Bill Davis

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I hope I'm not jumping the gun (it's not the afternoon yet in my part of the world, but it's the afternoon in some parts of the world), but I posted some info. about a spam network that I want to takedown in the GMB forums:

https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/business/GpVWo-PoDDs/RNZjo22-algJ

RC Tim Capper replied to my post, and indicated that it would be escalated by a TC? I also availed myself of the report a problem function, and reported many, but not all of them. Can you escalate this, Linda?

I'm hoping that this gets taken down. It's a big one, about 370 locations total, with virtual offices and rented classrooms:

https://plus.google.com/local/United States/s/ONLC Training Centers

I think they broke quite a few rules (virtual office, classes, same tel, etc.), and it looks like a bulk upload. I provided some examples in the original forum post as to why I think they're spam.

My only other concern is the spammers re-uploading their location list if it's taken down, and Google approving the re-upload, as it didn't seem to have any problem getting on Maps in the first place.

I read through some GMB forum posts, and it seems that spammers have no trouble bypassing the spam filters to add spam.

Thanks for your help.
 

Linda Buquet

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Bill, unless I am missing something I don't see a problem here.

In looking at this page, it looks like they do offer live in-person classroom training.

It looks like these are actual in-person classrooms: www.onlc.com/directions.htm

From the site:

"Attend live, hands-on training via remote instructor from any ONLC Site.
Our sites, more than 300 across the country, are in office buildings (likely class A) in popular suburban office parks or downtown central business districts. We lease facilities in professional areas. Classes are live, hands-on training via remote instructor. RCI is used to connect students from multiple sites with the instructor for interactive learning."

"A classroom for a better learning experience.
ONLC has over 300 classrooms across the country because we know the classroom provides an interruption-free environment so you can get down to the business of learning. Our locations are outfitted with the hardware, software, and communication links needed for our classes."

How do you know some of those are not actual locations???

I think they broke quite a few rules (virtual office, classes, same tel, etc.), and it looks like a bulk upload. I provided some examples in the original forum post as to why I think they're spam.

It's fine to have an office in an executive suite type office (like Regus) as long as it's open to customers to get help at that location.

It's fine to offer classes. What is not allowed is like if I teach a yoga class inside my local gym or the high school, I can't have a listing at that location because the gym or school should just have a listing, not me since I'm just doing an occasional class inside another business.

So #7 would not be allowed in your list at the G forum.

But if I rent an office at Regus and do classes regularly at the office I rent, I could have a listing.

Same tel is not against the rules. It's not best practice, but not prohibited either.

I'll also copy this to the Google thread so Tim can see my thoughts.

So again, maybe I missed something, but I see this more as a company trying to offer training in multiple cities, not doing fake locations solely for the purpose of spamming Google. (But I could be wrong.) There are lots of training chains like Learning Annex that have locations all over the country.
 

Bill Davis

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Hi Linda,

Thanks for replying.

From their website, "via remote instructor". There's no instructor actually physically present. The instructor is in multiple places at once via webconferencing.

They rent virtual offices in the building to have a "presence" in the local market. The secretary affiliated with the virtual office guides people to the classroom or space, not the instructor.

Not sure if having someone who is not physically present qualifies, but it really stretches the whole idea of being local if you're not actually local.
 

Linda Buquet

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Copying one of my replies from the other thread:

I think it depends on the real world situation. If this is true...

"ONLC has over 300 classrooms across the country because we know the classroom provides an interruption-free environment so you can get down to the business of learning. Our locations are outfitted with the hardware, software, and communication links needed for our classes."

Then I do see it as local. For those that want a place to go to focus on training instead of doing it at home with kids in the background for example.

It's serving local customers who walk in and get the training right at that location.

It's not like if I walk into Regus to talk to an atty and the Regus receptionist hands me a card and tells me to call their office cuz they don't really work there. I can't talk to the person AND I can't get the service there.

I came there for training. I see down and I get the training service I paid for right there.

But I agree it's a stretch since the instructor is not there. BUT I am sitting right there and getting the service I came for. No?

Again this is gray area. One of those cases where I don't see it as cut and dried. But I don't see it as pure spam either. At least not what I've seen.

BUT NOTE: I'm just taking a quick peek in between fighting 20 other fires. So no deep research. Just sharing quick opinions.
 

owenoliver

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The Google rule states: ?In order to qualify for a local Google+ page, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours.? [my emphasis]
Quote taken from: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en
With this training, you never have in-person contact with any of their employees or the instructor. It is 100% remote. This is quite different from an attorney using a Regus office: the attorney is in the office, or can come into the office, in this case, the one instructor can?t possibly go to 300+ locations. Another tell-tale sign of the spammy nature of this is that you can join into the same classes from your home: Classes via RCI from Home or Office

Google also has a specific rule for classes at locations that are not permanent offices. Google lists as ?Ineligible businesses? the following: ?An ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don't own or have the authority to represent.? Quote taken from at: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177?hl=en

Using your attorney analogy, a single attorney could list every single Regus as a local office because they can use their web conferencing service: Regus Conferencing and claim that each location is specially set-up for remote meetings.

While ONLC has listed 300+ locations, every one of them is a virtual office, and their teaching people remotely doesn?t pass either of the Google rules above.
For each location that ONLC lists such as this:
https://plus.google.com/112245649176035767676/about
There is a virtual office from a landlord at the same exact address and suite number:
Cummings Executive Suites locations in Woburn and Beverly

You need to really dig into their website to see that you?ll never meet with their employees in-person, and that you won?t even be video conferencing with the instructor ? just watching their screen and talking with them. If every type of service provider decided to follow this approach, it would become impossible to distinguish between a tele-professional and local service provider.
 

Toyota88

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What was the end result? It looks like this company is still being allowed to spam and has all their google map listings still active.
 
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