For a law firm or any type of business, the Internet can be a treacherous place where your competition may jump at the chance to destroy you. A recent blog post of ours addressed online business reputation ransoming in which moving companies were being given false negative reviews on Google Places by reputation management companies who later contacted them for business. Now, people are not only spamming the Google Places profiles of their local competitors with fake, negative reviews, they are also reporting their competitors’ businesses as CLOSED.
A Search Engine Guide article discusses these recent and upsetting events occurring on Google Places. About 97% of consumers use the Internet to find a local business, which is why the majority of businesses create and manage a Google Places account. If business is that slow that a person needs to falsely report their competitor’s business as closed, then this creates a big problem in an already struggling economy. An even bigger problem, however, is why Google has allowed such deceptive practices to take place. Why aren’t Google Places owners notified through a confirmation email that their business has been reported as closed? Wouldn’t this provide an effective and reasonable way for accounts that reported the business closed to be manually reviewed so they can be banned? Sure, you could say that spammers will always find new ways of slipping through the cracks of the system, but shouldn’t every possible precaution be taken, especially when a businesses’ reputation and profits are on the line? We all know how hard it is to get a good Google Places ranking and the hoops Google puts you through to get it… so why is it so easy to get your listing shut down???