Why Google shutting down Map Maker should terrify SMBs
Contributor Joy Hawkins warns about the likely unintended consequences of Google's impending shutdown of Map Maker, calling for the search giant to create more transparency.
Google’s Map Maker has often received bad press due to the amount of spam that originates from users of the product. In May of 2015, Map Maker was actually shut down to help prevent disasters like this one. So Google’s announcement that they’re shutting down Map Maker entirely in March of 2017 made a lot of people really happy.
It’s the end of spam, right? We should all be celebrating, right?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Allowing spammers to hide rather than vanquishing them
The truth is that users — some with less-than-virtuous motives — will still be able to make edits to business listings, just like before. Instead of doing it on Map Maker, however, they will do it through Google Maps by pressing “suggest an edit” on the listing.
Spammers know this, of course, and have already shifted the majority of their edits to Google Maps because it hides their activity from the general public.
Currently, when a user makes an edit to a listing on Map Maker, the edit history on the listing shows their username, and you can see what other edits they’ve made.
This feature of Map Maker makes it much easier for power Maps users and marketing companies to chase down spammers and report them to Google (there is an option to report the user, as well).
With Google Maps, however, the users are completely anonymous, and there is no way for anyone, other than Google, to see what types of edits they have made in the past and who else they may have sabotaged.
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