Google gamed by small businessesSearch marketing icon Danny Sullivan recently moved back to his native Southern California after 12 years in a small English town. Yeah, we thought he was British, too. Sullivan documented several infuriating problems he hit trying to connect with local businesses through Google. One stands out, because it was caused by a local business with too much Web savvy, rather than not enough.
In 2008, I shouldn’t see local businesses still acting as if the web and search are as far away from them as they thought in 1998. I needed new locks for the house. That sent me to Google to try a search for “locksmith 92663.” The local locksmiths obviously never search like this in a way that their customers might. The results I got back were loaded with “mapspam,” where a single company appears to have registered many fake addresses to crowd out competitors. I had to struggle through Google’s help pages to eventually find the correct instructions. If I’m a small business owner seeing a fake business, I want a prominent link somewhere that says “Report Fake Business!”