Google Places has updated its Quality (read “Anti MapSPAM”) Guidelines – see below.
It’s unclear whether these updates reflect additions to the AntiSPAM algorithm or if they are just suggestions, but GOOG does seem to be clearly addressing some of the most obvious MapSPAM strategies – particularly around business names, locations and categorization.
To me the most interesting addition is “Only businesses that make in-person contact with customers qualify for a Google Places listing.” On one hand this is a good thing – I have often seen cases where a business’ warehouse outranks the retail location. On the other hand, I doubt the addition of this rule is going to solve that problem and there are plenty of use cases where a user might need to find the location or more info about such a business.
And now, I proudly present – The New Google Places Quality Guidelines:
|Your Google Places Account|
|Ownership: Only business owners or authorized representatives may verify their business listings on Google Places.
Account Email Address: Use a shared business email account, if multiple users will be updating your business listing. If possible, use an email account under your business domain. For example, if your business website is www.google.com, a matching email address would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Your Business Listing|
|Business Name: Represent your business exactly as it appears in the offline world.
Business Location: Use a precise, accurate address to describe your business location.
Website & Phone: Provide a phone number that connects to your individual business location as directly as possible, and provide one website that represents your individual business location.
Categories: Provide at least one category from the suggestions provided in the form as you type. Aim for categories that are specific, but brief.
Custom Attributes & Description: Use the description and custom attribute fields to include additional information about your listing. Learn more about acceptable custom attributes.
|Other Items of Note|
|Ineligible Business Models: Only businesses that make in-person contact with customers qualify for a Google Places listing.
Disclaimer: Google reserves the right to suspend access to Google Places or other Google Services to individuals or businesses that violate these guidelines, and may work with law enforcement in the event that the violation is unlawful.
Mike Blumenthal has a great analysis of what’s changed here.
Google’s official version here.