Millions of business listings on Google Maps are fake

Andrew Cummings
June 23, 2019

In a couple of months from now, customers will be able to search Google Maps by the short names chosen by businesses. Google says that photos uploaded by a business will appear instantly and prominently on a new dynamic module on the Profile. Moreover, starting today, businesses will be allowed to reward customers who follow their business on Google Maps with welcome offers, including discounts and other rewards. These fake listings on the Google Maps serve as a nightmare for the real businesses; whereas, the Google and scammers happily enjoy the profits.

Now, business owners will be able to customize the cover photo you see at the top of the profile. Those businesses will receive a "Local Favorite" designation to identify them, along with a digital and physical badge of honor.

"Despite implementing strict policies and tools that enable people to flag these issues so we can take action", Google admits "it's a constant balancing act and we're continually working on new and better ways to fight these scams using a variety of ever-evolving manual and automated systems". Google also wants to recognise the businesses that consistently deliver a great experience for people. Businesses that have completed information in their profile such as phone number, hours and other important core information will have their logo displayed at the top right-hand side of their profile.

Google doesn't disclose what percentage of businesses that could create their profile through My Business have done so.

Google says that it took down over three million fake business profiles previous year and disabled over 150,000 user accounts that were fund to be abusive, but they acknowledge there's still a lot of work to be done. Businesses can now add photo captions to provide consumers with additional context.

A website will offer businesses the ability to download and order custom assets for their place of business such as stickers to help promote bookings on the profile, adding reviews, and customer following.

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