I have to assume most of you by now heard about the huge mess going on with Google Maps business listing in the hotel sector? Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, with the team, wrote up an awesome story explaining the how Thousands Of Hotel Listings Were Hijacked In Google+ Local.
I can tell you this story was in the work for a few days and Danny broke it just the other day. It is honestly shocking how something like this can happen to huge hotel chains. It is even more shocking how Google tries to sweep it under the rug. Yea, I know Google Maps is plagued with issues, especially on the Google Places business listing side. But this is a huge mess.
In short, some how, spammers hijacked listings of hotel chains across the world, replacing the hotel's URL with a URL to book the listing on their own affiliate site. This likely ended up costing the hotels a tremendous amount in affiliate fees, which I wouldn't blame them if they didn't pay and end up suing the affiliate that did this.
Here is an example showing one listing with a hijacked URL:
Google barely said anything but now they have their community manager, Jade Wang, respond in a Google Business Help thread that no one really looks at. She wrote:
Spam issue for some hotels in Places for Business:
We've identified a spam issue in Places for Business that is impacting a limited number of business listings in the hotel vertical. The issue is limited to changing the URLs for the business. The team is working to fix the problem as soon as possible and prevent it from happening again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
At least they apologized for "any inconvenience" it may have caused "some hotels."
It is just amazing how bad Google Maps for business is and how many hacks and issues are within it.