Sep 072011

Update September 15:

Mike Blumenthal that Google fixed the problem with the “closed” issue. Here is the official statement of the G team:

As promised, we’ve recently made a change to our process of displaying when a business has been reported to be closed on its place page. More specifically, we have removed the interim notification about a report having been made so that a listing will only be updated after it has been reviewed by Google and we believe the change to be accurate. (from 9/14/11 at 6:26pm)

It took exactly 10 days since the NY Times article issuing, while previously there was no response to the problem for more than 2 months.

I recently posted an article listing some ways to get support for problems with Google Places. Although these are the best ideas I’ve come up with and they work most of the times when implemented patiently and rigorously, they require a lot of time and effort to lead to final success. Fortunately, a faster option seems to exist. The only thing you have to do is… get the New York Times pick the story!

The drama began around end of June when reports for businesses being marked as closed on Google Places started flooding the Google Places Help Forum. However, the not-so-loud cries of the small business owners were not heard until one of Mike Blumenthal’s clients – Barbara Oliver & Co Jewelry, got cyber-attacked by a competitor. Mike responded indirectly by targeting the main villain of the story – Google. He “closed” the G’s headquarters, and it took way too little effort to do that.

A few days later Google started sending notification emails to the verified business owner when their listing was being marked as closed, which meant that Mike’s nagging had positive effect.

Unfortunately the cases of malicious reporting didn’t stop, and it was not until the New York Times entered the game, when Google decided to publicly clarify the situation and promised to fix the problem:

…since then, we’ve been working on improvements to the system to prevent any malicious or incorrect labeling. These improvements will be implemented in the coming days

So what does it take for Google to fix problems on Places promptly? I hope this simple graphic answers the question:

How to Get Faster Support on Google Places Problems

Click to view more clearly

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