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Something Wicked this Way Comes

Sinister elements are lurking in Google Maps

If you plan to wade into the waters of Google Maps, watch out for dangerous sharks and pirates. Hijack, hostage, and extortion are the names of this game. Google has yet to sound the alarm and unsuspecting business owners are being cheated and harassed.

As a business owner, it is likely that your business is listed on Google Places and Maps. Cracks in Google Maps have allowed some low-life extortion experts to hijack your listing (by claiming it) and hold it hostage. They then try to 'charge' you to remove the erroneous listing. This is an example, straight from Google Places Help Forum, of a business that fell victim of this criminal behaviour. The business domain was compromised and several listings were already 'claimed by owner', barring any intervention by the legitimate owner. The business was then contacted by a 'marketing expert' who, for a fee, would 'fix' the problem. When rebuffed, the 'expert' threatened the business owner. The detailed story: read it here.

The most important thing you can do for your business is to find and claim your Google Places listing. Only about 10% of businesses have done this; do it and make sure that your information is complete and correct. If you discover that your listing has been hijacked, or you see duplicate (and incorrect) listings, go to Google Places Help Forum. Here's a page on the Help Forum with some insight into hijacked, merged, or duplicated listings - Hijacked, Merged or Duplicated Listings

Google Places and Maps will help you get found online and should be an integral part of your online marketing strategy. Protect your reputation by claiming your listing and taking ownership of it.

Do it right now.

Contact us if you have questions, need assistance, or want to learn more about optimizing your Google listing for greater ranking.