Google Takes Measures in Response to Fake Business Listing Accusations by WSJ

Google Maps has in many ways become a staple of the way we get around, and it has become a pretty popular way to figure out what businesses are close by as well, with most of these businesses taking one form or another that is exclusive to Google Maps all in all. Basically if you want your business to succeed you are going to want it on Google Maps, but a recent report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that there are millions of fake businesses currently on Google Maps.

Google released a report back in 2017 that stated that only a small percentage of businesses on Google Maps were fake, but according to the Wall Street Journal this report was only based on a limited set of data and that this skewed the results in favor of Google. The actual data shows that there are over ten million fake businesses listed on Google, and that about a hundred thousand fake businesses get added to Google maps each month which is quite an alarming number and it has prompted a response from one of Google’s top executives.

The product director for Google Maps, Ethan Russell, has stated that there are a couple of hundred million businesses listed on Google maps, and maintains that only a small percentage of them are fake. He also added that most fake businesses are removed from Google Maps before users get the chance to see them. Basically the Google executive is saying that Google is doing all it can to curb the influence that these fake businesses can have on your user experience, although the millions of fake businesses that WSJ discovered have yet to be properly addressed.

Russell in a blog post explained that:
"This year, we’ve already introduced a new way to report suspicious business profiles and have started to apply refined techniques to business categories where we’re seeing an increase in fraud attempts. To help foster a healthy ecosystem, we’re also donating settlement funds from litigation against bad actors to organizations that educate businesses and consumers about fraud. As we continue to fight against fraud, we’re making sure people people can flag issues when they see them. Here’s how:
1. People can learn more about our policies for businesses representing themselves on Google and user contributed content to determine whether or not to report businesses or content for review.
2. People can flag individual business profiles for removal. We use such reports to investigate content and take it down if it’s found to be in violation of our policies. We also investigate the associated accounts if they’re suspected of broader abuse.
3. People can report multiple business profiles at once via the business redressal form to kick off the review process."

How Google fights fake business profiles on Maps
Photo: GETTY

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