• Don Makoviney

    “For Google Local, though, the reconsideration process went away, and communications are insufficient. Account suspensions create additional problems for businesses, and a lack of communications leaves business owners confused and frustrated.”

    You can replace [Google Local] with many other services (like AdWords, AdSense) and the quote above from your article applies to generally ANY of Google’s products. In my experience, their customer support is terrible, vague, dismissive and directly hurts businesses bottom line.

    I would love to continue b*tching about my specific experiences as a [previously] loyal customer and advocate for Google, always keeping my sites above board by faithfully reading their company blogs on tips and best practices and putting those into practice on my (and many of my clients’ sites) but if I’m going to write a novel I want to write about something more interesting.

    Plus, I fear it won’t be until someone comes close to competing with them in any of those spaces until they pull their heads out of their collective algorithms and pretend to give a click about anything other than getting your credit card number so they bill you on a recurring basis.

  • http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/ Linda Buquet

    Thanks for the insightful post Chris. You make so many important points.

    “Is anyone at Google Local / Google Maps / Google Places listening?”

    I sure hope so. I know of many improvements that are in the works, but they can’t come soon enough!

  • DaveKeys

    If you want actual person-to-person support from Google, start a new ad words campaign. Since I run two verticals from my office location, I have local listings for both businesses but until recently the local listing for one business appeared for both queries so that my Real Estate SEO appeared for my side business of real estate photography. I received an unsolicited phone call from Google promoting their new Adwords Express program and I thought I would give it a whirl for the photography just to see how it worked out. I mentioned in passing that I had good local rankings for both businesses but that my SEO website and listing always appeared for my photography business in response to real estate photography queries. The representative said she would look into that to get it fixed and after months of the wrong listing issue, it was resolved literally overnight. The next day my photography listing appeared for the query “real estate photographers.” But, that’s not the end of the story. About a week later, I noticed that the real estate SEO listing had reemerged as the first result for real estate photography queries once again. Conversely, I get a variation of the seven pack for the query, “real estate SEO expert” from virtually anywhere in the country but Google will not give me a local listing for the shorter query, “real estate SEO.” It seems to be on a list of keywords Google eschews for local results – not going to happen anytime soon…

  • http://twitter.com/si1very Chris Silver Smith

    DaveKeys, yours is not the first case I’ve heard of an AdWords advertiser getting attention/intervention from Google engineers. Although, the story usually involves a company that does tends or hundreds of thousands in advertising with Google.
    In any case, the stories happen consistently enough that we should seriously consider advertising as a means of obtaining a backchannel into getting some customer care and intervention in Google!

  • Michael Cottam

    I’d just like to add…….nothing. You nailed it. Well said, Chris!

  • http://pestcontrolseo.wordpress.com/ Thos003

    Folded into webmaster tools?… 1- Businesses aren’t webmasters. 2 – I don’t think anyone at google wants to adopt the ugly step child that has been kicked around from place to place, hotpot to zagat, PO Box to Home, and is now known as Google Places+.

    But I agree. Something needs to be done. ..If only Google cared as much about this product as the business owners and searchers that love it.

  • http://twitter.com/jimboot Jim Stewart

    I would say big business is also hurt by Google+Local. If you have many offices nationwide Google wants you to use a local phone number even though company policy might be to have a single national number. Also I have had accounts taken down because the algorithm detects a flurry of real comments in a short space of time. Totally agree with the merging of dashboard. Google are a bunch of engineers who dont like talking to people and have no idea about customer service. Maybe if these things were linked to our Adwords accounts we’d get some action as they could see our spend :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-N-Fran-Farrell/100002337622505 Jack N Fran Farrell

    Who says Google is liberal. Once a fraud always a fraud. Sounds reactionary to me.

  • http://twitter.com/NiblickAdMan Terry Wall

    Sounds to me like the continuation of the “train wreck” that has been so well documented–and commented about–in many blogs & forums like this, right, @MikeBlumenthal? Phone support my foot!

  • http://twitter.com/Jehochman Jonathan Hochman

    Chris, this piece is very accurate. Google should either shutter or properly support their local listings. Perhaps Yahoo! will come out with a good local service to trounce Google. It’s just a matter of focusing on the problem.

  • http://twitter.com/adityatodawal Aditya Todawal

    Really a great article. Even I want to add my voice to your sentence “Is anyone at Google Local / Google Maps / Google Places listening?!?”

    Google listings of some of my clients have been compromised and we don’y know the exact problem, although we are following all the guidelines. We don’t know what to do exactly. As you mentioned there is no support available for Google places just like GWT. This leaves us with nothing but frustration and confusion.

    I hope we will have a solution for this in future from Google.

  • http://www.SmallBusinessOnlineCoach.com Matthew Hunt

    great idea to have google local in google webmaster tools. this makes the most sense.

  • http://twitter.com/NiblickAdMan Terry Wall

    Yahoo won’t, Jon…I wish SOMEONE would give those guys come “comp!” Marissa has already said she’s directing Yahoo’s efforts towards mobile.

  • http://twitter.com/NiblickAdMan Terry Wall

    Yahoo won’t, Jon…I wish SOMEONE would give those guys some “comp!” Marissa has already said she’s directing Yahoo’s efforts towards mobile

  • GyorgyBolla

    You were lucky! ;-)

    I’m managing the AdWords campaigns of a large entertainment complex in Australia and they also have a lot of Places listings for restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etc, but there are quite a few problems with these listings and we can’t fix them due to the never responsing customer support. A few months ago I mentioned this problem to the AdWords customer support person (in India), but he basically told me that he can’t do anything to fix it. It was very disappointing to hear, because we use Places ad extensions a lot. >:-(

  • daveintheuk

    Supporting things properly “doesn’t scale” – Google prefer to just do everything via automation or algorithms with little regard for the terrible results this has for end users. Another way they nudge ahead of others who do things properly. Good for shareholders.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.woods.1654 Charles Woods

    From my experience, the Google Places troubleshooting tool is sometimes a more responsive method of getting real help than the reconsideration request tool in WMT. In fact, I’ve had meaningful email communication to the tune of 6 responses in an email exchange with a G Places reviewer who paid attention to the problems at hand. That’s far more attention than I’ve ever seen a WMT reconsideration request receive. Either way, they both need to be addressed and represent the epitome of monopolist arrogance IMHO :)

  • http://www.ethicalseoconsulting.com/ Frank Scharnell

    I have had a number of places merged recently and am really taken back but the lack of support that google has given to resolving some of these issues. I understand they now have a support phone number you can call(a recent post from a co-worker on the subject http://bit.ly/WzsVd9http://) but some of the technical issues don’t seem to have a resolution on Google plus local. I have found however that many of the issues are related to duplicate listings and incorrect information in Google map maker. I have had some luck getting this data cleaned up.