Can you lock a GMB listing?

Jurant Dika

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Nov 20, 2018
Messages
14
Hi,
GMB listings management has lots of issues nowadays, faced by owners, or authorized third parties.
Third parties often compete to manage one's GMB listing on behalf of the owner and are on the verge of complying with GMB Third Party rules. A third party (authorized by the owner) can be the owner of a listing along with the owner of a business location (example stone-and-brick restaurant), then a new third party comes in, and without owner's consent, verifies the listing by getting the verification PIN from the store employees.
Additionally, though you might own/manage one listing actively, there are pieces of information that can be modified/overwritten by Google, map users, or competition making edits to one's listing, which in most cases, as we all know, pass through GMB automated/manual review filters, and gets published.

Then, to solve all this mentioned above, some companies, such as Yext, declare that they have a patented service called Match and Lock saying "When we identify a match, we immediately lock that listing so no other data source can alter your information." Also, Hibu promotes a similar service saying "We’ll confirm your business information and take control of new business listings as soon as they’re online." (not sure if they use Yext, or have their own tool).

I wonder if Yext and Hibu are efficient in what they sell? What do you think, is there a way for them to lock your GMB listing, so Google and users can't modify your listing info?
Can they lock the listing so no one would be able to claim and reverify it? Meaning one will not see the Appeal button option when someone asking for owners/managerial rights on the listing? How they do it, and if that's in line with GMB Policies and Guidelines? Do they have a special partnership with Google or?

I have been searching for answers, articles on this topic in LSF, and I have found one answer only from Colan Nielsen within the GMB Support page and one thread in the LSF.
Anyone who has the experience used their or similar services, or anything related to the topic, please share them here in the thread?!
Thanks
JD
 

keyserholiday

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There is absolutely no way to lock a listing to prevent edits from being made. What these services don’t state is they they monitor the listing for edits and you need to accept or reject the edits. I used Yext for several years and found their platform to be more of a hassle than an asset.
Google allows all users to suggest an edit a listing. Google will evaluate each edit and decide if they choose to publish it or reject. Google wants users to update and correct bad information as it helps other users. There are other tools that will check your listing every few hours and override any edits. They can’t prevent edits and only correct them when their system catches the mismatch data.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2013
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13
I've pointedly and specifically been told by the GMB team that there is absolutely no way to lock a listing so that it cannot be edited, with one exception. The Google team has elected to lock a small number of listings for very public and prominent locations, in order to prevent them from being essentially vandalized by rogue edits. Think the White House or Mount Rushmore. Even those locations have "Suggest an edit" links, but I imagine the edits are unlikely to be used. But the key point to make here is that no third party can lock a GMB listing. Categorically not possible.
 

Jurant Dika

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2018
Messages
14
Thanks, both @keyserholiday and @Damian Rollison,
Quite clear feedback on the Updates/Edits part.
Obviously again you have to monitor your listings, and accept/deny updates, even if you subscribe with them for that lock system and give them a lot of $$.

Yet, into my post, there is the second part where I am raising as an issue on locking a listing, so no one can re-verify it back.
There are reports that HIBU is disabling the appeal option when you ask for ownership rights (check an old thread in the LSF), so you can't make an appeal and get ownership/management of a listing.
screenshot-www.localsearchforum.com-2020.05.18-12_21_05.png

In a matter of fact, the above case seems like "locking a listing", disable the appeal option, so no one can take it back, besides that you have to call HIBU to release the listing and that seems to be against GMB guidelines on verifications. Now if I read carefully the verifications guide, there are two things marked in red that lead me to think that Google has an exclusion, and HIBU uses that option. How? I don know yet, maybe a special partnership! The GMB verification guide says:
  • If your request is denied: You'll be notified by email, and you can still suggest an edit to the profile. Also, you might be able to appeal the denied request.
  • If you don’t hear back: If you don’t get a response after 3-7 days, you might have the option to claim the profile yourself. Sign in to Google My Business, and look for a “Claim” or “Verify” button on your dashboard.
    • If you don’t see an option to claim the profile, that means you’re not able to transfer the profile.
@JoyHawkins maybe you have an answer on this, as you have mentioned on that thread that "the lack of an appeal button seems wrong. Let me check with Google on this and report back."

Thanks
JD
 

keyserholiday

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Any owner can reject the claim for ownership. They can’t prevent the business from being claimed. There is a second step where you file a rebuttal and Google will allow you to verify your affiliation with the listing. If the user can verify and satisfy their affiliation for Google, they will be added as an owner and Hibu will be removed. Ultimately Google owns the listing, not the business or a 3rd party company. Google has specific policies, which allow people to request ownership access.
It sounds like Hibu is an owner on this account. It’s hard to tell is they are the only owner or one of several owners. All we know and can see is that somebody rejected the claim and use the reply to contact Hibu for access. Any owner can type that statement in their denial. I too have reject ownership requests when I worked for franchises and directing the user to corporate or our support team for assistance. There are instances where by granting ownership access, you get completely removed from the account. Per my old company’s agreement for services we needed to maintain ownership on behalf of corporate.
 

Jurant Dika

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Joined
Nov 20, 2018
Messages
14
I understand all that you stated.
But not sure if I'm clear enough. Maybe I should ask: How HIBU disables the Appeal option?
Obviously HIBU managed listings shared above, not having an Appel option, is not what we see every day, or better said, compared to normal cases (example by Online Ownership, left pic) when you see an APPEAL button after you get a denial (and eventually a message) on getting listing's ownership.
See the comparison:
example 2.png

What do you mean by saying "There is a second step where you file a rebuttal and Google will allow you to verify your affiliation with the listing."? If there isn't an appeal option, how do you file a rebuttal?
 

keyserholiday

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I would need to know more information. What email address was used to request access. What type of access was requested. There too many unknowns.
 

Jurant Dika

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2018
Messages
14
Actually I don't have a real case to share right now, and if I face one, I would be glad to share it with the community.
I wonder what @Chris Ratchford did to solve a similar case? See this thread.

I'm just trying to find out if any company, like HIBU and YEXT, can lock a listing (they sell such a feature), so appealing is impossible, this way disabling listing ownership transfer through regular GMB workflow. If they can do it (obviously there are signs and cases they disable Appeal process), that's something special, I would say.

But what's the point with the details you just asked since in the GMB guidelines emails don't play any role in ownership transfer, right?!
Since its about ownership transfer, let's assume HIBU is a primary owner (and no one else) of a listing, and I ask ownership rights (not managerial) with either a mail associated to shop's domain (owner@domain.com) or a Gmail created for that purpose (agreed with the shop owner).
I ask ownership, and HIBU replies with a denial, sends me a message as I showed earlier, and there isn't an APPEAL button.
You can't do anything, besides calling HIBU and ask them to transfer ownership.
Is this by the GMB book of rules? No, of course. What one can do about it? Nothing, besides being persistent and ask for answers.
 

keyserholiday

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No platform can disable the appeal request. Like I said, I don’t know the details of what transpired. I know the normal work flow for requesting ownership. Hibu can’t prevent user’s from gaining access to a listing.
 

Jurant Dika

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Joined
Nov 20, 2018
Messages
14
I agree Keyser, by the book, no one can disable an appeal.
Hopefully, I might have some fresh info on this topic in the upcoming period, and I'll post them here.
THNX for the good discussions
 
Joined
Nov 21, 2012
Messages
11
I had a somewhat similar issue and reached out to Google in order to get the "Manage this listing" removed. This is the case for chains like Starbucks and McDonald's.
In order for Google to remove this a company needs to be in a sensitive vertical - whatever that means...

View inital thread here:

and Google's reply here:
 

keyserholiday

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The manage this listing feature is completely different than the own this business. Manage this listing is for brands so that employees can be added as site managers. Google's policies make it so the brand owns the listing. If you bought into a franchise, let's say Boost Mobile, Sprint the brand owns the listing. You could add the location to your GMB dashboard and request ownership. The claim may be rejected and you could file a rebuttal and if you were able to prove your affiliation with the listing, you could be made an owner. The brand, would then reclaim access and boot you out. Even the brand, can't lock the listing to prevent users from requesting ownership access.
 

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