Listen: Google Maps Littered With Fake Business Listings
"Real or fake pop up on Google maps through push pens. Isn't that right? You know. So isn't it often quite difficult for users to distinguish which businesses or legitimate? And which aren't? Yeah. At first glance, it's going to be pretty tough to tell if you're calling a business that, you know, is located where they're claiming to be or. Is named what they're claiming to be, or even is a business at all as opposed to say a lead generation firm that's being paid to forward the call to somebody else. There are some things that you can look for once you're sort of primed to look out for these things, but for the average person, I mean no, you're just searching for a plumber electrician or an attorney. And what happens is you'll get results beneath the map and for most people, the assumption is that these are Google's recommendations for who you might wanna call because they're showing up high up in the results. What's the problem here is at faulty algorithms, or bad software, or both? I mean, if you if you ask Google, you know, which we did they, they said, basically, that they're dealing with a motivated group of scammers, who are on the lookout to beat the defenses that they build. So I think you know, from from their perspective, at least as they're relaying to us that these scammers are coming up with ways around their defense mechanisms against the spam. So besides defrauding, consumers this Herzl. Jytte businesses who pay for ads on Google. Right. I mean, they struggle to be discovered amongst all these shall we say, shady, operators often end up happening is you'll have like a personal injury attorney. And he may for, you know, months or even a year. It could be showing up as like the second search results under the map, and that's very prime real estate. So he'll be getting a ton of calls from people as a result of showing up really high up. And then if you get an area that's inundated with the fake listings. What can in has ended up happening is, you know, someone might get bumped down to like the thirteenth slot. And especially with people doing a lot of searches from their phones, these days thirteen or beyond that, it's like it's, you know, they kind of have said that, you know, it's not likely people are going to keep scrolling to, to a listing that sort of at the bottom of the pack. So what ends up happening is they're, you know, they're calls might dry up and some search consultants have told me that there, you know there are businesses that are at risk of going. Out of business because they are not on the first page of results. And you know, they're getting beaten out by the fake listings. One of the most common business sectors were fraud occurs, as it lawyers. Or is it shady, repairman lawyers is a huge one the value of a lead for a lawyer is high, and it's competitive out there. And so you got a ton of fake lawyer listings, and they'll have names like best personal injury. Attorney or car accident attorney Dallas and that's how they'll appear on the map. They won't they won't look like a typical law firm name other industries that are pretty ripe for fraud are contractors electrocutions towing and car repair services. It's kind of a range Wall Street Journal reporter Katie been Lee joining us from San Francisco. Thanks, katie."