Google Reports Reduced Fake Google Maps Listings by 70%
Google My Business enables millions of business owners to create listings and share information about their business on Google Maps and Search, making sure everything is up-to-date and accurate for their customers.
Unfortunately, some actors attempt to abuse this service to register fake listings in order to defraud legitimate business owners, or to charge exorbitant service fees for services. Google decided to tackle the problem of fake listings in an attempt to improve its products and protect its users. It announced that it has already reduced fake listings by 70% since 2015, the year that they reached their all-time peak.
Keeping Deceptive Businesses Out
“Leveraging our study’s findings, we’ve made significant changes to how we verify addresses and are even piloting an advanced verification process for locksmiths and plumbers. Improvements we’ve made include prohibiting bulk registrations at most addresses, preventing businesses from relocating impossibly far from their original address without additional verification, and detecting and ignoring intentionally mangled text in address fields designed to confuse our algorithms. We have also adapted our anti-spam machine learning systems to detect data discrepancies common to fake or deceptive listings”.
Combined, here’s how Google say their defences stack up:
• Detect and disable 85% of fake listings before they even appear on Google Maps.
• Reduced the number of abusive listings by 70% from its peak back in June 2015.
• Reduced the number of impressions to abusive listings by 70%.
As shown, verifying local information comes with a number of unique anti-abuse challenges. While fake listings may slip through our defences from time to time, Google say they are constantly improving our systems to better serve both users and business owners.