More threads by James Watt

Oct 25, 2013
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I've been spending a lot more time on the Google my Business forum the last few months, and of all the interesting/confusing things I've seen, the craziest somehow always seems to be about locksmiths. Definitely makes me feel like I never want to work with anyone in that industry.

Anyway, just saw that the New York Times posted a story about how much trouble Google seems to be having keeping a lid on spam there. Just thought it was interesting.

Credit where it's due, saw it here:
Google's Fake Locksmith Problem Once Again Hits The New York Times

On the plus side, I imagine anyone that's done battle in that arena's probably really well equipped to handle things that would ordinarily be rare and unexpected in any other industry.
Thanks so much for sharing James!

Dan Austin, who used to be one of the top locksmith spam fighters, emailed me the NYT post over the weekend. He's mentioned and quoted in the piece.

Yes, if you want to find out what black hatters are doing in local, watch the locksmiths. Granted there are many that are legit businesses and ethical marketers, but I'm sure they feel the pressure to do black hat, just to try to get some visibility since the scammers often displace them in the SERPs.
If it's $100 on the phone, $200 in person, tell them you have $85 cash and they can take it or leave it. You wouldn't be in this industry if you didn't have game:)
Dan's part of the story was the most interesting in my opinion. Definitely made me curious what he's doing now, sounds like he got a rough shake. I've been trying to pay more attention to map maker stuff and get up to speed there (Shout out to Joy, I've been learning a ton, thanks!) but seeing stories like that, and seeing the shear hours that some people spend there... man. That's one heck of a rabbit hole Google's got there.
After reading this article, I downloaded Bryan Seely's book referenced it in and read it over the weekend. It was mind blowing. I've never spoken to him but I already love the guy.
This is a shame to the legit locksmiths. It is an uphill battle.

Put icing on the cake the NYT give all the scammer locksmiths links to their phony websites and the legit locksmith only gets a mention with no link..Pffff
If this article interested you, I would strongly suggest you read Bryan Seely's book that was referenced in it. He was one of the main people that was mentioned in the article and is known as the daring hacker that intercepted calls to the Secret Service. In the book (which I blew through in 2 days) he talks about how he did it, which I found very facinating.

Bryan sent me a direct link to download his book that I published on my blog since it's not for sale currently anywhere.
Thought I'd share that I just went through the top 10 ranking businesses for a major city in Florida and removed 7 of them as either closed or fake. Spam is a real problem. Anyone working with SABs needs to be aware.
Man, 7 out of 10? That's nuts... what industry, if you don't mind my asking? I've been spending my time lately with wedding photographers, and there's some obvious spam listings there every once in a while (including one that was named city + keyword with no website or reviews ranking number one) but it's a little more chill in that industry it seems.
This one was for the handyman category. Another terrible one is office cleaning. Basically most spammy industries are SABs, realtors & lawyers.

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