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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In USA, Google Closes You

From the NY Times:
Not in the real world, where it is thriving. Coffee Rules Lounge was listed for a few days as “permanently closed” on Google Maps. During that time, anyone searching for a latte on a smartphone, for instance, would have assumed the store was a goner. 

“We’re not far from Interstate 70,” said Mr. Rule, “and I have no doubt that a lot of people running up and down that highway just skipped us.” 

In recent months, plenty of perfectly healthy businesses across the country have expired — sometimes for hours, other times for weeks — though only in the online realm cataloged and curated by Google. The reason is that it is surprisingly easy to report a business as closed in Google Places, the search giant’s version of the local Yellow Pages. 

On Google Places, a typical listing has the address of a business, a description provided by the owner and links to photos, reviews and Google Maps. It also has a section titled “Report a problem” and one of the problems to report is “this place is permanently closed.” If enough users click it, the business is labeled “reportedly closed” and later, pending a review by Google, “permanently closed.” Google was tight-lipped about its review methods and would not discuss them. 

So when I say that Google controls the world, do people really not believe me? Someone wants a cup of coffee so they search for the nearest coffee shop. Google tells them your restaurant is closed permanently. You are fucked. Basically any smart phone user who doesn't already know that you are open will pass you by. I mean I'm sure Starbucks is already crushing all of your hipster clientele but maybe there would be hope. I love how Google won't discuss their review methods. Because here is what they are.

Deleting your business since 2008

I own the coffee shop next door to you. I report your shop as closed and have my douche friends do the same. 10 people say it's closed. Do you think Google sends someone or calls or anything to confirm? Fuck no, they just X it off the map. That's why they won't discuss it. Because if they did we would all know that douchebags can run free in Google Places.

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