More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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A huge number of SMB listings have been deleted by Google for violating the "Hide your Address Rule."
This rule pertains to outbound service area businesses, like plumbers, primarily those with home offices.

See my March announcement: New Guidelines - Hide your Address or Risk Losing your Place Page

Months later Google has been unable to bring many of the listings back

I pushed Google again last week for an update due to a new situation that came to light. I also informed Google I was working on a big story and requested an official statement. (SEE UPDATE - LAST QUOTE)

But 1st I wanted to share the story of ONE of the many small business listings Google removed in error.
A RETAIL FLORIST - with a walk-in location, in one of largest office buildings in downtown San Francisco.
Does this look like a residential location to you???

Rossi & Rovetti Flowers' Google local listing has been down since JUNE and is still down.
Many other small business listings have been down even longer.
See Jason's post from June 5th.

Businesses have been getting the "sorry, glitch - we're working on it" support emails FOR MONTHS and are still down MONTHS LATER. This has dragged on far too long. Below is a collection of Google support emails regarding the problem, so you can see how the replies have evolved over time.

Chronicling the "Do Not Support Location" Email Chain

June 13 Google Support email to Jason

Thanks for your patience in waiting for an update on your Google Maps listing. If you're still receiving the "We currently do not support the location" error message, then your listing was affected by a technical issue and there are a couple of things you can do to help restore it to Google Maps.

First, review our quality guidelines: Google Places quality guidelines - Places for business Help

If your location doesn't meet these guidelines, it may have been removed from Maps. Especially check out this article about service-area businesses, and hiding your address in case your business is at a residential location: Service areas - Places for business Help

Please remove your listing from your Google Places dashboard by clicking "Delete" then "Remove my listing from my Google Places account," then recreate the listing. You will need to undergo PIN verification again if that was your original verification process, but doing so may cause your listing to surface cleanly on Maps once you input your new PIN.

Thanks for your patience and understanding with this process, and we hope to continue to improve your experience in Google Local and on Google Maps.

OK so problem #1, he has a store-front so was not in violation. #2 telling businesses to delete and start over when this was Google's mistake was bad advice PLUS I don't know of anyone that has successfully deleted and started over, including Jason.

My reply July 15. "At one point support was saying to delete and start over. But I and some other TCs screamed loud and hard that that was NOT a good solution for MANY reasons and Google just needs to fix this and MAKE IT RIGHT! So Google says they have put resources into trying to fix it instead... So deleting and starting over is no longer advised. Wait for a fix is the latest advice. "

You can read lots of other complaints and replies in that thread, but I wanted to fast forward.

October 3rd Brockton from EZLocal added a series of support emails he's been getting over time. I emailed him to ask for more details and timelines on these. At the link you can read Brockon's original post at the Google forum. BELOW I'm stripping it down and adding in the dates he gave me.

Brockon's List of Google Support Emails

NOTE: FOR BREVITY, removed all the "Thanks for your patience" niceties from Google support emails to strip down to the important details. Please click links if you want to read full emails.

JUNE 6 - Thanks for your getting in touch with us about your listing not displaying on Google Maps. We have identified the cause of your listing not showing and are working on establishing a pathway to revive dropped listings which meet our quality guidelines.

We don't have a timeline which we can give for this, but your submission helps us keep track of this problem and we will be reviewing your listing once the fix is fully established.

JULY 9 - The error has to do with a technical issue within our backend that we are currently pursuing a resolution to. As of right now we are still working on establishing a pathway to revive dropped listings that meet our quality guidelines. During this time, we ask you to wait and not delete/recreate your listing.

JULY 12 - I just want to update you that your dropped listing along with others are within our internal queue. Currently we are re-reviewing dropped listings to be re-instated within Google Maps.

Unfortunately, I do not have an ETA of when your listing will be up but we are currently in the re-reviewing process. We ask again at this time to be patient while the process is being undergone.
Thank you again for your understanding.

AUGUST 8 - We've tried recreating listings in the past and we found them to become affected by the same technical issue. Please hang tight as our engineers work out this issue, this is on our high priority right now and we hope to reinstate your business listing soon.

We have no doubt that your business is legitimate and abides to our quality guidelines. We are currently doing the best we can to reinstate your business listing and have it display on Google Maps accordingly, however, due to the complexity of this technical issue, we have been unable to fix this in a timely manner.

As we understand the impact this can have for your business, our engineers are trying to find a solution this and have been fully devoted to this issue. We hope to have your listing live soon.

OCT 4 - We are working with our Engineering teams to establish a pathway to revive your listing. Your submission helps us keep track of this problem and we will be reviewing your listing. I'll also be following up with you once your listing is reviewed.

I have tons of other related support emails and complaint threads, but above is a good cross section.

As I said, went to Google again last week for answers. What prompted my latest push was seeing a post in the Google forum from Justin Sous, who had client listings taken down even though addresses were hidden 2 months previously. Why is Google calling my clients even when I'm hiding their address?

Justin after meeting Joel Headley from Google in person at SMX was able to get Joel to re-instate some listings that should not have been taken down. I basically said to Google: "If Joel can revive those listings, why can't support revive all the other listings that have been down for months? "

In response to my request for an official statement from Google, Jade agreed to update the "do not support location" announcement at the Google and your Business Forum. NEW UPDATE BELOW.

Sevice Area Business with recent "do not support this location" message?

Here's the state of these listings now (October 8):

Sevice-area businesses who are experiencing the "We currently do not support this location" message should --

1.) Check to make sure you comply with the quality guidelines, particularly hiding your address, if appropriate.

2.) Once you're sure you comply, contact the support team (select the last option).

3.) If possible, the team will reinstate listings that are OK.

4.) Sometimes, the support team cannot reinstate a listing, even if it's OK. These listings cannot be brought back because of an issue that we're still working on fixing. The support team will send an email back saying the listing is down due to a technical glitch. When we have an update, we will follow up with all of the people who got the message about the technical glitch.

What's the status of listings in #4?
For listings in #4, there isn't much course of action other than waiting. Please know that our team's doing everything we can to get them reinstated when possible.

{Previous Message from 6/29 was...}

Good news -- we?ve been able to bring back some of the listings that incorrectly had the ?We currently do not support this location? error. Many previously deleted service area businesses that had their addresses correctly hidden a few weeks ago are back.

If your listing?s not back yet, please know that we are still working on it. In the meantime, please review the quality guidelines and this article on service area businesses. Make sure your listing complies.


So in a nutshell, there are 2 types of listings that were taken down. One type Google is having success reviving and they tell me they've re-instated many of these listings. But if your listing falls into the other bucket, the ones Jade mentions in #4 - these are listings that Google is having a difficult time reinstating. Still no ETA on restoring those listings.

If your listing is down, your only option is to execute #1 and #2 above, if you have not already. With luck your listing is in the 1st bucket, the type they are able to revive. If not, then the advice once again is, you need to continue to wait for a fix.

Sorry, I was hoping for more news or better news, but that's where we stand right now.
Sorry this is so long. I've been working on this story for days and kept revising and cutting back. But there is so much more to this story and it was just hard to pare it down. Hopefully if you or your clients were affected you can scan to find information that's helpful.

Sorry I don't have a magic wand to make this issue go away. Hopefully continuing pressure will make resolving this issue a top priority for Google.
This type of situation must be just beyond frustrating for these businesses.

The thing that really grinds my gears the most is the inconsistency of it all. What makes it ok for one company in an office building to show their address and another company in the same office building have to hide theirs? I can't make any sense of it.
This is frustrating for me because I have clients who are in this position currently. Granted, there were some who signed on with my company which violated guidelines and wanted me to fix them (another company's screw ups), but many have followed the rules and been brought into the "we do not support this location" glitch.

So basically the recourse is to wait till Google fixes this "technical issue"? I have gone through and submitted a support ticket for all the clients currently damaged by this, yet I've rarely seen positive progress.
All the Google responses are is just code for, we actually lost all that data in our databases and we don't have the intestinal fortitude to admit it. :mad:

I was born at night Google, but not LAST night!
As Jason the Florist (I like that name) mentioned here - Linda did an OUTSTANDING job chronicling the issue. Here's the latest email from Google, just received:


Thanks for getting in touch with us. We understand your listing may not be appearing on Google. We're currently working with our engineering team to help us restore removed listings which meet our quality guidelines. Please know that we'll follow up with you within a week to give you an update on our progress.

We appreciate your continued patience.

Derek W.
The Google Local Team

Thank you, Derek W. @ Google. Whatever we can do to help, we will do. We'll re-verify whatever we have to as many times as needed.

Excellent piece of journalism, here Linda. With yourself, M. Blumenthal, and others, Google actually has a tremendous asset in helping us ("Small Business Joe") raise a voice when there's a problem that affects our business, livelihood, anxiety, etc.

To Google: this is deeply hard to take. Please help fix this as soon as you can. We realize that the path could always be Adwords to get listings somewhere, but as the search engine giant we hope you help us, the small business owner, keep our potential up. Especially since what's been now categorized in our category aren't even florists ('Conservatory of Flowers' is a museum in San Francisco, which isn't helpful to the searcher when that comes up on the long tail of 'florist san francisco').

We've since reduced staff to the lowest level since 2003 to try and get through the time that we're nowhere to be found on Google, even though we've been in business since 1900. :-(

Thanks again everyone and Linda: great work,

Rossi & Rovetti Flowers
San Francisco Florist Since 1900
555 California Street
San Francisco, Ca 94104
Rossi & Rovetti Flowers
Thanks for posting Jason!

Sad to hear how much this business challenge has affected you personally. Really sorry you are having to go through this!

I think you told me that support email above was just from yesterday, right? If so, at least it sounds like they could possibly be making progress since they are now promising a specific follow-up time.

Hope that's the case and they get your listing back up soon!
(And as many others as possible as well!)
Mammoth, comprehensive post on this very frustrating issue, Linda. Amazing!

Jason, please let me join Linda in expressing regret at the way this has harmed your business.

I've always said, when Google jumped into Local, they stopped dealing in concepts and started affecting the lives of real businesses. Their willingness to treat real businesses in a beta fashion has never been satisfactory. Situations like this one prove that, for all time.
What's off for us is that Google Local support (through email) committed that a pathway would exist by the end of the week in early October (October 8). However, no email has been sent out and they've ignored me when I've re-asked the question in the forum..

Ick. I wish they could at least give an ETA or some visibility, it'd help to know if there's an end in sight or ... ??
I feel for you Jason. It would be nice to get an update or answer. Some of us have pushed for this to be resolved numerous times and have pushed for updates. I was hoping this last push would help but we are still stuck! :mad:

I'm sorry - wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all better.

Forbes contacted me and wanted to run this story. Maybe some big media attention will help.
I'll get back with my contact there and see if he has the story in the works.
Yes! Make Forbes run the story.

Linda, I have heard nothing either so I feel the end is not in sight any time either.
Yes! Make Forbes run the story.

He just replied. Was waiting to try to get a reply from Google PR.

If he does not run the story I'll contact editors at NY Times and Infoworld who have published Google stories I've given them in the past. See if either of them will pick up this story. This problem has just gone on far too long!
Did someone say tenacious? Great job on this Linda. So if The NY Times or Infoworld run the story I guess we'll know what the pathway is from now on.
It just seems to me that as in the example of Joel Headley moving mountains (doubtful) most companies with egg on their face do whatever it takes to stop the bleeding. Granted some do it after the fact but most if not all are not as stubborn as Google.
Do you want a nice shiny new page Jason, with all the bells and whistles? What they should have said months ago. And while I'm now rolling I'll add or ask; is Google saying that spectacular Mars landing we recently witnessed is easy but fixing the missing page is harder? Excuse me while I go to the workshop and split an atom or two.
Hey Linda,

For businesses that are getting calls from Google asking to verify if they do business at the address that get pulled from the index right after (because they told the employee that they did not do face-to-face business), what are you finding is the turn-around-time if they fix the issue and hide their address?

So if I run into a business who got pulled from the index yesterday and they comply and fix the issue (hide their address) and they submit a troubleshooter email to Google after doing that, how long do you think it will be before they have any presence on Google?

I'm guessing that businesses who get pulled from Google after receiving a phone call are in a different category than this group of businesses affected by the "technical error" when the rule first changed.
Joy, I'm not sure.

As you know we see a ton of posts about this at the Google forum. But I seldom see ANYONE come back and say YAY submitted troubleshooter 2 weeks ago or even 2 months ago and now I'm back up again. All I see is complaints.

So not sure if people are being re-instated but don't bother to report back their issue got resolved or if no one is being re-instated.

I JUST DISCOVERED something new on this front. It's not quite finished yet and I doubt Google wanted me to find it and start telling folks about it. BUT I think I'll probably share it Mon or Tues. Just found it and took screen shots today.
Ooh!! Can you post back on this thread when you write about it? You have peaked my interest ;)
Sure thing Joy, am working on the post soon. Hopefully in a couple hours if other bigger stories don't get in my way.
i miss the big yellow book. i had to let my only employee go,sell one of my boats and google still wont listing was reviewed,reverified,and reinstated.that lasted one day.(the listing has been verified for 4 years)i ranked im forced to run adwords.
florida keys boat rentals
951 caroline st key west

Do you know why?
My quick analysis suggests it's linked to the fact that you appear to be located in a marina, where there are several different businesses located at your address, including Dante's Restaurant & Pool Bar which is shown on Google Maps as being at 951 Caroline Street but on its website it says it is at 955.
Your address should probably be listed as: Key West Boat Rentals (inside Conch Harbor Marina), or have a suite number (since GP doesn't have berth numbers).

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