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Mike Blumenthal shows why it is important to claim your business. It important that this is being brought to the attention to Small Business Owners like Eric Stein said on SMX East on monday
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from earlpearl 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 2

The astonishing thing is that Google has established the framework for significant levels of business theft.  It absolutely needs to police and shut this down ASAP.Before Google, and before Google Maps, and before Google became the dominant search engine, and predominant source of information on local businesses this process didn’t exist.Now it is relatively easy to do, most businesses won’t know how to "claim their local business listing, and the field is wide open for growing numbers of similar thefts.But it only happens on a grand scale within the framework established by Google.  On an aggregate basis, until this gets better policed, Google will be one of the largest aggregate "abetters" of theft.Its outrageous. 

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from MiriamEllis 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Hey Dave!Yesterday, I spoke with a small business owner who thought that the way to get to a website was to type a URL into Google’s search box. I was trying to get her to look at an unindexed page and, obviously, she couldn’t find it using Google. When I finally realized what she was doing, it took me several minutes to get her to see the browser bar up top. This lady was by no means unintelligent...just unfamiliar with the web. If I was not here to help her, what are the chances she would have any idea the LBC exists or that Google has likely indexed her business information, or that she needs to claim that information, or how to claim it?Mike has done an excellent job showing the consequences of Google’s business plan + the average SE savvy of unaided small business owners. In the past year I have literally had 2 - only 2 - clients who knew what Maps was and 1 who knew what the 10-pack is. It’s no crime not to know that Google has made a business model of indexing local business information, but it’s horrible that businesses can become the victims of crime because of that lack of awareness.Cheers for Mike for watchdogging this, and I hope more and more SMB owners will become aware of his blog.Miriam

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from planetc1 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Last month I received a postcard from the business center regarding change of information to my local listing. My jaw dropped when I saw the change was initiated by a directory company that’s been shadowing my online activities for months. I wonder how many unknowing businesses have lost their listings to low lifes engaged in these activities.

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from mbeijk 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@planetc1 you must have been one of the first people to receive such an email. I know this feature was enabled some time ago, i blogged about it when it happened but Maps Guide Jen said that they didnt send out any emails just yet. I’m quite curious about the content!

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from MiriamEllis 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Planetc1,Any chance you hung onto that postcard? Like Martijn, I would really like to know what it said.Miriam

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from CathyR 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 0

First - another big ’thanks’ to Mike for getting the word out on just how important it is for local businesses to claim their listings. Within the webmaster community, I know it may be difficult for some to understand that many small businesses believe their ’community edits’ are the same as claiming their listings - but it’s probably more the norm than the exception. Mike - Your analogy about the PO Box hijacks is dead on. And unfortunalty, the affiliate resellers who benefited from these thefts have given a collective shrug to the B&M stores whose identities were stolen.   I’m still trying to wrap my head around how the current UGC features (community edits, reviews) are pushed ’live’ while bonafide claimings of listings and LBC updates can take weeks or months to show up.  In addition to the hijacks, a phony ’user’ can create an identity and instantly damage a company’s reputation - with zero recourse or response from the victim local business owners. At some point, hopefully Google will grant levels of trust to users to prevent drive-by hijackings and reputation damaging shills. Thankfully, many of the local florists have been able to get their listings reverted, but the team who performed the hijacks actually went back and did further sabotage, making the discovery of some of their victims even more difficult.  Some local florists are still far from being recovered.  On one hand Local/Maps has given a tremendous boost to real local B&M businesses, but episodes like this remind us there’s still a lot of work, both on Google’s and local businesses’ sides. 

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from mblumenthal 2208 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Miriam (or perhaps her Mother) was the source for the Post Office analogy. I plagiarized from her.Your user link is of interest. I am not sure if you saw this question that I submitted to Greg Sterling in the interview with Eric Stein:Q:: What would you say to the many florists whose listings were hijacked in mid September by affiliate mapspamers?Google:: We won’t always be ahead of the spammers - that’s a tough race to run. But we wil be increasingly effective at putting an end to situations like the one you mentioned as soon as they pop up. And we don’t just blacklist the bad guys - we put systems in place to block the next guy who tries to do what the last guy did, so we’re making it increasingly hard for spammers to hurt the legitimate business owners. Mike

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from mbeijk 2207 Days ago #
Votes: 0

that is in line with what  you said about their reactiveness instead of being pro-active fighting spam.

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from johnandrews 2207 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is a double-edged sword. Local small businesses may be advised to claim their Google local listing, but does that carry over to their MerchantCircle listing (for example)? There are many directories and listing companies that apparently seek to hijack local listings, in order to upsell the local SMB to paid management services. By claiming listings and entering/correcting details, you may be authorizing the directory to rank on your name and control your reputation. Local small businesses are NOT advised to claim their listings in these sites.How does the local SMB owner know the difference?

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from mbeijk 2207 Days ago #
Votes: 0

@johnandrews by smart SEM people telling them...? :)

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from traderruss 2136 Days ago #
Votes: 0

This is a fascinating topic for me and I guess describes how old companies get displaced by new technologies. Running a successful business requires constant evolution and adaptation by the business owner. Its a fact of life that nothing stands still whether we like it or not. Of course there are many local search properties like our own click2connect.com that also exacerbate this issue for a business owner. Time for them to take charge of their online identity I guess :)

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