled more than 1, 50,000 user accounts which were found abusive.
Ethan wrote that the company is continuously putting efforts to work on new ways to counter these scammers using a lot of automated and evolving systems. However, he denied sharing more details on this as scammers might find a way to get around those ways as well.
Is Google’s Verifying Process Fine or Not?
Google, in general, verifies a business as legitimate by mailing, calling, emailing them along with sending them postcard as well. This system of verification is easy for scammers to allow utilizing the loopholes available. A Google spokesperson said that they have already removed the false listings and has added new strategies to prevent businesses from falling short under scammers.
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Yesterday, the company announced that it is providing business owners with more options to customize their profiles on maps through My Business feature. With this, businesses can offer discounts to first-time customers, set shorter URLs and add photos to attract customers with their genuine profile. This indicates that Google is trying to make its system more robust and secure. But in order to be successful, it needs to deal with the present situation of the false listing problem.
Though Google says that it is working on improving its ways to deal with fake and suspicious profiles, only time will tell how much it will be able to succeed. However, it directed people to report any fraudulent activity on its Business Redressal complaint Form.
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