A sketchy follow is turning into extra commonplace on Google Maps involving corporations hijacking reliable enterprise listings to be able to make you suppose that you simply’re contacting the precise enterprise. The Wall Road Journal introduced this follow to gentle in a brand new report, and the paper estimates there are about 11 million “falsely listed companies” on any given day on Google Maps.
That is particularly unlucky as a result of it comes at a time when Google is making an attempt to show its proprietary maps software into a strong multi-featured service that, along with serving to you navigate, may also function a type of Facebook-lite software for companies. These companies can create Facebook-style “pages” throughout the app that customers can “observe” and use to see a wealthy quantity of element, reminiscent of hours of operation, images, deal with and telephone quantity and buyer opinions.
Much more vital, from Google’s perspective, is that it desires to start out making more cash from the app. It’s began slotting extra adverts into the app, so, naturally, it desires as many individuals as doable utilizing the app — one thing that having hundreds of thousands of false listings isn’t precisely conducive to.
Google apparently tries to stamp out such false listings by calling or mailing a postcard to companies to test in the event that they’re reliable, however this isn’t too troublesome to get round. Many of the listings involving companies that aren’t the place they are saying they’re, in keeping with the Journal, are for issues like repairmen and automotive towing companies. Google even has a reputation for these — “duress verticals.” That’s as a result of prospects have a tendency to make use of them in an emergency after they don’t have the time to test on legitimacy.
For sure, there are penalties to all of this that may be downright scary. The newspaper’s report consists of the instance of a retired federal worker who used Google Maps to discover a restore service to assist repair her caught storage door.
The girl referred to as what she thought was a reliable enterprise. The person who arrived, nevertheless, wasn’t the corporate contractor he claimed to be. Per the Journal, he labored on the storage door and charged her almost $730 — virtually twice as a lot as she’d been charged beforehand for the same restore. He demanded money or a test, however she refused and shortly started to get scared. He finally got here again a number of instances to her dwelling demanding fee.
“I’m at my home on my own with this man,” she instructed the Journal. “He might have knocked me over useless.”