Google Maps Needs Constant Double-Checking
Given the latest numbers by Pew and Nielsen about how many people use Google Maps and the similar services offered by Bing and Yahoo! it is disconcerting just how many errors there are. All three of the services make it easy for users to report problems. If a business is listed at the wrong place on a map, then it is important that an ability to fix that error is easy to do. Not only are business owners depending upon the accuracy of these services, but so too are the mapping services themselves. The competition among these services is intense, despite Google Maps’ dominance, because there is so little to distinguish them from each other.
Improved accuracy is the upside of making errors easy to report. The downside is that when there is an error, it is likely to be catastrophic for the business in question. Usually this catastrophe is about the “permanently closed” designation. When enough people click on the “closed” designation, whether through an innocent error or through a malicious and increasingly common tactic, then the mapping service will denote the business as “reportedly closed.” The closing is then reviewed, but it is easy to imagine that a small business easily slips through this review process and then earns a “permanently closed” designation.
This happened recently when being evacuated from the Hamptons and heading to Hershey PA. The Hershey Lodge was permanently closed on Google maps, which really threw us for a loop as we were using Google Maps to find the hotel. It actually was open and busy as ever.
The digital marketing agency needs to be on guard for these errors. Adding a client to these services is still important, more so than a presence on social geolocation applications, but the digital agency needs to make sure the work does not end there. Constant monitoring of these services is important. It will add a bit more effort into a client’s requirements but without it a catastrophic error could occur to the client and the digital agency. The services are becoming better about fixing these errors, but as more and more listings come online it becomes more and more necessary for someone to alert the services about the error.