Google Maps Merging Competing Business's Local Information

Apr 29, 2009 • 8:30 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics
 

I found a very disturbing Google Maps issue via Google Maps Help forums. Mike Blumenthal has uncovered that Google is merging competing businesses that have nearby addresses. Let me say that again, but show you an example, that was uncovered by Mike.

Here are the results for two different hotels/motels in the same area, but that have different addresses. The map result for South Pier Inn displays the correct information, but their competitor, The Inn on Lake Superior is somehow merged into this record, showing the South Pier Inn's information and web address, while not showing the Inn on Lake Superior's information. They did however, merge both hotel's phone numbers. Here is a picture:

google maps merge

Googler, Nina, responded in the Google Maps Help thread saying:

Yes, the algorithm for merging changed recently. The developers who work on this have been alerted and are actively working to address this problem. They are also reading this thread.

The fix needs to be automatic - not manual. These things usually take several weeks to test and bring live. We know it's causing user pain and I know they are working really hard on it right now as we speak.

Clearly Google knows how big of an issue this is and I hope it gets fixed soon.

Mike Blumenthal has posted more information on this topic at his blog.

Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.

Update: Marty at aimClear blog wrote about this on the 21st.

Previous story: Google Tests Location-Aware Toolbar
 

Comments:

Todd Mintz

04/29/2009 01:16 pm

I think Marty broke this...he should get some link credit too: http://www.aimclearblog.com/2009/04/21/does-google-suck/

Barry Schwartz

04/29/2009 01:23 pm

Wow, missed that. Updated post. Thanks.

Scott Thomas

04/29/2009 06:10 pm

Thanks for posting this information. We recently discovered that our B&B had been merged with our local B&B Association's info in the same way. If you searched for bed and breakfast our town, only the association showed up - we were nowhere to be found. But the phone, address and reviews all were from us. Per advice from an SEO friend, we changed the association info to ours, then requested reconsideration via webmaster tools. It is correct now, so we will be removing the unfortunate duplicate local entry.

Scott Thomas

06/08/2009 11:49 am

I had a merged listing problem, but it has now mushroomed into a delisting (details at http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/maps/thread?tid=2a5577cf030b8563&hl=en). Since I manage both merged domains, an SEO recommended changing the merged one (less important domain) to the primary one. That was fine, but when I took the next step she recommended, deleting the duplicate, my listing vanished from local listings. When I re-enabled it, all my listings disappeared from the SERPs as well. Since I doubt the Gov't will bail me out, if Google doesn't fix this fast, we'll be in bankruptcy.

Chris

03/13/2010 04:19 pm

If anyone is listening at Google Maps, it’s March 2010, almost a year on from the initial news of these problems and it's still causing trouble. - I have several businesses registered at different street addresses - These separate businesses have separate websites - Diverse contact emails pertain to each business - I had separate Google Maps accounts made for each business/site/etc - My name seems to be the only common denominator on these sites/listings But still all my diverse business information is a pot luck of whatever Google thinks it should tell visitors. To boot, it says that this information has been verified by the business owner. My different businesses all attract distinctly different markets, but now a specific search will provide potential clients with totally inaccurate information, irrelevant info, photos, videos, etc. It's really a nightmare for all my niche markets. It’s like searching for plumbers, clicking the link that reads ‘locksmiths’ and getting sent to a bakery website. Google team: please sort this out. There must be human control that is allowed if humans are the ones who make the profiles in the first place.

John

08/29/2010 06:11 am

One of my clients have been experiencing the same problem. Their business name (Thai Massage Centre) and photos are sometimes their address is showing us but the url & phone number is for a Mobile Massage business?? Why is this not being fixed - it is obviously detrimental to their business?

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