matt_vt

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Hi there,

I just had a massive influx of SPAM listings in my area for a curtain and upholstery cleaner. They all appeared within the last week. I've been suggesting edits and Google has been accepting most of them, which is good, but with SPAM this obvious, how does it make it through Google? These appear to be mass published, private residence address with no valid business name and no contact information other than the address on most listings.

I actually called that HJVH number to see where it went. Somebody picked up as 'Upholstery Cleaning' and was pretty keen to know where I found the number. He gave me a website that didn't go anywhere and a business name that I can't find anywhere online. It looks like they do this throughout a lot of Australia (2nd screenshot is from the Sydney area).

My guess is that it's an overseas company that sets this up as a lead gen service, but what do you think? How does this much spam get created in such a short period of time and are there any redressals other than one by one?

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@matt_vt, Google does extremely little quality-control itself. Pretty much all of it is crowdsourced to business owners and others who keep an eye on the map. To your credit, you send in edits and try to keep the spam from getting out of control, but of course that shouldn't be your burden.

It's very easy for someone to crank out that many pages. Either they have an employee (or other contact) who can receive mail at an address in each of those towns, or at an address in the general area, and then after verification they just hide the address and let the keyword-spammy name do the heavy lifting. If they create a GMB Website with the right "branding," or if they don't point the GMB page to a website at all...

Phil Rozek

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@matt_vt, Google does extremely little quality-control itself. Pretty much all of it is crowdsourced to business owners and others who keep an eye on the map. To your credit, you send in edits and try to keep the spam from getting out of control, but of course that shouldn't be your burden.

It's very easy for someone to crank out that many pages. Either they have an employee (or other contact) who can receive mail at an address in each of those towns, or at an address in the general area, and then after verification they just hide the address and let the keyword-spammy name do the heavy lifting. If they create a GMB Website with the right "branding," or if they don't point the GMB page to a website at all, then often it looks legit enough for Google not to approve your request to remove it. Once they get a pile of reviews - usually fake - then it gets harder to remove the page.
 
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matt_vt

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Thanks @Phil Rozek, it was wild to see this many appear at once. I have a hunch it's coming from a 'legit' business trying to move into the area. Another semi-spammy listing was created around the same time for a business in Melbourne (2000 kms away) with a similar configuration, but to an actual website (which was unrelated to the GMB title).

I'm wondering if they created a 'less spammy' listing with a close address to rank well and then create these to just push actual businesses down the list. Considering there was no contact information, no website, no phone number on most of these spammy listings, I don't see how it could be a lead gen activity.

Luckily they're gone now, but we'll see if they pop back up.
 

JoyHawkins

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I would put them all on a spreadsheet and send it in on one redressal form next time it comes back. The listings are related and likely are all created by the same people so it is good to show that to Google by including it all together.
 

Phil Rozek

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Thanks @Phil Rozek, it was wild to see this many appear at once. I have a hunch it's coming from a 'legit' business trying to move into the area. Another semi-spammy listing was created around the same time for a business in Melbourne (2000 kms away) with a similar configuration, but to an actual website (which was unrelated to the GMB title).
That sounds about right. Usually there is a pony in there somewhere.
 

JoshuaMackens

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@matt_vt, Google does extremely little quality-control itself. Pretty much all of it is crowdsourced to business owners and others who keep an eye on the map. To your credit, you send in edits and try to keep the spam from getting out of control, but of course that shouldn't be your burden.

It's very easy for someone to crank out that many pages. Either they have an employee (or other contact) who can receive mail at an address in each of those towns, or at an address in the general area, and then after verification they just hide the address and let the keyword-spammy name do the heavy lifting. If they create a GMB Website with the right "branding," or if they don't point the GMB page to a website at all, then often it looks legit enough for Google not to approve your request to remove it. Once they get a pile of reviews - usually fake - then it gets harder to remove the page.

Is this how they're doing it, Phil? Or do you think they're getting a ton of Google accounts and just spamming adding listings? And with enough accounts, can make any edits they need to make?
 

Phil Rozek

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@JoshuaMackens, that's possible, but unlikely. Creating and using separate account would be much more work, and these characters tend not to like work. The whole concept of this "strategy" relies on speed and ease. It's spray-n'-pray. Also, multiple accounts wouldn't make those pages less likely to get pulled off the map.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I would think it would be more work to actually have to physically exist and go and collect postcards at each location? Maybe not though.
 

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