Like the other monster business’ that dominate our lives, google, it is plain to see, has no care for or empathy with their clients. And their clients are us. Once we truly understand that the likes of fb and google and twitter are cash making machines then we are able to step back a little and wonder at the power that these entities wield.
I have had a google business listing for Wales Outdoors for some time. I was an early user of google business, adding a small amount of information to my social media and free online advertising portfolio. I think having this listing was good for my placement in google searches and I consistently appeared on page one of a search for gorge walking or coasteering in Wales. Then disaster struck. Because I couldn’t provide a shop front address my listing was disabled and as a consequence I slid from page one to page 2 and then 10 and then never to be seen again in a google search. My adventure activity business, as a main income, was over…
At the whim of a decision made by someone at google hq the hard work I and my staff had put into building quite likely the best adventure activity company in South Wales was for nought.
I then sought to maintain the adventure activities whilst developing a walking group. It was time to make the change as the activity industry was annoying me and walking was looking like being a possibility, because of the widespread use of social media.
I now run the largest and most active walking group in South Wales and deliver more walking adventures than any other individual provider. And, just a few months ago, I was allowed to re-instate my google business listing. Someone at google hq had reversed the perverse decision to only allow listings by business’ with provable shop front addresses. And that’s great news. But no apology for my business disruption, no apology for financially disabling my adventure activity business, no apology to my staff for loss of income, no apology for quite possibly bankrupting thousands of small business owners in the UK.
And then when updating the old listing I found four reviews that were nothing to do with Wales Outdoors. They had been made by no client of mine. Google refused to work with me or the reviewer to have them removed. I effectively threatened one of the reviewers, tracking him down to his business and politely asking him to remove his fraudulent review, which he did. Another removed their review without much of an effort. The other two are by people I cannot trace so I’m stuck with them.
And the photos, there were about 100 photos uploaded by multiple people all of whom had no relationship with me or with Wales Outdoors. Again I asked for these to be removed and only after two months of chasing and arguing did google cave in and finally remove them.
So I left this review of google:
‘Like most 1 star reviews here I’m posting the same to admonish google for having the front, lack of concern and negative empathy to allow anyone to post any review to any business without recourse for the business to defend themselves. It’s fraud that google are encouraging and this is especially damaging to smaller business’. The question here is who owns the business listing on google. I think google will say google. Currently I have 100 ish photos from ‘customers’ of parts of Wales on my google business listing with none of them being relevant or taken by clients of mine. I have four reviews from three to five star that were not made by clients of mine. They are fraudulently made reviews. Google will do nothing about these issues. Well done google for being such a beacon of hope for the future… Oh, and for not being evil… ‘
And amazingly, a month or so after posting, the bots at google sent me this…
I was complimented on my criticism 🙂 This is 100% proof that there is no one listening at google hq and the google shopfront is people by bots.
I had a third issue with google, ‘OK Google’… I could not stop the google assistant from popping up on my smartphone. I Don’t like it, I don’t want it but despite me buying and owning the phone I am disallowed from removing it by the google hq boffins. They so want to track everything we do! So I left a further review for google:
Ignore the five star reviews here – they have been made by google sycophants who are wowed by shiny things. Remember google is a company that ignores users, destroys business’ and invades privacy. Google assistant is hated by millions with no way to remove it from your phone and despite disabling it it keeps on coming back, like a phoenix from the flames, and popping up when you really don’t need that hassle. They track and monitor and sell to you through this piece of malware that is on every new android smartphone. Arseholes!
If you agree in totality or in part with this post then I urge you to make your feeling known to Google HQ UK by leaving your review here – Google UK HQ
And so I don’t really care about search engine page placement or Facebook likes too much anymore. I’m now big enough to ride a few negative algorithmic changes (fb are always fiddling and making negative then positive then negative changes) and I have been moving much of my online content across to the new website and that move will continue… But as much as I don’t care too much, I do care a little as my business is dependent upon being found. And this is the scary bit. I can be hidden overnight by the actions of a single programmer or a policy decision at fb or google. And that is just not right…