emarsh

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I'm new here, but I did my best to find any relevant questions from other users before posting. So far I have not found anyone else with my particular problem.

The TLDR: Google marked one of our profiles as a duplicate because there is another profile evidently created by a user while ours was suspended. After my request for ownership was immediately denied by the claimant, I clicked the Appeal button and was met with the message that we already manage this profile. Any idea what's going on?

The context:
At the beginning of last month, all 19 of my client's healthcare facility GMB profiles were suspended due to "suspicious activity" (though the account itself was not suspended). We thought maybe this mass-suspension was due to Moz Local pushing too many updates with autosync, but the suspended accounts included several which were not touched (notably, a closed location profile and a separate management location, both of which were reinstated with no changes even though I think technically both aren't eligible... but that's a different story).

After a long, hard-fought battle in which responding agents continually changed the reason for suspensions, reinstated profiles with no changes or explanation, re-suspended several with no explanation or notice, and continually mis-read or evidently did not understand their own guidelines until I screenshotted and highlighted relevant sections, I finally have only one profile with any outstanding issues.

This location has been on Google My Business for a few years and underwent verification twice a few months ago due to an unauthorized address change which made it the same as another location in the same zip code. This particular location was caught up in the account-wide suspensions, but was immediately "escalated" to a "specialist team," though I could not get any updates or decision from them for 3 weeks. It was then reinstated with no changes or explanation.

After it was reinstated, we noticed that all of the reviews and user-submitted images were missing, so I followed up with Google support to ask them to restore them. The agent then informed me that the location was a duplicate and that it would need to be re-verified. Our profile has the name [brand] [city], whereas the rouge profile has the name [brand] of [city]. We checked to make sure none of us accidentally created it on a different email account, and we made sure that it wasn't one of the many locations for which we received spam requests for ownership (it was not).

I was then able to find this other profile while searching for it specifically, though not consistently. Sometimes ours comes up, sometimes the other one. But only ours shows up on our management account, and the other profile definitely has different information. Stumped, I followed the support agent's instructions and requested ownership of the rouge profile, and as expected I was immediately rejected within minutes. Here's the kicker: when I clicked the button to appeal the rejection, I was met with the message "You already manage this listing. You already have a listing for [brand] of [city]. Verify now to make the most of your business on Google." with the option to verify the location, which took me back to our [brand] [city] profile already on our account.

I pointed this out to the Google support agent in an email and (as they have done many times in this agonizing process) they ignored the relevant part of the email and simply copy/pasted the same response asking us to request ownership (which they informed us could be rejected at the whim of the existing claimant). I re-sent the email pointing out this weird message and am now waiting for a response.

So, does anyone have any idea what's going on here? Could we somehow have two separate references to just one profile that Google has mistaken for a duplicate? I'm pretty sure I didn't reject my own request for ownership, and the rejection came suspiciously quickly, like it might have been automatic or kicked back due to an error. Every turn of this process has been bewildering and the Google support team, if they are even real people, seem to have the reasoning skills of a magic 8-ball. Any insight or help anyone here could offer to a fellow traveler would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
 

Phil Rozek

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It's hard to comment on or troubleshoot this in the abstract. It may even be impossible without seeing the specific situation, and even then there may be no good or quick solution.

Just the same, a few questions:

1. What did you find after checking "...to make sure none of us accidentally created it on a different email account"? I'm not sure whether you determined that the unwanted GMB page is claimed by someone, and just aren't sure by whom.

2. To what extent have you considered trying to get the "rogue" listing removed (or even getting the preferred listing removed, too)?

3. What makes you say this about (what I assume are) different GMB pages: "I think technically both aren't eligible... but that's a different story"?

4. Is the duplicate located at the same address as the preferred page? (As in, it shows up on the list of businesses under "Directory" when you pull up the street address in Google Maps.)
 

emarsh

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It's hard to comment on or troubleshoot this in the abstract. It may even be impossible without seeing the specific situation, and even then there may be no good or quick solution.

Just the same, a few questions:

1. What did you find after checking "...to make sure none of us accidentally created it on a different email account"? I'm not sure whether you determined that the unwanted GMB page is claimed by someone, and just aren't sure by whom.

2. To what extent have you considered trying to get the "rogue" listing removed (or even getting the preferred listing removed, too)?

3. What makes you say this about (what I assume are) different GMB pages: "I think technically both aren't eligible... but that's a different story"?

4. Is the duplicate located at the same address as the preferred page? (As in, it shows up on the list of businesses under "Directory" when you pull up the street address in Google Maps.)
Thank you for your response! I'm sorry for being vague - I'm honestly not sure how much information about my specific client I'm allowed to share, so I want to tread carefully.

1.) Google support told us in an email that the "rogue" profile is claimed under a different email (I used the email associated with our profile management account we share with the client). They told us it was "ka...@gmail.com" which is nothing like anyone's personal emails or business emails that we can find.

We also don't have the option on the public GMB profile in the SERP to claim the business. I think I wouldn't have the option to request ownership of the profile unless it had been claimed, but maybe I'm wrong. That said, we get that strange message telling us we "already manage this profile," which is why I wonder if there's some sort of bug or mistake. We don't know who claimed it, but if somehow it is us, we don't have access to it in any way we can find, and the Google support agent doesn't seem to think we claimed it either or else it wouldn't make sense for them to be advising us to reach out to the claimant to request ownership). Again, I'm open to being told I'm wrong here - crazier things have happened.

2.) We first noticed that the reviews on our profile were missing, then after submitting a form asking for them to be reinstated, we noticed there was this duplicate and reported it, but then Google support seems to have ignored our request to restore the reviews and instead has labeled ours the duplicate. I assume we couldn't get our reviews restored if we just got all of the profiles removed and made a new profile. Unless I'm wrong?

3.) I probably shouldn't have mentioned those at all since they aren't relevant to my current question. Both of those profiles got suspended with the rest of the 18 with the same "suspicious activity" reason. Both were not immediately reinstated, but Google support didn't claim that either weren't eligible to display Google Maps, even though one is a corporate headquarters, which I believe doesn't actually serve customers, and the other has been closed permanently. I wasn't going to fight those because I realized they didn't fit the eligibility standard and they didn't need maps anyway, but then they were both reinstated with no explanation.

4.)The duplicate is at the same address, yes. The only photo for the "rogue" duplicate is the Google Street View. Neither profile currently has any user-submitted images or reviews, and the images we submitted ourselves are missing as well.

Any insight you may have on what we can try next would be appreciated.
 
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Phil Rozek

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My hunch is that there are two extremely similar-looking GMB duplicates, and that half your task is to find both of them (and sock away the CIDs or Maps URLs). I'd also guess that someone in your organization - or affiliated with it - has access to one of those pages.

It's always possible you've encountered a bug, but this strikes me as more of a duplicate-sniffing task.

Beyond that, I'd just need to see the specifics first-hand. This is pretty abstract and squishy.
 

emarsh

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Thanks, I understand it's difficult to provide much help with limited details. I appreciate your feedback. If I'm able to get a premium sub approved, I should be able to provide full detail privately.

We've found two profiles (ours and the other "rogue" profile claimed by someone we don't know). I'm confident that these are the only two.

Aside from the off chance that this second profile is the result of a bug or support agent error, Google wants us to go through verification again with our profile even though the duplicate clearly hasn't. They only gave us the ability to use the postcard method, which will be complicated because we will have to coordinate with the location manager. Do you think we have any chance of getting Google to budge on this, or are they likely going to insist that we verify our profile again (this will be the third time).

I find it hard to believe that they can see that ours is the older account and yet they give full precedence to the newer, unverified profile claimed by someone who isn't associated with the other 18 listings.
 

dgrunited

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I've had my GMB marked as "duplicate". How did that happen? Very simple. I used 2 different Gmails to create the same GMB :) That's probably what happened to you. One of the owners of the GMB has done it. Note that the GMB marked as duplicate is normally the 2nd creator. This means that the original Primary Owner is most likely not you. This means that you are most likely looking in the wrong place for the problem. You'll have to manage this GMB using the original Primary Owner's Gmail.

To add to the complication, somebody else (another Gmail) is trying to claim it. This is why Google is being cautious & evasive in their answers.

Option 1 (risky but worth a try).
Reset the password of ka...@gmail.com. You'll most likely see a partial phone number in the process. This will give you an insight into who the culprit is. However, this action will also alert Google that more suspicious stuff is happening with this Gmail. As such, things may become more difficult for you....

Option 2 (difficult but safe).
Log into every single account & try to identify the original Primary Owner (easier said than done).

Other Complications.
Find out if the Primary Owner (original or subsequent) has given up ownership to an Owner or Manager recently (they swapped ownership roles or removed themselves from the GMB altogether). Find out if any of these Gmails are delegated Gmails. (kindly Google for delegated Gmail).

Hope it helps.
 

emarsh

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Thank you for your help! After much unsuccessful trial and error, we managed to get a postcard code from the location and re-verified (this makes the third time for this location). Google support seems to have deleted the duplicate after that as it doesn't come up anymore.
 

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