Google opens complaint form to crack down on fake info in Maps
Will this reduce the issues with fraud and spam in the Google My Business listings? We'll see.
Marissa Nordahl, a Google My Business Community Manager announced that Google launched a new form named the Business Redressal Complaint Form that will allow searchers and users to “report fraudulent activity relating to businesses Google Maps,” she said.
The form is designed to help Google tackle some of the serious issues around bad and fraudulent information on Google Maps. Google said you should use the form if “you come across misleading information or fraudulent activity on Google Maps related to the name, phone number, or URL of a business, you may use this form to submit a complaint.”
The form. It can be accessed over here and asks specifically for name, email, entity impacted, type of content impacted, public URL, screenshot, and then a description box to explain the issue. Here is a screenshot of the form in its current state (click to enlarge it):
More details. Joy Hawkins, a contributor here, was able to get more details from Google on this form. She wrote in her Local Search Forums:
- Do I get a response when the report was processed? You’ll get a generic response but it will be just like social support where they tell you that since it’s not a business you manage, you won’t get an update on what happened. For this reason, I suggest setting a reminder for yourself to just check back in a few weeks.
- What if I want to report tons of locations at once? There is a spreadsheet upload option on the form – use this option.
- What if I don’t want to tell Google the business it’s impacting? Lots of business owners are reluctant to report spam because they don’t want their competitors knowing they were the ones to report it. The safest bet here is just to put NA in those fields.
- Can I use this form to report fake reviews? Not currently. You should send these requests to Google’s social support. You can tweet to them at @googlemybiz or message them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GoogleMyBusiness/. Usually they respond in 1-5 business days.
Why it matters. Google has had a history of issues with spam and worse within their Google Maps and local results. We see case after case where people, competitors, bad actors, etc are changing the local data of business to hurt them. They would mark the business as closed, change their hours, change photos or descriptions or worse. Hopefully this new form will help reduce this going forward.
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