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How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business

google-places-logo_pngFrom Wired:

Beneath its slick interface and crystal clear GPS-enabled vision of the world, Google Maps roils with local rivalries, score-settling, and deception. Maps are dotted with thousands of spam business listings for nonexistent locksmiths and plumbers. Legitimate businesses sometimes see their listings hijacked by competitors or cloned into a duplicate with a different phone number or website.

via How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business at Will | Business | WIRED.

I am not sure that Google maps was ever the wild and wooly place this author makes it out to be.  Never the less there have been reports of unethical business owners sabotaging a competitor’s Google place. I believe there are much better safe guards in place now to prevent this kind of hack.

The lesson I get from the article is not that there are bad people in the world looking to exploit others or that Google is somehow at fault. The truth is the world has changed and any business owner not aware of the Internet and Google is likely to be left behind.

For dentists the first thing you must do is find your Google place on the map and claim it. Once you have claimed it Google will verify you are the legitimate owner and you will then have a pin to limit access. Create and claim a Google+ business page and link it to the map place. Populate the pages with information, such as hours of operation and a statement about the practice. Also put in photos, a cover image, a link to your website and even videos.

You can do all this yourself or get help from your website developer or from a company like Sesame Communications.

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