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Is Google Really Calling Local Businesses?

You happen to receive a phone call from someone that identifies himself or herself as being a Google representative. Don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s a phone scam. It has been confirmed by Mike Blumenthal (of Google) that these phone calls are an element in Google’s venture to tidy up local business records and information. Certain facets are worth identifying.

I’m confident that everyone can appreciate Google’s attempt to tidy up the issues of spam in Google Places and Maps. The implementation of these phone calls originates from the verification policy which is meant to ensure that all community changes that are made to your business listing are, indeed, accurate. In other words, if someone attempts to edit your listing, Google may call you directly to ensure the accuracy of the changes. This is astonishing that Google is going to such great lengths as to provide business owners with this level of security. This is a good thing, right? Of course, but as with most other things…where good comes, bad will follow.

Once word spreads that Google is making phone calls to businesses, scammers will indeed capitalize on this scenario. As a bad guy scammer, it would be easy to simply pretend that they are calling on behalf of Google and easily obtain data from unsuspicious business owners. This could be really bad.

In fact, Google prohibits their reps of providing call back numbers and contact information to local business owners. Google reps and employees are not required to provide any identification! So much for a sense of trust in the authenticity of phone calls. It’s become common knowledge that certain business entities will never contact you with the purpose of obtaining certain (confidential) information. In fact, online banks provide clear warnings to their clients that as a client, you will never be asked to provide account details via email. PayPal follows the same model. Suspicious emails have become so widespread that business owners have learned to instinctually ignore them.

For years Google has instilled their reputation of remaining a silent body and that nobody will ever directly hear from them. This abrupt shift in Google’s behavior by phoning the public has potential to be a great thing. However, I would insist that Google implement a verification policy of some kind in order for business owners to substantiate the legitimacy of the phone call. Google hasn’t spoken too much about this new activity, but having read this, and in the event that you receive one of these calls from Google, I highly suggest that you take advantage of this extraordinary occasion. Solicit as much information as you can in regards to Google Maps and Google Places.

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One Comment Published

Local Business Marketer / 6 August 2010 / Reply

I welcome this change. Web-savvy companies have been gaming the Local Business Results placements for too long. It’ll be nice to see more relevant results in there for once.

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