Just days after the noted Google Place error of “We Currently Do Not Support The Location”, the New York Times article has reported another rather important issue of Google Places spitting out the “Permanently Closed” error.

The Times article highlights upon:

“ In recent months, plenty of perfectly healthy businesses across the country have expired — sometimes for hours, other times for weeks — though only in the online realm cataloged and curated by Google. The reason is that it is surprisingly easy to report a business as closed in Google Places, the search giant’s version of the local Yellow Pages.

On Google Places, a typical listing has the address of a business, a description provided by the owner and links to photos, reviews and Google Maps. It also has a section titled “Report a problem” and one of the problems to report is “this place is permanently closed.” If enough users click it, the business is labeled “reportedly closed” and later, pending a review by Google, “permanently closed.” Google was tight-lipped about its review methods and would not discuss them.”

This suggests just how easy it for anyone to manipulate Google Places listing to announce a business being “Permanently Closed”. Also it highlights the simple lack of caring on Google's part about the issue as the remedy that is offered by Google is incompetent and fails to resolve the issue:

“The owner of a closed business, and customers who know better, can click on a button marked “not true,” which appears by all “reportedly closed” and “permanently closed” listings. In some instances, owners say, a business will “open” shortly thereafter. But other owners, like Ms. Cowan, say that the button doesn’t work, or that it takes a week to have any effect. Still others say that immediately after clicking the “not true” button, their business is immediately “closed” again.”

In mid-August, to demonstrate how annoying it when a fully functioning business is tagged as “permanently closed” a search consultant and blogger named Mike Blumenthal deliberately “closed” Google’s offices in Mountain View, California. As a result for a little while, Google itself was “reportedly closed,” as per Places. Mike justifies his actions by saying “I did it to point out how annoying this is when it happens,”.

Here's what the screen shot looks like:

Thanks to his courageous act at least one change has been made to the Places wherein a business that is recently tagged as “permanently closed,” now receives an alert via e-mail from Google to inform them about the change.

Google's responds via Lat Long blog to the NY Times article:

Whilst these words are comforting, no substantial action has been taken for resolving the issue. Guess we will just have to wait and see what exactly is done in the “the coming days”. Also it makes you question as to why did it take an article from the New York Times to bring about this reaction on a topic they knew about long back?


Navneet Kaushal is the Editor-in-Chief of PageTraffic Buzz. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet is also the CEO of SEO Services company PageTraffic which is one of the leading search marketing company in Asia.