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Google Maps: Still Too Easy to Spam

Spammy SEO tactics are the bane of our existence. They are the bane of Google’s existence, too. Over the years, Google have been investing significant amount of money and man-power to fight system abuse related to Google Maps. While they are getting close to where they should be, Maps seems to need some more anti-spam work done. A few days ago, Mike Blumenthal shared (privately, hence no link) on Google+ an obviously fake Google Maps business listing. The listing could have been found here, but was removed a few days after Mike’s post, after numerous reports. Here is how the listing looked:

Fake Google Local Listing

The fact itself that the listing has been removed is positive. However, it took at least 8 reports, and more than 3 days for it to be taken down. It took one person – the spammer, 1-2 days to get it up and live. The fact itself that it is still possible to create such a listing is worrisome. I decided to investigate.

 

Investigating

I tried to learn as much as possible about the spam tactic, so that I could reproduce it. Based on the Map Maker record of the listing I managed to learn that the listing had been created just a few hours before Mike’s Google+ post. The listing was originally created as a church, under the name “Bell of God Church”:

Fake Listing Before Edit

From previous conversations with other SEO’s that mentioned they knew of people that claimed they could create listings in any city, and by any business name, I knew the following:

– The spammer needs to have control over the phone number

– The spammer chooses himself/herself the exact location of the listing

– This tactic was for sale at $3,000

Based on the information I had, I was able to figure out the process. Thus, this article is probably worth $3,000 per reader, which makes it one of the most expensive articles you will ever read.

 

How I did it

I started by creating a brand-new Google account. I didn’t clear my browsing history, cache, or cookies, so that Google could potentially track me and understand I am using a new profile (although I already have at least one other profile). The username I chose was great.remoteness@gmail.com and my “real” profile name was “Adam Sandler”. My profile picture featured a head shot of The Zohan in action:

The Zohan

This was all done deliberately.

After I had the account created, I went to Google Map Maker, and added a new “Place”. The location I chose was somewhere in the middle of Brooklyn, NY, because my US phone number is related to NYC. I named my “business” Johnny’s Mocha, a café. I did this on 11 February, at about 3am EST.

The same day, at about 8am EST, I received a call from the following phone number – 650-253-2000. This is Google Maps’ business information verification phone number. I had a brief chat with a male with thick Indian accent (Google’s call centers are in India), who asked me to confirm:

– That I was Johnny’s Mocha

– My business’s address – I had initially placed it incorrectly on the map (there was no street address), so he update it based on his own recommendation (he added street number 1000)

– If the business was a café

All my answers were “Yes”.

Two minutes after the call, the listing was live, on Map Maker and on Maps:

Johnny's Mocha

I went to the listing’s Google+ page (here) and claimed it. I was able to choose between phone and postcard verification. I obviously chose phone. After I claimed the listing, I edited the business name to “Why Oh Why Big G”. No further verification was required. Currently the listing looks like this:

Fake Listing after Edit

Why I am posting this publicly

Many might say that by posting this publicly, I encourage even more spam on Google Maps. This is partially true. However, spam on Google Maps is and has been proliferating. Many spammers that have financial interests in such tactics already either know about the exploit, or pay others who know about it to do it for them.

Additionally, this exploit has been around for very long time, just in different forms. The main goal here is to get a listing with a phone number you have access to up on Google Maps. Once you do this, Google would allow you to use phone verification to claim the listing and the rest is easy work. In the past, it was easier to get a fake listing up – a simple Maps community edit was sufficient. From this point of view, Google’s Maps-related user-generated content policing has improved drastically. However, the loophole is still wide open.

My main purpose with this article is to “make noise” around the issue because, as it has been proven in the past, this seems to be the only way to make Google pay closer attention to an issue. Here are some ideas on what Google could do to reduce as much as possible the opportunities for exploits of such kind:

  • Never offer phone verification the first time when a listing is claimed.
  • Remove all listings at addresses that are virtual offices from Google Maps.
  • Include stricter verification requirements for listings created through UGC – for instance, require at least one additional hard-to-fake verifiable supporting evidence (registration with government institution that has public record with business information, local business chamber registration, listing on Localeze (requires payment), or Acxiom (requires document verification), document related to the business on which all the business information is visible (similar to Acxiom’s verification method)).
  • Stricter checks on the users that submit user-generated content through Map Maker and restrictions based on number of edits or reviews on Map Maker – a great example in this regard is Waze, which allows you to edit only certain areas of the map (where you have passed through), and the areas expand based on your activity on Waze.

Do you think Google should pay more attention to such issues? How do you think they should resolve this loophole?

AUTHOR

Nyagoslav Zhekov

Nyagoslav is the Director of Local Search at Whitespark. He has been in the local search industry since 2010. Nyagoslav has been cited on Search Engine Land, David Mihm's blog, Local SEO Guide, and has presented at SMX West.

Follow Me on Twitter
  • And this will be making it’s way through the places team in 3…..2……1……

  • Great detective work Nyago. Your experiment yet again demonstrates that no matter how smart you think Google is, there are always loopholes. Here’s hoping Google shuts this one down asap.

    The challenge is putting up more hurdles probably hurts legit businesses more than quickly adapting spammers. But if I think about all of the $ businesses have paid me to help them resolve issues like these, there surely has to be a paid solution that Google can provide.

  • Thanks for this, Nyagoslav! I am truly amazed at the absolute junk that Google continues to promote in it’s local index. Unfortunately, I thought Mapmaker was ripe for abuse the moment I saw it. Meanwhile, I have had so many legitimate edits (and provided evidence for them) squashed in MM that I’ve given up thinking I can correct anything there.
    Much of the Maps spam I see looks like it would be easy to avoid by simply applying some additional common sense filters.

    It’s sad that it takes so much effort to get Google to react appropriately when spam is reported.

  • Nice work. Getting this out there for the world to see and making it embarrassing should speed up the fixes.

  • Hey don’t forget about the service based business. Maybe auto hide the address for them even if at a virtual office. Otherwise a great article on Google map spam. I hope you make waves.

  • Nyagoslav: This is a NOBLE article. Dan Austin couldn’t have done a better job ;). ….and Dan has done a great job working to try and expose the holes.

    Very well done. Thank you

  • Terry Van Horne

    “Remove all listings at addresses that are virtual offices from Google Maps.” No way to know virtual office other than to assume every business in a Business Centre address is not legit or worthy of inclusion! I can tell you that would often take out several legit biz also because the biz centres that own most virtual offices are usually only a few floors of very large office buildings. In my case it’d also take a major Canadian Newspaper out as well and would include gov’t agencies and fortune 500 companies. I use one but don’t use it for spam… just made more sense then office space to take meetings. Much rather just rent as I need it.

  • @Mike, I think you are a little too optimistic, but I do hope it will eventually make its way through.

    @Andrew, I wouldn’t say that improving the anti-spam system would affect negatively legit businesses. On the contrary, these businesses usually lack understanding of how to make their way through all the spam, and at the same time spammers are relatively more sophisticated when it comes to showing up higher in the results. I believe legit businesses can only win in the long term from Google tightening the knot around spammers’ necks.

    @Mary, I agree that it is frustrating that a lot of correct edits are getting rejected (frequently without any explanation), while easily detectable spam is approved. This tells about major flows in the Google Map Maker editors training process.

    @Adriel and @Jason, thanks I do hope so, too!

    @Dave, I’d be very interested in Dan’s take, although I’m sure he has discussed this previously elsewhere, and probably with Google reps, too.

    @Terry, we had a similar discussion with Darren Shaw, and we agree that there are nuances to how any of the suggestions could be implemented, including the one related to virtual offices. That one is also probably the most difficult one to automate appropriately, and one of the reasons is the one you mentioned.

  • Thank you for bring this to light Nyagoslav. I agree with you, that when Google tightens the noose, it will help the legit local business who will benefit. I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Google Board room tomorrow morning.

  • Sweet job Nyagoslav. We see this all the time here on the German G-maps too. I think Google should limit the verification options down to the postcard verification, as just seems to be the only reliable one. I think in Europe you can actually still get your verification code via SMS and thus use any mobile phone#.

  • Dan Austin

    I posted a response in the Google+ thread on the spam problem:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DarrenShaw/posts/dTTYj1P5dc5

    Joel Headley, an official Google Places rep, has provided a non-response response to Darren’s Google+ post is also in this thread.

    I should also note that I’ve previously discussed this with Google over at least a two year period. The problems are well-known, as is Google’s shallow response. Google has known about these problems, has been repeatedly notified of these problems and possible solutions, and has ignored all the remedies proposed, doubling down on the same ineffective procedures, algorithms, and personnel that gave rise to the spam in the first place.

    These two forum threads contain a lot of good insight into the problem:

    Places, which ignored the problem:
    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!searchin/business/locksmith/business/wfcRsllQ72M/yOnifxg2GRUJ

    Map Maker, which won’t comment on the problem, but is increasingly hampered by Google Places interference with the integrity of data on Geo:
    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/map-maker/UL1Y5CEdUJA%5B301-325-false%5D

  • @Larry – thanks! However, I doubt it will take just this evening for Googlers to realize how major of an issue this is.

    @Alexander – yes, I believe not just in Europe, but in many countries around the world SMS verification is still available.

    @Dan – as I mentioned in the post, this issue has been going on for many years, and this particular exploit (setting up a brand-new listing and phone verifying it) has been around for at least 3 years (in different forms).

  • Niladri Sarkar

    Good post Nyagoslav.

    I’ve noticed a lot of listings in the locksmith category that have been set up using addresses of empty properties. There are some who get really good at finding addresses of empty lots/properties. Then they setup a phone number and business plan to generate and sell leads targeting local locksmith providers. You are right – it should be mandatory to get the first verification done by post as well as make it mandatory to upload the registration certificate that has the name of the business and address similar to what Acxiom does.

  • Thanks for this Nyagoslav.

    In addition to this, what might be even more disturbing is how difficult it is for real, bona fide businesses to actually get their businesses listed accurately – and update them.

    Of 8 clients we have worked with over the last month that are listed, 6 of them needed hands-on help in the form of a phone call with a Google representative to clarify issues that seemed to spawn over night (sudden NAP format changes not initiated by client, disconnection of the G+ account, other random mess.

    Their system really needs to improve, and your article sheds more light on this. Let’s hope someone on their team comes up with some creative ideas and ways to address this.

  • I agree with Terry completely. Especially in Chicago downtown, there are so many businesses that are still ranking based solely on their (virtual office) location. It will be very difficult to achieve this but I think, if all your suggestions will be implemented at least at some level, we would have a cleaner first page.

  • Zachary

    I agree with everything except one, “Remove all virtual offices from Google Maps”. There are some very legitimate businesses that use virtual offices – or rent office space for temporary meetings. I don’t think the solution is to, in one fatal swoop, remove them all. However, Google needs a real solution to address businesses (whether they are attorneys that share office space or service oriented businesses that operate in more than one city) that need and should appear in more than one market area with only only one physical address.

  • Great article. I would hate to this disappear as it makes getting clients up and running pretty easy, though I completely agree that listing spam is a problem.

    I like the idea of making it harder to get the phone verification option by requiring certain hard-to-fake documentation. The more hoops you create, the more lazy people will be deterred from trying to game the system.

    I always thought it would be a good idea to require a combination of domain email (ie: email@domain.com) and website (similar to webmaster tools) verification. This wouldn’t be too hard for a user to do, but it would require any spammer to put out time and money to get a website and email account setup.

  • David

    This is how a local company got a listing with my companies name and their phone number. They have at least 3 listings and use them all for adwords. The phone numbers are all forwarded to the same person. They keep 2 to 3 of the top adword spots for all our keywords. I email google this all the time. I have even sent them my state business registry and license. No action taken by Google. Its been like this going on 2 years. It really confuses both our customers when they call and cant figure out why its not the same place they called the day before.

  • Some real businesses use a virtual office.
    The only real way to eliminate most of the problem is have some kind of verification with the state to verify biz license.
    This won’t stop them all because some will get a real biz license, if it proves profitable.

  • The problem stems from the fact that Google has drastically limited the edits that require peer review to go live. I’ve never had a Google rep call me after having made a new POI in MapMaker – I create business listings all the time that immediately go live.

    Bring back mandatory peer review.

  • Superb stuff Nyag’ – I actually going through the same as we speak. Unlocking a G+ page that is addressed to our building but no suite number… Still waiting on the pin verification but we have the G+ Page set up.

  • korgoth

    I am glad you did publicize this method. With any luck every disreputable person from the Levant practicing shady locksmithing will add 10 or 15 spam POI’s in every city and the Google maps landscape will fester until Google is forced to confront the problem. I am tempted to add some of my own spam. Maybe I will make 15 or 20 park parking lots around Google headquarters and convert all of them to Google headquarters!

  • Every SEO has black hat competitors doing this and would love to see this exploit fixed.

  • This is crazy. But the part that I don’t understand is where you got that this “service” was worth $3000? Did you find the company that provided this service? This part of the post is unclear.

  • I just put up a video two weeks ago on this very subject. I’m a bathroom renovation contractor and after auditing my competitors 80% of them where using fake address on Google Maps. Some showing up under overpasses, hotels, middle of intersection and professional buildings where a contractor wouldn’t be located. Pretty sketchy when you can’t find a real address should you have a complaint. I’ve reported them to Google with no results, so I show my customer how to use street view in Google Maps to discover the junk companies out there. Glad to see others talking about this. My business would be booming if everyone knew.

  • Nyagoslav

    Once again your over delivering your insight to local is as good as anyone out there you are the local marketing scientist or genius.

    Thank you for this info

    Pete

  • Dan Austin

    The spammers are already using mail forwarding to verify their business model. The trick is is to go onto real estate websites, find houses for sale/rent, get your PIN card sent there, and file a change-of-address form, which gets all the cards sent to a different location. What is interesting about this is that’s mail fraud, which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison.

    The only thing that works is peer review (people, not bots), which includes business license verification. Google already has a proven crowdsourced solution to add legit POIs and remove spam, Google Map Maker, which sadly has become increasingly fragmented, inconsistent, and complex as other product groups like Google Places attempt to promote their product development at the expense of data quality.

    I should also point out that the locksmith spammers, in the US alone, are clearing upwards of a billion dollars a year. They also have business interests in carpet cleaning, garage door repair, handymen, and they’re actively involved in selling their exploits to other heavily spammed business categories. At an average cost of $300, that’s money that is not going into local businesses (including whitehat SEO firms) or even tax coffers (your taxes are going up to pay for their lack of contributions to the tax base), and is being funneled to the scammers instead and sadly, Google, since Google is taking a cut of all the AdWords proceeds (which means that for every bait-and-switch transaction that came through a AdWords, Google is imposing a tax on the end consumer for the privilege of being ripped off). It’s unethical, unconscionable, and Google can’t pretend they’re not aware of it, since they cancelled the AdWords account of one particularly vocal spammer (no worries, they set themselves up under another name) and they’re fully aware that all the top AdWords spots for locksmiths are completely dominated by spammers.

    I wonder what Mark Ewing, PM of the Local Data Quality team, has to say about all this, since his team is responsible for responding to the threat of local spam, and developing countermeasures? He’s known about all these exploits for some time, and he’s chosen, for reasons that remain unclear, not to close them.

  • @maptivists

    This post was done about my listing and nyago did a great job. Dan, I would really like to speak to you, as revealing this to the world along with @maptivists twitter is the first piece in a large scale attack / revolt against spam.
    Dan, go to this blog post screenshot of the listing and text or call the number on the lol google you are my bit.ch listing.
    I would like to share some information and see how we can work together and I have some upcoming things that you are really going to enjoy.
    The maptivists.

  • Excellent example! Thanks for shining a bright light on the issue.

    Count me as one who has long found serious flaws in the way Map Maker operates. I called it ‘Mischief Maker’ in a G+ post last year and stand by those words: https://plus.google.com/+CatherineHillenRulloda/posts/cHrrmg1e67W .

  • Amazing that this is so open for anyone to do. What a shame (On google), and yes you are right if they started hammering and removing listings the BIG G would remove the legit biz.

  • Nyagoslav, google map team should hire you.

  • Niladri, lead generation through fake listings on Google Maps (and not only) has been proliferating for years. The situation is most disastrous in the locksmiths, garage doors, moving, carpet cleaning, and other service-based business models. Different strategies are being used – from setting up brand new listings at fake addresses, to address forwarding, to hijacking already existing POIs.

    Todd, precisely – it is hard for legitimate business to figure out their way through all the mess, and Google’s claim is that they are looking for balance between user experience and anti-spam strategies. I think they’ve got that balance horribly wrong.

    Echo, unfortunately, I somehow doubt it. I just hope at least SOME of these (and many other) suggestions will be implemented sooner rather than later.

    Zachary and Phil, I know legit businesses use virtual offices, but this is a strategy that has many nuances. As I mentioned in my previous comment above – virtual offices are one of the grey areas that would be tough for Google to crack without significant collateral damange.

    Patrick, unfortunately, having any type of domain verification, similar to GWT, will only affect negatively the small businesses, and will not do anything to prevent spam. Spammers are not lazy – they are actually smart and tricky.

    David, is there any way you could send the info to me via email?

    Mark, I fully support that. Many changes have been made to Map Maker recently, mostly for the worse.

    Thanks, Lenny.

    korgoth, based on my experience, there might not be other way to get Google’s attention actually.

    Thanks, Stephen and Pete.

    Dan, I am not convinced Google leaves spammers to proliferate because they generate good amount of AdWords value (although it is a possible scenario). However, I fully agree that Google has the moral obligation to fix the issue as this affects directly or indirectly practically everyone using Google Search. It is also true that some of those spam tactics are outright illegal, which makes me wonder about law enforcement in the US (and elsewhere, but Maps spam in the US is most abundant).

    Cathy, I actually believe Map Maker has become worse ever since that post of yours from a year ago.

    Chris, sadly, collateral damage is usually unavoidable.

    Hemant, thanks, but I seriously doubt it, and I seriously doubt I would accept such an offer 🙂

  • It is far too easy to manipulate Google Maps! Thanks for step by step guide to… I might set up howtomanipulategooglemaps.com and sell the process for £1,999 a go!

    Cheers,
    Josh

  • There are numerous companies in our industry that have multiple office listings on Google Maps but when you look at their websites they rarely have more than one location. I don’t see the point of reporting anything using Google’s feedback forms as you never hear back. Hence why I’m adding my comments here as they do tend to see to sit up and take notice of great posts like these.

    Well done Nyagoslav, here’s hoping something changes soon.

  • I have to concur with Miguel. Who is offering this service for $3000? I am sure Google will close this loop hole – like they have with anything else. Sticking to legitimate marketing methods is always in your best interest long term.

  • Anonymous

    @Nyagoslav:

    That’s the cynic in me, in regards to AdWords. I think Google has only one sun they worship, and that’s AdWords. The moon (or rather, the fleeting meteor) of data quality pales in comparison.

    Regarding law enforcement, that’s a really hard nut to crack. Colorado’s State AG has been more aggressive than most in going after the spammers, while other states like Virginia have outright refused to investigate the spammers, even though they have the statutory authority to do so (locksmiths are licensed in Virginia, and every state has provisions against consumer fraud). I was read in to the email from the Virginia State AG email, and in effect, he told the locksmith asking for the investigation to ‘fuck off’. The laziness and indifference is astonishing. The feds could do more, but for some reason, despite the multi-layered nature of international spam criminal syndicates, and the multimillion damage they cause to the worldwide economy, they don’t, for whatever reason. Mail fraud? Tax evasion? Wire fraud? Computer fraud? Money laundering? Immigration fraud? Consumer fraud? You name it, they’re up to their eyeballs in it. Mostly I attribute it to ignorance of the scale of the problem, and the unwillingness of authorities to investigate something that requires some good ol fashioned detective work and an upfront commitment of resources that won’t be paid for through anti-terrorism grants. Most of the state authorities that license locksmiths aren’t interested in pursuing the unlicensed, even if they have the tools to do so. They just want to collect their fees and keep their gaze fixed on controlling what they can control. It’s easier that way. I think the first state to really investigate the problem beyond their borders will reap the financial windfall of going after the spammers and Google (Google has the deeper pockets from their form of own tax evasion).

    Google really is culpable here. They’re shielded from the content of the listings provided by third parties under Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act. It basically says, ‘We’re not responsible if you put something on our website’. However, Google is facilitating the consumer interacting with the spammers (click-to-call), and it’s hard not to see that as a criminal act (or civil consumer fraud), especially if Google is aware (and they’re aware). Moreover, what about sending and receiving PIN from Places? That’s mail and wire fraud, respectively, and Google has a responsibility to ensure that the receiving party isn’t engaged in criminal activity. Can they really say with certainty that the hundreds of thousands of spam POIs they’ve ‘approved’ are not engaged in fraud? (No.) Google has long been shady with their business practices, and they had the recent record $500 million fine for advertising illegal Canadian pharmacies that implicated their top execs in questionable activity (see: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/05/google-pharma-whitaker-sting/all/). So it’s not like there isn’t precedent to do business the way they do business.

  • Funny…
    Here in the Midwest (Wisconsin) I have not been able to verify a business by telephone for well over 18 months. On average I create/claim client businesses at least once per month, so I am pretty acquainted with Google Maps and practically use it daily. I have a feeling that the “phone verification” method will soon be gone altogether, and mailing the PIN to the physical location of the business will be the sole method of verification to thwart 99% of Maps Spam.
    Spammers make it pretty hard on those of us that actually use the service for legitimate purposes, and to better the world of “Local Search”. SHAME on the SPAMMERS!

  • Matt

    Personally, I would be very wary of doing something like this. There was a company that got sued by someone for setting up fake business listings…Seyego was a company that did this and got investigated by the attorney general in Arizona. I have the civil complaint and if someone wants I can post it up. Long story short, they got in some trouble…not sure how they are in business so spammers beware!

  • Hi Nyagoslav,

    Great post. I hope the powers that he take notice.

    I’ve dealt with issues like this on behalf of clients for a few years and its exhausting. We had one client where somehow, some way, an unknown third party kept making edits either in MapMaker, or perhaps it was algorithmically, but their verified business listing kept changing the address and business name. It was so weird!

    I think Google will eventually expand the +Local team to deal with these types of issues more effectively and adding the ability to call and talk to a real live person was a big step in the right direction.

    I loved the idea of authenticating listings thru a premium third party service like Acxiom where there are more checks and balances in the process.

    Another idea I always hoped Google would consider would be a “local search marketing consultant” where industry professionals could get some training and a certification by Google and once acquiring this higher level of trust be the preferred local service providers to help business owners get straightened out on Google if it was too intimidating to do it themselves.

    They’ve already got something like that going on with Google Trusted Photographers where we can publish street view style virtual tours to maps. Just give a new badge and new rights and connect business owners with trusted local consultant and make adding a listing more of a regimented process requiring verifiable proof of business ownership!

  • Unfortunately, Google won’t do anything about it unless it is directly affecting their ad revenue. If anything, it helps their ad revenue by forcing real businesses to run ads in Google to get exposure above the garbage.

    Their has to be a massive Public Relations issue with all the major SEO websites calling Google out at the same time or it has to hit their bottom line before Google will put any real “money and effort” into cleaning it up.

    We can scream and yell all we want but Google is all about making money to make investors happy, not giving real businesses an opportunity to be found in their index. Just the reality of the situation.

  • As someone that plays by the rules, I find it annoying when others get obviously fake listings ranking higher than real local listings. There is an example here in the Phoneix area where a chiropractor has 2 listings live in the top 2 spots and Google stills hasn’t cleaned it up after numerous people making numerous reports. I suppose they might have a huge list and limited man-power to clean it up, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Thanks for the great article.

  • Dan

    Hi,
    i added a business with google map maker.
    i have a local number that is through phone.com (basically a VOIP number)
    when i got the phone verification option i used my VOIP number (i use voip cause i have afew locations and it is easier with this service to forward and record my calls) it says “call failed” also when i opened an email address for the business i tried phone verification, it didnt work and i had to SMS verify it.. that works .. does anyone know why phone.com doesnt work? and do you know of a way to be able to phone verify?
    thanks

  • Dan

    Seems like the method not working any more. I tried to do it and my request denied before receiving any phone call.

  • I too have had no luck getting G to remove places listings. One competitor of a client of mine has 3 (YES THREE) listings for the same business. They all have the same name but different phone numbers and addresses.

    Repeated requests for removal have went unanswered. It really sucks too because they are only showing 3 places listings for this particular keyword so these guys are taking up 100% of the real estate.

  • Curious, does anyone know if this, or such tactics have been since plugged? @maptivists, I would expect you might be able to tell us? I am assuming that 1, maybe 2 methods have since been addressed, but am not optimistic that Google has given this much attn despite the attn that this has drawn.

    Old news, but I can’t help but chuckle at Joel’s reponse to this. I get it, but funny nevertheless.

    Great, REAL, expose Nyago.

  • There is an option in google places that the business is not open to public and service clients in radius from the virtual location. Any residential address can be used if set up properly- in that case, even without phone # access, you can set up multiple addresses, get approved via postcard, and successfully dominate the maps result. With all the changes in the SEO world, google maps become the most cost effective way to generate leads- specially on mobile. I am not saying that using fake accounts is the way to go, but hey….

  • Recently Google updated Google Map with New look. You can get verification code for your local listings only by post card.

  • As long as spammers exist Google will be battling them.

  • Bhavik Javia

    Thanks for this, Nyagoslav!
    I am not able to understand the complete process of Google places. Its about 3 moths that I have requested Google for postcard verification but still I haven’t got any postcard yet. Can you please tell me what is the reason behind this??

  • oh mine god.. i got fed up with the verification process .. it says

    Unfortunately, phone verification is not available for your business. Please try another verification method.

    getting stucked her…
    hope u guide

  • TBH Local Listings are highly annoying. Google needs to do something to clean up the mess. Thanks to such exploits, spammers rule page one on many important search terms and my clients keep eating my head about not getting valuable clicks in-spite of sitting on top organic positions. And to top it all even the reporting system is ineffective.

  • Google verification process is now bit difficult then present..
    it only does manual and post card verifications..

  • i think so now a days its is really heard to do it because there is a must male vitrifaction for it the code comes at the address that you provided which is the local address of the area

  • This is a great article (although i am not sure about the 3,000$ 😉
    I think google has really improved since then, and the proof is many spam listings which was removed from google maps.
    I guess that is the thing with google, they are improving and so does the people who try to improve their location on the maps.
    Still, important words.
    Thanks

  • Its been a Great Explanation about How to Fool Google, But Once we Placed on Mapmaker How to Go Google + Page and Do the Phone Verification. Can anybody Explain me in detailed

    Thanks.

  • I absolutely support that. several changes are created to geographer recently, principally for the more severe.

  • I have been trying to have a competitor’s icon removed for ages! He’s camping on our store’s location but only has a website. I can’t get rid of him.

  • I was shocked to learn from this article how naïve Google’s architecture has been when it came to Maps. I will be careful from the next time.

  • Great work Nyagoslav Zhekov ! There are many thing that Google still has to come over with and people like you can help them out a lot. This one rather more embarrassing for them of they will short it out soon.