Google’s calculated risk in creating a low bar for verification works out fine in a world where most business owners simply want to gain legitimate access to their own listings, and most businesses do operate within those ethical boundaries. But as we’ve seen elsewhere at this stage in the evolution of social networks, fraud and deceptive manipulation have become a kind of ghost in the machine, dominating darker sectors of the local marketplace and creating an atmosphere of distrust that may eventually prove more broadly contagious.
All of this is only possible when lots of activity is consolidated on a few platforms. Just as fake accounts attempting to engineer the 2016 election thrived in the vast and complex Facebook ecosystem, so too has Google’s dominance in local attracted its own horde of opportunists, drawn like moths to its flame. Indeed, fraud in local listings is just the latest in a long history of attempts, from link farms to keyword spam, to manipulate loopholes in Google’s regulations and algorithms.
Blumenthal to Mihm: It seems to me that Google could take the fake listings issue off the table by seriously investing in cleaning up the fake listing and fake review issue. I just don’t think that they think that way.
At a minimum, as the company that has the monopoly in the local space, Google faces the expectation and responsibility to provide a service that truly serves the public and businesses. And they seem to forget that.
“Chronic” local listings fraud on Google Maps, where con artists pose as handymen and other local service providers, sometimes stealing the names of legitimate operations, is endangering consumers and sucking business away from viable local businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
As Google seeks to prop up its lucrative but “cresting” search business and consolidate its lead in local, the tech giant is struggling to address the fraud issue and perhaps even to care about it.
Advertisers are unknowingly wasting 30 to 50%, and as much as 80%, of their location-based targeting spend on inaccurate, poor-quality data, some of which is fraudulent. They are being told by their partners that “everything is fine,” but the answers to a few questions could reveal a very different story.
Here are five questions brand managers should be asking their agency partners about location data. The answers will help vet the quality of the data you are purchasing.
Location intelligence, sourced securely and used in the right way, is an extremely powerful tool to craft precise targeting, predictive modeling, and creative media that drive meaningful marketing moments, massive ROI, and brand growth. Unfortunately, the location intelligence sector has also become a jungle of data fraught with fraudulence and insecurity.
Location intelligence is powerful, but in today’s highly scrutinized world, you have to challenge every resource you engage to ensure confidence in its quality. There are three critical questions you should ask data partners before you engage them.
Blumenthal to Mihm, on lead gen spam: The real issue for me is that Google Maps is really like a public utility, and Google is not doing enough to protect the consumers of that product. There is significant harm in the deception of the consumer, the blocking out of legitimate businesses, and the possibility that the consumer public will lose trust in the whole, creaky house of cards.
Google reviews, increasingly essential to the online search presence of brand and SMB brick-and-mortars alike, were hit by a massive spam attempt last week. At least 2 million fraudulent reviews were posted, according to ReviewFraud.org.
TODAY IN LOCAL & DIGITAL MARKETING AND MEDIA… Synup Test Measures Voice Search Readiness for Brands… Video Swells to 25% of Digital US Ad Spend… TripAdvisor Debuts API with MomentFeed Partnership, Helping Brands Reach Hungry Travelers…
In order to be effective, marketers need to know how various segment options stack up and measure up in terms of accuracy. Just like with increasing viewability, the first step toward a fix in data quality is realizing and acknowledging the problem.
Street Fight Daily: Accuracy is King for Data Buyers, Google’s Earnings Make a $5 Billion Fine Look Silly
DATA, DOLLARS, DISASTER… Study: Accuracy is the Most Important Factor for Marketers Buying or Using Audience Data… Surprise? Google Beats Expectations, Driven by Mobile and Cloud Services… Black Monday: Tronc Axes Half the New York Daily News Staff…
Native advertising platform TripleLift announced last week that it is partnering with White Ops to prevent fraudulent traffic on its platform. The move marks the first time a native exchange has offered pre-bid fraud prevention across its entire inventory.
A roundup of today’s big stories in hyperlocal publishing, marketing, commerce, and technology… Apple’s Latest Offering Explores the Great Indoors (Wall Street Journal)… Airbnb Testing In-App Concierge Feature That Connects You With Real People at Your Destination (TheNextWeb)… Nokia Here Buys Desti to Build Personalized, Contextual Maps (GigaOm)…