DavidGetty

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I have been spam fighting in the skilled trades vertical for a while now and there’s something I’ve always been curious about, maybe the answer to this can help take these places down quicker.

Many businesses will set up multiple Google listings by using other addresses that they are associated with, such as a rental property they own or one of their employees homes. But when it comes to referral rings, they use addresses that they are not associated with, often times addresses that don’t even exist.

An example is this one referral ring that always uses a real address and then a fake unit number. They’re so easy to spot because all of their addresses look like this:

382 Smithton Ave #2097 Anytown, NY 01010

The address will be real but there will be no unit number like that located there, it will be a single-family house or a single small business location.

Here’s another example, if you look at this Google listing you’ll see that the owner of the address actually left a negative review saying that it’s his house that they are using:


So I’m curious how do use referral rings set up all these Google listings at addresses that aren’t real or they have no control of who obtains the postcard? And how can we fight these unverified listings easier?
 

Conor Treacy

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While I can't speak for all rings, I can speak from my own experience in setting up listings. Many times, Google does not ask for any verification. I don't know if that's because we're considered an agency or if it's because we have many valid listings under the same account, but we sometimes don't even get a request for a phone call - it's just instantly active.

For most fake listings I would assume they are validated using the phone number rather than a postcard.
 

Learning2Day

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That’s why it’s important to monitor your niche. If uncle joe 3 states over gets a postcard it’s not hard to verify. There’s no direct solution for paying a stranger to receive a postcard.

But, it’s easy to edit the map in seconds while they waste many hours and money setting up the fake location. I consider this a win for everyone that follows the guidelines.

Businesses that play by the rules always win as the tortoise always beats the hair.

Short term benefits for breaking guidelines and long term destruction always to follow.

Doing everything the right way your online presence and overall sentiment get better every year. No short term gain will ever be even half as powerful as years of hard work .
 

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