By Michael P. Ehline, Esq. -During the past few months, everytime I do an update to my listings in Google Places, Google has apparently been calling my office to verify the edits. The first few times, I assumed it was just telemarketers trying to penetrate my secretary firewall. These calls reportedly were from callers with Indian accidents, who would ask for information, such as a street address or hours. The callers then claim they are from Google, but would refuse provide any call back information. But sure enough, after the third or fourth call, I asked the secretary to check caller ID. Sure enough “Mountain View” aka GOOGLE.
Emergency Don’t Hang Up On People With Indian Accents
Since Google has historically never made such phone calls, except to try and see if your really a business, we figured this must have been some scam. But no this is real. This was verified today on Mike Blumenthal’s blog. So if you want to edit your Places listings, you had better be ready to face being banned from Places, unless you or your agent take that call, and regurgitate the information they are requesting correctly.
Google Says They Are Calling as Google Employees
Mike Blumenthal verifies that in May, Google made an attempt to clean up business listing quality. They announced the edits would require verification, prior to being integrated in the listing results. It appears that this was done, using “consumer calls”, in some instances looking for location information, as a part of this program. Google confirmed they have been calling businesses, as an additional level of verification to confirm the business name and address.
Google has stated they make phone calls in some cases to verify business information, to confirm the business name and address, but will never make unsolicited phone calls asking for the person to supply specific account information, passwords or any other type of sensitive information on the telephone. The search engine company said that the person calling will identify themselves and that they are calling with Google Maps. And that is what happens to us everyday with about 10 calls.
Spammers Know This!
Spammers know the easiest way to get a business owner on the phone is to say they are part of the “Google Partner Program”, or they work with or for Google. All a scam and a lie! So now, business owners will be forced to take each and every call, despite the fact that most of these calls are complete and utter garbage calling you on your dime and time, to try and sell you SEO services.
If you don’t take the call, or your secretary is unaware of the changes, or edits, this could spell doom for your listings. For example, lets say you changed your hours and you forgot to tell your secretary, or she forgot, or is new, etc. If she/he doesn’t provide the magic response, be prepared for a suspension. We can understand that Google wants to verify information, but this is unusual. Would it not be better/cheaper to have them e-mail you a PIN, or a postcard? On our end, it keeps us from having to take at least 50 tele-marketer calls a week. Why do you think they are doing this? Is there another reason besides the official one? Sound off.
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