Something odd happened in Google+.
Mike Blumenthal made a post referring to Joel Headley saying that Google was going to do something about the horrible experience Service Area Businesses have had in the past year. I mentioned this Post in the Google and Your Business Help Forum here:
So today I thought I ought to do a Blog post but I cannot find Mikes Post now. Anyway whats the real deal? Google quietly announced in the Business Guidelines for Google Places that it was a requirement for Service Area Businesses (SAB) to use an option to hide their address in the Places Edit screen. All part of the mobile phone waving socialites who write poor code for Places thinking that search should now focus on ‘Local’, namely other mobile phone waving socialites. See the Google Places Blogspot:
http://places.blogspot.co.uk/ And they hired a team in the sub-continent to go round and snoop on Places users to catch out those unaware they needed to make this change. So there was a rash of complaints in the help forum about unintelligible phone calls which often ended int the phone being put down on them and their Places, now Google+ page, disappearing from search.
As usual with new Places code there was a serious defect, not tested out, in the ‘dinging code’ given to the sub-continent ring-rounders. What ever button they pressed the search listing simply disappeared. And it usually took several months for the ‘technicians’ to get the lost dinged listing back into search.
Even after a year this expensive and un-PR friendly process has only reached a few percent at most of SABs. Those still being caught out complain that all their other competitors are still showing an address. The help forum TC’s only possible answer is to suggest the users dob in their competitors.
The sad thing is that hiding the address appears to have no impact on search results.
All Google had to do was send out a few phased emails informing suspect SABs, in residential zoned areas or by category, telling them of the new requirement and giving a cut off date. After that they could simply hide the address and set a default service area of say 5 miles. The condition for not hiding an address is that there is a retail or service desk open to the public to go to for the stated business hours. So even if you are a plumbing firm but have a shop or depot open to the public you can show the address and set a service area for the in home servicing. A help forum option should have been to send in pictures of the shop or service desk where there was one and for Google to mark the Places entry as not to be defaulted to a SAB. How hard would that have been?
Its just hard for me as an IT Professional and now small businessman with several income streams professional, artisan and property to understand how poor and with no common sense the staff in the Places development department are.
I sent my CV in twice to Linda and Brianna asking for two engineers and half a DBA and saying after 6 months and removing 80% of the issues we users have, I would then having proved myself re-engineer the product for them. But who am I?
Its strange that I rate them as ‘poor’ but am the top independent professional poster on the help forum. They are liberal or just do not care.