So Sick and Tired of This


marmoset

Forum Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2017
Messages
3
Hi all

I provide digital marketing and web services to businesses in my local area (Yarraville, West of Melbourne). I do my best to optimise my GMB listing as much as possible, and whilst I know I could do more in terms of optimisation I play by the rules, but I am not in a situation where I expect 20 new competitors in the local pack in one weekend - that is exactly what has happened today.

A firm called Cloud Nine has suddenly appeared with multiple listings generally titled
"๐—–๐—น๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฑ ๐—ก๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐— ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—”๐—ด๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐˜† | SEO, PPC, Web Design & Advertising in [suburb]"
And no, that bold text is not mine - It actually appears in bold type in the actual, GMB listings!

There is so much wrong here I don't know where to start. I am going to take the legal route initially as I cannot afford the time to do all the individual 'manual edits' of every listing, and am I so sick of this I have no problem lodging formal complaints not only with Google, but also with State Government.

What I would really appreciate is feedback from you all as to the following questions which I consider to be more than pertinent - I actually feel that if this kind of spamming is allowed by Google to continue, there may be no Local SEO industry left to speak of:

1. Has anyone else here seen this type of listing, where one section of text is bolded and a different type of font?
Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 9.37.45 pm.png

2. I'm sure that we have all seen situations where a business may have 2 perhaps 3 listings using spammed keywords for one query, but has anyone ever seen anything like this:
Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 9.39.31 pm.png
That is only the top of the list, there are another two listings in the initial list of 20.

I have made enquiries with the authorities to find exact addresses and details of this company and they have one address only, which is on the cusp of the Melbourne CBD.

3. Has anyone here seen a group of new listings appear so quickly and in dominant positions for a valuable keyword?

4. Given my investigation has shown that there are no additional locations, either physically or via mail box service etc, how is it possible for a listing to be allowed where clearly the business does not operate in each spammed listing, and there is no way they could have an authorisation process as there is no mail address and only the one phone number??

5. Can anyone see through means I may not be aware of what signals are being generated which may be pushing these spam listings up the rankings?

Any light anyone here can provide on this would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
Phillip
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,478
Hey Phillip,

Sounds like you should send a report to Google about it since they are breaking multiple guidelines. If you want to create a thread on the Google My Business forum, I'd be happy to escalate it to Google for you. Just make sure you include a list of all their listings (it's usually best to put these on a spreadsheet and link to it). See this article for how to format it.

For question #1, it looks like they are using unicode in the business title.

For question #3, yes we see this daily.

For #4 - if they're using mailboxes, include that in the document you do up and Google will likely remove them. Google is not great at catching these automatically but they do remove them when reported.
 

Eric Rohrback

Moderator
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
980
This is a constant battle. I check in each month to see who's still spamming. Listings get knocked down, then they come back up.

On the optimistic side, every change that gets approved helps the Google Guide score. At least the edits have some sort of benefit. The spammers just have the short term gain from modifying their name. Other than that it's not helping them.
 

Adam Potaznik

Forum Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
48
I'm in the same city but 40 minutes drive from where marmoset is, and Cloud Nine Agency is also showing up here with the local suburb of our office ... very weird, haven't seen that bold thing before.

Upon further research, this is the cause of all the problems: Instant GMB Verification Service | My Business Verification

They have only been registered as a business for 5 months: Current details for ABN 24 629 002 080 | ABN Lookup

But they have 6000 (paid) facebook likes: https://www.facebook.com/CloudNineAus

and they don't answer their phone.

The Director Matthew Sampson-James says he works at https://www.leadservice.com.au/ but the site is dead and https://www.semimpact.com/contact/ which has no SSL and is also half broken.

But he has nicknamed himself "The Traffic Guy" Matthew Sampson- James โ€œThe Traffic Guyโ€ Small Business Performance Coach

And Joash Boyton, company secretary, has his own GMB with an appointment link that leads to a broken website and his main site is full of Lorem Ipsum Joash Boyton โ€“ Business Entrepreneur โ€“ Business consulting and strategy

Even more so, the guy was convicted of fraud and spent a year in prison - and it's in the newspaper: 'Remorseful' Melbourne credit card fraudster successfully appeals against sentence

Joash is listed as a "Co-Founder" of this rubbish, I actually called him and he called me back. I said I am interested in doing business and he asked how I found out about MBV and I said I was googling around, and he got suspicious because he said they blocked google via robots.txt

At the end of the day, don't worry about these clowns, they are their own worst enemies.
 
Last edited:

marmoset

Forum Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2017
Messages
3
Thanks Adam for your input.

Here is my question for Google:
----------
Instantly Verified Google Local Listings - Anywhere In your City
We are able to create instantly verified GMB listings in bulk โ€“ for any business name and location.
----------

HOW? - There is clearly a 'back door' into your own GMB system that this company -MBV - is exploiting. Obviously this exploitation is excessive and industrial scale. It seems some kind of app/programme is running from server/s and exploiting your vulnerabilities 24/7. We are at a tipping point I feel and this kind of app, and companies who promote them, need to be shutdown and if necessary prosecuted in court.

What is Google doing to stop this kind of activity?
 

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