Bad Directions: Google Maps Sends Local Listing Reports To Wrong Business Owners

Starting last night, Google began sending out the monthly (or so) Google Local Business Center updates. The updates go out via email and contain analytical information about how many times a listing was viewed, clicked on, and other miscellaneous analytics. The analytics are a summary of what they would see in their Google LBC analytics dashboard.

But instead of these emails going to their actual business owners, they went to the wrong business owners. I for one received an email for a business that is over 1,500 miles away from my location. I posted a picture of the email at the bottom of this article.

There are plenty of reports of this Google Maps blunder. David Dalka received a similar one about 30 minutes after I received mine. Mike Blumenthal also received one, so did Danya Henninger and others, as I reported at the Search Engine Roundtable.

This seems like a pretty big blunder, but the statistics are really limited and I would not equate this with the AOL data leak.

Here is a picture of the email I received:

Google Local Business Center Mess Up

Postscript: Google sent me a statement, it reads as follows:

As you’re aware, we send a monthly newsletter to our Local Business Center users, featuring product news and a glimpse at the Dashboard statistics which show the traffic Google properties drive to their listing. Shortly after sending the newsletter to a small portion of our users last night, we discovered that some emails included incorrect business listing information. We promptly stopped sending any further emails and investigated the cause, which we found to be a human error while pulling together the newsletter content. We’d like to sincerely apologize to all the business owners impacted and assure all our users that we’re working hard to ensure that nothing similar will happen again.

Postscript #2: Google sent an automated apology to me and others who received these emails. Here is a picture of that email:

Google Maps Apology

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Top News

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.salesjumpstart.net My One Call

    I had the same experience. I think it may be a broader problem, as we tried to verify several businesses by phone this morning, and got a message saying Google could not connect based on a bad number when in fact the call went through the code was delivered, but was not accepted when we tried to verify it in the local business center account.

    Also, several clients Local Center accounts are showing “no Data” when we click view
    report. Hmmm .

    Several other off Local problems lately…. anyone else seeing these type issues?

  • http://www.seoword.com seoword

    We got the same emails. Business Center information for local businesses we’ve never heard of. We got one bogus update for each account.

    Later today we received the same apology email with Business Center information for some of the companies we did register. Not sure why they don’t send that information for all the companies in the account.

    All of our accounts are showing data in the Local Center Dashboard.

  • http://www.jessekanclerz.com/blog jessekanclerz

    I also received the bad number error when attempting to verify a client account today. I thought it was problem with the number but after reading My One Call’s comment I’m starting to think otherwise.

  • melihoztalay

    Hello,

    This is a good reason why the local business and the small business cannot rely on one local business listing website. There are many other local listing websites out there and consumers are posting reviews at multiple locations.

    Google has it’s own local business listings and allows consumers to post reviews. So does, Yahoo, Bing, City Search/Ask, Yellow Pages, Yellowbook, Local.com and the list goes on. Although, all of these local listing type websites will be seeking out the consumer to visit their website and post a review about a local or small business, I think the local and small business will become overwhelmed trying to monitor all of these websites.

    As you can imagine a solution already exists for the local and small business. At KillerStartUps a company was recently reviewed providing Local Business Listing Management servers for local and small businesses. You can read up on KillerStartUps perspective of this at:

    http://www.killerstartups.com/Search/smartfindslocallisting-com-be-found-online

    Although, this will be a time consuming effort for the local and small business to manage their local business listing at multiple websites, this is the first time that the Internet is actually helping the local and small business. Hopefully, this business group can be early adopters for a change and embrace the technology so they can benefit sooner rather than later.

    Great discussion here. Thanks.

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