Google Places Local Listings Broken: Bugs and BOTs

We are currently seeing a couple of different things happening to Innkeeper’s Local Places Listings.  Earlier this week we noticed that some Local Places Listings  (Red Balloon listings A,B,C etc.) no longer offered a direct click through link to the business’ Web site, but instead included a link to plus.google.com.

So now instead of going directly to the Inn’s Web site from a Local Places Listing, the surfer ended up on the Inn’s Google + Local Places Page.

And initially we though, OK, so Google is trying something new.

BUT, when you viewed the Google + Local Page, there was absolutely NO WAY for the surfer to contact the Inn or view the Inn’s web site. The clickable URL and Phone Number was missing.

What do you do?

Step 1: Identify if your Local Places Listing has been affected

a) Go to http://www.google.com
b) Search for your Inn
c) Click on PLACES in the left search bar. You may have to click “more” to find the PLACES option.
d) If you see and click your URL and it goes to your web site, all is fine — for now.

But, if you see plus.google.com in place of your URL and your URL and/or Phone # is missing from your Google + Local page you can report your issue on the Google Products forum by clicking hereYou will need to be logged into your Google Business Account to report a problem.

If you need help reporting this to Google, you are welcome to call us at 877-226-7699 or e-mail annie@acorn-is.com and request Consulting Assistance at our normal consulting rates.

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The second issue we are seeing is stemming from Google BOTs that are designed to “CLEAN UP” Local Listings, and record their changes in Google MapMaker.

Google MapMaker is a product that allows both humans and machines to request changes be made to your Local Listing content.

Mike Blumenthal has been a great help in providing documentation on what he has learned about these bothersome BOTs.

“But the product [MapMaker] is buggy and very opaque. One of the more arcane mysteries in MapMaker revolves around the many Google bots that work their way through the listings, often with disastrous results.” Read More

What do you do?

Step 1: Review Google MapMaker edits made to your listing

Note: You MUST be logged into your Business Google Account to see results of the following steps.

a) Go to http://www.google.com/mapmaker
b) Type in your Inn Name and Address
c) Click the Search icon
d) Locate your Listing in the column on the left

Note: If you have multiple listings, they will have to be resolved.

e) Click on the DETAILS Link below the listing
f) Click on the HISTORY Link in Grey Bar at Bottom
g) Review the HISTORY on your listing. If you see BOT changes, you know your listing has been touched by the Google BOTs

Note: Listed below are a few of the Google BOT names you might see. The full list can be found on Mike Blumenthal’s Blog. [Click Here]

  • Google Automated Address Fixer 1
  • Google Automated Bounds Fixer
  • Google Automated Cleaner 2
  • Google Automated Flyover Fixer
  • Google Automated Reconciler 3
  • Google Automated Reconciler 4

If you find changes to your listing from a BOT that you believe to be inaccurate, and your situation is one we can assist with,  you are welcome to call us at 877-226-7699 or e-mail annie@acorn-is.com and let us know.  We are happy to offer Consulting Assistance, at our normal consulting rates, to correct those types of issues.

But please know, that at this time, there is little we can do about Google BOTs changing your Places contents.  We are waiting on information from Google regarding this topic.

Lisa Kolb
Acorn Internet Services, Inc.
President and Co-Founder
Educating our Industry one Client at a Time!

References
Google+ Pages For Local – Known Bugs & Quirks After the G+ Local Merge Read More
MapMaker Bots and What They Do Read More

Post Note: At the time of this Blog Post, The White Oak Manor Bed and Breakfast example in this post has been resolved, so if you check live, you won’t see the plus.google.com, missing URL and Phone Number any longer.

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