Search Engine Marketing

Google Places Expert at Rosemont Media Discusses Latest Woes

Google woes continue to hamper business owners with unanswered system errors plaguing Google Places profiles. In an article on Web Pro News titled, “Google: I Want to Love You, But…” Frank Reed discusses the Love/Hate relationship many users harbor, and breaks down the utter uselessness of the recent Google Places Newsletter.

In our last post on the Rosemont Review, we discussed Google Places errors with our resident specialist, John Forrest. As promised, here is the 3/9/2011 interview in its entirety.

Aaron Hurst: John, have a minute to discuss an upcoming series of posts concerning the common frustrations we experience with Google Places and the search engine’s hands-off approach to customer service?

John Forrest: Sure, do that all day anyway.

AH: How often are you dealing with problems related to Google profiles?

JF: I’m confronted with Google Places, or Local problems pretty much every day.

AH: What’s your biggest frustration with Google?

JF: Would have to say the unsettling feeling that at any moment, Google will flip the switch and completely change the standard guidelines again. First, it was Google Local, then the Google Business Center, and currently Google Places.

AH: So no continuity?

JF: Exactly, we adjust to the standards set forth by Google, and then they change the game. And what’s even more frustrating, customer service for this sort of thing is virtually nonexistent.

AH: No feedback from Google?

JF: Other than a forum where business owners can thumb through past questions and concerns, and cryptic responses from Google employees, the short answer is no.

AH: And the long answer? IS there a standard response time for newly surfacing issues?

JF: Well, we have a representative at Google we can call directly.

AH: Sounds promising.

JF: You’d think so, trouble is, I know more about troubleshooting: claiming, merging profiles, etc. At the end of the day, the only thing our rep can do is submit the concern to the escalations committee.

AH: And what is the response time when we have to go this route?

JF: To be honest, I’ve only pursued this avenue twice, and resolution is 50/50, and that took two weeks.

AH: If you could suggest one way to improve the process from Google’s perspective?

JF: Wow, that could take all afternoon [laughs] I guess ultimately, it would be great if Google would provide a more rigid set of rules and regulations to follow. The thing that really messes with my universe is when listings aggregate from various other portals.

AH: So we need some uniformity?

JF: Here’s the thing: Google clearly wants businesses to have one listing per location, but then generates duplicate listings. Then it’s the responsibility of SMBs to clarify the issue by merging and claiming. We are doing what Google has asked us to do, and then they go and create further problems.

AH: You mention best practices. Give Google some advice on best practices for their Places profiles.

JF: If I were in charge of Google Places, I would work directly with companies to create one main listing, and implement a system for updates and changes.

AH: Do it right the first time, and streamline the revision process?

JF: Yes, I think that was Google’s original intention, but they missed the mark. To make matters worse, customer service is literally nonexistent.

AH: How can Google address the customer service issue?

JF: More people, plain and simple. Give me someone to talk to, and show me some action is being taken. Even if it takes two weeks from there, at least I would know some progress was being made, that resolution was on the horizon.

AH: Sounds like customer service 101. Thanks for your time, John. Very informative and much appreciated.

JF: No problem, anytime. Thanks, Aaron.

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Keith Humes


Keith Humes is Rosemont Media's CEO and Founder. Since 1998 Keith has been at the forefront of Internet Marketing with Surgeons and Dentists. He continues to stay ahead of the curve and offers innovative insights to the world of healthcare marketing. Keith also lectures nationally at leading industry events, such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Dallas Rhinoplasty Symposium.

Keith is an avid fisherman and master-griller. Next to fishing, Keith’s favorite activities include surfing, and spending time with family & friends.