According to Google Maps, fake business listings and phone numbers are redirected to competing businesses. Wall Street Journal report Hundreds of thousands of fake ads appear on Google Maps every month. Newspaper The service estimate currently counts around 11 million companies falsely listed.
Although Google says in a self-financed 2017 academic study only 0.5% of local searches are false lists, a separate survey of Newspaper otherwise suggested. Looking for plumbers in New York, the Newspaper The top 13 most frequent Google search results are fake addresses, and only two are true companies that follow Google's guidelines, which state that bedbug listings must be open to customers.
The majority of businesses that are not on the listed sites and are most exposed to these scams include contractors, repairers and car towing services. Google designates them internally under the name of "vertical constraints" because they are companies to turn to in case of emergency and usually have little time to check the credibility of the company. The study was also diluted by the inclusion of restaurants and hotels, which are almost always in the listed places.
Although Google generally checks whether a business is legitimate by sending a mail to a postcard, a call or by sending a numeric code to enter the Google website, the system is easy enough to avoid for fraudsters who use fake addresses and phone numbers. This gap hurts businesses and customers, while fraudsters and Google benefit. The company took the false lists discovered by the Newspaper, and a Google spokesman told the newspaper that the company had added new defenses for high-risk business categories.
In a rather ironic timing, Google announced today this gives business owners more options to customize their company's search profiles and Google Maps through its My Business feature. Companies can offer discounts to visitors for the first time, claim shorter URLs, and set cover photos to attract more customers. Google is trying to turn Google Maps into a stronger competitor of Yelp, but if it wants to take over real business, it seems that it should first fix its false SEO problem. In a blog postGoogle says it is working on new ways to report suspicious business profiles and has prompted users to report any fraudulent activity on its site. Business Repair Complaint Form.