The Great Wall Of Google – A Short Essay On Communication

Contact Google Customer Service

Taken from the Google Maps Help Forum:

  • How can I contact Google for support with My Maps?
  • Is there an e-mail or phone number for google help to get this problem resolved?
  • How in the world can one get in touch with google
  • How can I contact google to correct an error with its local business results from a search?
  • I am trying to somehow get in contact with google becasue i messed up on google maps!!!
  • Happened to me too, lost 900 locations nationwide with no word from google as to what has happened, our business is bleeding out right now…
  • How do I contact google support by mail?
  • There has to be some way to contact Google to request that they fix incorrectly merged listings
  • Street vew shows my car number plate, how do I contact google to get it obscured?
  • We need this number off the site, but Google refuses any person contact.
  • Anyone had any luck in getting a contact at Google to actually work with business’s?
  • It seems that no one can solve this problem, and I cannot find any way to contact Google, whether by email, telephone or post.
  • I’ve searched through all the Help information in Google Maps, but can’t find anything. Google doesn’t seem to offer anyway to contact them with a question.
  • Is there anyway to contact Google and get this fixed?
  • Can anyone tell me how to contact Google about their incorrect association between my organization and the hospital…
  • Google keeps reposting a defunct Domino’s Pizza with OUR telephone …by mistake. We have tried everything. Seems like there is no way to contact google over the phone.
  • Just need to know who to contact directly to report the error
  • You cannot contact Google because all you get is oh, I am sorry, we do not offer phone support and then you get hung up on?
  • Please help, who should I contact?
  • Google needs a customer support line!
  • Does anyone have a link or even a telephone number to contact Google directly?
  • Any idea on how to contact Google about this since TeleAtlas has it listed correctly?
  • Can we contact Google for this issue?
  • I need to contact Google about this and so far I’m having a lot of trouble figuring out how to contact Google.
  • I have sent postcards requested calls and there is NOTHING i can do and no one I can contact to get google maps cleaned up
  • Any way to contact Google maps?
  • I can find no support through Google in re to this
  • I need help directly from Google but there is not way to directly contact Customer Service!
  • How can I get in touch with someone to get this straightened out?
  • Is there any way to contact Google by phone?
  • I have tried and tried to contact Google about this but to no avail. Please help me anyone from Google.
  • There really needs to be a method for us to contact Google to resolve these kinds of issues
  • I don’t know how to contact google
  • Considering Google Maps is very important to buiness these days you would expect there to be more support for it.
  • I need to speak to someone at Google
  • Google has no phone support for Maps
  • It’s disgraceful that I can’t contact Google for something which must be a technical error on their behalf.
  • It would be incredibly helpful to be able to talk to someone or at least correspond online with someone
  • Google doesn’t have phone customer service
  • There are no “humans” to speak to in the Google maps
  • WHY THE H**L would I want to sign a contract with an ad company that has NO CUSTOMER SERVICE?
  • I have wasted hours on this and just wanted to be able to email Google for help
  • I am at my wits end and there appears to be no way to speak to anyone at Google.
  • I can’t seem to find a way to speak to anyone at Google about a competitor’s review on my site!
  • You can’t get in touch with them either by phone or e-mail
  • Who do we contact at Google to discuss this issue?
  • You really need to improve you customer service
  • Google really likes to keep their Customer Service phone number on lock
  • If my business’ customer service was anything like Google’s, we’d have been out of business long ago!
  • I feel for you man, Google is one big joke, and from what I’ve been reading online about their “customer service”
  • If anybody finds ANY route to contact somebody at Google to fix this – please post the info – be it phone number, email address or postal address
  • I cannot get in touch with anyone at GOOGLE
  • Worst of all is that there is NO Customer Service!
  • These help forums are Google’s flimsy excuse for customer support
  • We also tried everything to contact Google and inform them of the theft of our original listing
  • And how can i contact Google to remove this URL from a listing?
  • How do I remove, or at least contact google to remove, 2 or 3 listings where people have added themselves using our trademarked name?
  • What should be my next step to contact google and have the offending label removed from the map?
  • It’s imposible to remove my listing and there no phone number or form to contact staff at google maps. I cant even pm some one.
  • Is there any way to contact Google by phone?
  • It would be nice to have some customer support!
  • Your customer service is awful
  • Google needs to either provide a customer service phone number
  • How can I contact google to correct an error with its local business results from a search?
  • How can I contact someone at Google?
  • There is no number to call, there is no email address to use. You just have to live with it…

China started building its Great Wall in the 5th century to keep out its enemies. In the 21st century, the unwelcome party being kept out by the great wall Google has built around their company is you, the local business owner.

Withholding contact information is a mechanism of defense and Google’s strategy effectively protects the company from any type of contact with the teeming hordes of business owners whose data they have co-opted.

Like the small sampling of bewildered, frustrated and angry people, above, I am left wondering why Google builds applications for the use of local business owners – indeed, that end up ruling the lives of local business owners – and then hides from these people. Why build products for the world if you don’t want any involvement with its people? I’ve worked with many local business owners. They’re not all that scary.

Google’s refusal to support their own products and the users who use them is building up a second imposing structure – The Great Wall Of Thwarted Local Business Owners.

If you read even a portion of the above excerpts, you will quickly surmise that all of these people are under the impression that, somewhere, Google must have customer service connected with Maps and the Local Business Center. Somewhere there must be a phone number, an email address, a form to fill out to contact the company that has indexed all local business information, meting out favor and failure to businesses across the nation with an unseen hand.

The business owners who somehow manage to discover the help forum are unified in the belief that Google must or should be accessible. After all, these men and women wouldn’t think of running their own companies without some type of support for the people they depend on for business. But Google does not agree and they continue to defend their company with the wall of silence, the oft-spoken black box, the absence of contact.

How will this tale end? If each unmet plea for contact were equal to a brick, the mounting wall of user discontent is already growing high. New bricks are hitting the mortar every day. While Google maintains its silence.

29 Responses to “The Great Wall Of Google – A Short Essay On Communication”

  1. on 20 Jun 2009 at 5:37 pm Stever

    Great post Miriam, love it.

    This one summarizes it all – “These help forums are Google’s flimsy excuse for customer support”

  2. on 20 Jun 2009 at 6:34 pm admin

    Hi Steve,
    Glad you liked this post. I know Google isn’t, per se, democratic, but if they believe in a wiki-like community, it looks to me like the wiki is voting for customer service, eh?

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Miriam

  3. on 21 Jun 2009 at 4:32 am Mike Blumenthal

    @Miriam

    Google is from Mars and business owners are from Venus.

    Mike

  4. on 21 Jun 2009 at 11:54 am Dave Oremland

    Absolutely excellent post, Miriam. This merits a sphinn. If nobody else does it first I’ll spinn it on Monday when weekday traffic picks up again.

    I’ve spent some time in Google Maps help forum recently. I made some comments. Of course I see Mike’s comments.

    My gut response is that it is pathetic. Google leaves small businesses hanging. Maps has a certain significant level of errors. I expect they mostly go uncorrected. You see that specifically when a writer chimes in on somebody’s complaint and adds that they have been experiencing the same problem for a long time.

    Maps is open to spam. That equates to theft.

    Finally the seemingly arbitrary methods how google establishes authoritative oneboxes can absolutely kill competitors.

    By the way, how many days did you review to come up with this list. During the last week or two I’ve been in the forum and I imagine that list of quotes might be from a very short time period.

  5. on 21 Jun 2009 at 12:54 pm admin

    Mike,
    How true.

    Dave,
    I was thinking of our most recent conversation when I wrote this post, and your word, ‘pathetic’, was in my mind.

    Basically, every time I visit the Maps Help Group, I see the key terms, ‘contact Google’, ‘email google’, ‘customer service’, etc. coming up every time. I decided to run a search for these within the forum and there were pages and pages. Most of them were quite recent, from the last couple of months, weeks and days.

    I’d be very flattered if you sphunn this, if you think a wider audience would care for it.

    It’s good of you to visit the Maps Forum, and yes, I see the trail of Mike whenever I go there, too. I leave replies once in awhile to the threads there, but so often, people are in situations I from which I don’t see how they can extract themselves, without direct intervention from Google.

    Thanks so much for coming by, Dave!
    Miriam

  6. on 21 Jun 2009 at 9:20 pm Matt McGee

    What a sad but true post about the state of affairs when it comes to Google and its small business customers. I wish Google would spend half as much time trying to attract more small businesses to Google Maps, and spend that time serving the ones already there.

  7. on 22 Jun 2009 at 12:29 pm admin

    Good Afternoon, Mr. McGee,
    It’s great to see you here and I utterly concur with your wishes re. Google. Let’s keep asking for change!

    BTW – to everyone who is sphinning this, I’m very grateful.
    Miriam


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  9. on 28 Jun 2009 at 6:28 pm Lori

    Hi, Miriam! Wow, what a post. It actually makes me feel sick to my stomach to think that a company like Google, with its vast resources, can’t put together a customer service office for Google Local that is easily reached and helpful.

    It’s almost as if someone decided once that they were never going to be accessible, and now they’re sticking with that choice no matter what anyone else says, and no matter how frustrated business owners are.

    I can’t say I understand it, but I am so glad that people like you aren’t letting them get away with it!


  10. [...] Miriam Ellis/SEO Igloo: The Great Wall Of Google – A Short Essay On Communication [...]


  11. [...] services. Miriam Ellis recently wrote about Google’s poor track record of customer service in The Great Wall Of Google – A Short Essay On Communication. Perhaps in response to the growing din of complaints about Google Maps’ customer service, [...]

  12. on 08 Jul 2009 at 9:18 pm exor

    I contacted Google RE click fraud – no reply… followed up with official Google forum postings – no reply… received an email from Google asking about my experience, and replied to it – received an automated response … used Google Apps Migration services, and ran into trouble, but never heard back directly from Google.

    Thousands of dollars invested into Google products, and no customer support. Hopefully, competition breaks up the Goonopoly.

  13. on 09 Jul 2009 at 12:51 pm admin

    Lori -
    I have got to change my blog settings so that I get notified when registered readers leave comments. I only get them when someone new comments and that’s why I missed your comment. I’m so sorry about that!

    I’m glad you like this post, and yes, inaccessibility is Google’s evident policy when it comes to Local. More’s the pity!

    Exor -
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. Though my post is specifically about Google’s Local entity, it sounds like you are having some real dissatisfaction with Google’s Adwords department. I’m sorry to hear that. There is so much opportunity for Google to do better, and we’re going to keep asking them to reach for that.

  14. on 15 Jul 2009 at 11:13 am Sarah

    I work on the Google Maps team, and we’ve responded to some of these concerns in this blog post:

    http://maps-forum-announcements.blogspot.com/2009/07/weve-heard-many-stories-and-talked.html

    Please do check it out. Hopefully it clarifies some of the ways in which we do our best to support local business owners.

  15. on 15 Jul 2009 at 2:09 pm Mike Blumenthal

    Sarah

    As a long time observer of Maps, I have to say that your blog post did little to make me feel warm and fuzzy.

    I fully understand that you are upgrading your self serve options for support and that is as it should be. They deserve to be world class and I am glad that they are moving in that direction.

    But saying “we hear you” to a small business person that is smitten with one of the many Google plagues (i.e. merging with a competitor) is just not enough. They have nowhere to turn, there is no answer that people like myself can give them in the forum.

    In my opinion the automated support works well if you have solved the problems but there are cases where you just are going to have to come out of the cocoon and actually talk to smb’s instead of just “hearing” them.

    The post does little to clarify how you are going to support businesses that run afoul of the all too frequent “quirks” that still exist in the Maps world.

    Mike

  16. on 15 Jul 2009 at 2:28 pm admin

    Welcome to the SEOigloo, Sarah,

    Thank you for taking the time to link to the July 7th Water Cooler post. I had read that when it was published, and while I appreciate Google’s stated wishes to help business owners help themselves, I’m afraid that you and I (or Google and I) have have got a fundamental difference of opinion when it comes to Google’s handling of local business data.

    Let’s say I’m a billionaire, and I decide to run an extremely visible campaign – let’s say a series of professionally produced TV ads – announcing that Google is changing its address. Let’s say that my series of commercials told users that if they wished to find Google, they should no longer go to Google.com, but should go to dumdedum.com, and the prominence of my ads influenced 60% of the American public. Let’s say my highly influential campaign caused a 60% drop in Google usage.

    Would Google be happy if I told them I hoped they could help themselves out of the situation? I don’t believe so. Even if I set up a help forum for Google and all of Google’s users to talk to one another about the massive confusion I’d created. Even if I had a blog, without comments enabled on it, to let Google and its users know that I hear their pain. I can’t imagine any circumstances under which my approach would be considered legal, ethical or satisfactory. In point of fact, I imagine my hypothetical scenario would end with Google winning a lawsuit against my billion-dollar company for misrepresentation and monetary damages.

    For me, Sarah, the bottom line is that Google has created Maps by co-opting the data of business owners without their consent, and because of bugs in the system, is misrepresenting hospitals, doctors, shelters, service providers and retail business owners and causing them very real damages. Having a help forum which receives sporadic response from guides like yourself and having a blog with comments disabled on it does not meet the needs of these business owners whom Google has chosen to represent. Can you see that?

    At this point in the game, creating a phone support staff for all of these wronged and bewildered business owners would be the very least Google could do to start taking responsibility for the situation they’ve created with their flawed index. The intentional absence of accessibility on Google’s part is leaving many people with whom I’ve spoken with the belief that Google sees itself as somehow above the law.

    I know several very fine people who work for other Google departments and I truly value many of the wonderful technologies Google has made available to the public. But Google is standing on the wrong foot with their handling of Local and what I am holding out for is a real, ground level policy change in how your department approaches real-world local business data.

    Thank you, again, for taking the time to comment and I hope you will reply to my comment here.

    Miriam

  17. on 15 Jul 2009 at 5:13 pm Earlpearl

    Sarah: thanks for stopping by and letting us know how happy people are with google maps. Did you read the initial post?

    Here is sample of someone who has been working at getting a problem resolved since April. Still unresolved. Still seems as if Google hasn’t responded to help these folks.

    Lets see…the problem within Google Maps started in April

    Then there were 31 days in May…problem not resolved.

    June hit…another 30 days…no resolution.

    Its now July 15…that is another 15 days.

    Here is the thread…..

    “I’m doing some work for a business that has several locations. Two of the locations in two different cities have been merged with competitors’ listings. It’s causing serious problems for all four locations involved.

    * All 4 locations have verified the correct information through Local Business Center.
    * The merged businesses have similar names, but the addresses and contact information are completely different.
    * Everyone had re-verified their addresses, websites, and contact information, but Google still won’t split the listings.
    * I’ve updated directories that feed into Google, deleted and re-verified through LBC, etc., but nothing is working.

    I’ve read the other threads about merged businesses going back to April.

    If this has been going on since at least April, how much longer is it going to take? I estimate that some of the businesses involved have already lost thousands of dollars, and it’s causing a lot of tension between the businesses. Google is inserting this incorrect information above the main searches in this industry.

    I can’t post the links publicly, but if someone from Google would send me an email I could give you the business information and you could use these cases to help debug the Google Maps problems.

    Thank you

    All answers
    grep–o
    Level 1
    7/13/09
    I have permission to post the info now. Could someone from Google please fix this? Tourists to the USA are getting lost in NYC and Miami, and one or the other businesses are probably losing money.

    Merged businesses set #1:

    Jazz on South Beach Hostel, 321 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, Florida, 33139
    +1 (315) 672-2137
    http://www.jazzhostels.com/jazzsouthbeach.php

    The South Beach Hostel, 235 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, Florida, 33139
    +1 (305) 534-6669
    http://www.southbeachhostel.com/

    Jazz on South Beach Hostel was formerly at 235 Washington Ave, but then branched off to a separate location, which may be confusing Google.
    The businesses are merged here:
    http://is.gd/1xitx

    Merged businesses set #2:

    Jazz on the Park Hostel, 36 West 106th Street, New York, NY 10025
    +1 (212) 932-1600
    http://www.jazzhostels.com/jazzonthepark.php

    Central Park Hostel, 19 West 103rd Street, New York, NY 10025
    +1 (212) 678-0491
    http://www.centralparkhostel.com/

    The businesses are merged here:
    http://is.gd/1xiwx

    They are completely different addresses. The merging doesn’t make sense.

    Thank you”.

    All that submitting ….all that work on the parts of 4 different businesses.

    Out of curiosity, Sarah…are these some of the happy people to which Google’s water cooler piece referred?

    Do you think this answers the question? YesNoReport ab

  18. on 15 Jul 2009 at 10:04 pm bizsugar.com

    The Great Wall Of Google – A Short Essay On Communication…

    China started building its Great Wall in the 5th century to keep out its enemies. In the 21st century, the unwelcome party being kept out by the great wall Google has built around their company is you, the local business owner….

  19. on 16 Jul 2009 at 1:35 pm admin

    Dave,
    Thanks for documenting your less-than-happy experience with Google Maps. Merging confuses the heck out of everyone. I sincerely hope you can get this resolved, at some point.


  20. [...] Miriam Ellis noted, Google has been behind its Great Wall for the past months creating massive frustration among LBC users.  Even now, the newsletters [...]

  21. on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:24 am Marina Raimondo

    I have the same situation, where local google maps is using my personal address for a different business, and they are refusing to help me to remove this listing,I am very dissatisfied with their customer service, which is non existing, I believe this is illegal practice and every business must have customer service, if they dont provide it there must be some kind of penalty,ALL PEOPLE THAT HAVE THESE KINDS OF PROBLEMS SHOULD FILE CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT. Thank you

  22. on 26 Nov 2009 at 3:23 pm Ryan Orrock

    Google LBC should cost money.

    Then:

    1. Owners of listings can prove “they are real” and legitimate.

    2. Google can afford to provide support (heck, make the support line cost X cents/min as well).

    3. Companies can’t get “orphaned” on maps for more time than until the next credit card payment.

    4. Small business owners would receive more control over what is shown in connection with their entry–and why shouldn’t they be?

    And:

    People should only be able to provide negative comments if it can be verified that they are real people (through credit card, etc). Make the terms such that posting false or damaging information creates a cost to the poster. In other words: make it hard and not worth the effort to make incorrect bad (or incorrect good!) reviews.

  23. on 31 Dec 2009 at 5:04 am Year In Review: Local Search & Maps

    [...] it has been lambasted for its lack of Local Business Center support almost monthly by the Local SEO community. While [...]


  24. [...] the ongoing saga of Google’s terrible support for small/local business owners. Miriam Ellis wrote a marvelous article about that. And no one’s done a better job of writing about Google’s ongoing problems [...]

  25. on 19 Oct 2010 at 4:15 pm Jon

    After my own recent episode with Google I now see them in a new light. Semi-automated replies, vague policies, no feedback.

    What annoys me more than anything is the double standards. Google tells webmasters to make their sites transparent and have up to date contact details, yet they keep the most basic information hidden from us.

    Google “forums” are a joke. At best a “top contributor” replies that can only guess a solution to your problem.

    There is not just a great wall of Google but a smoke screen, dark wood and total blackout too!

  26. on 11 Jul 2011 at 10:36 am mushrooms benefits

    In all honesty. I read a blog that had this exact same post on it… there post seemed kind of spammy and think you might be the original owner? I just wanted to give you a heads up that someone is stealing your content.

  27. on 11 Jul 2011 at 10:57 am admin

    Hello Mushroom Benefits,
    Yep, I’m definitely the original author. Unfortunately, any content with any visibility runs the risk of being scraped by scraper bots or manually copied by spammers. It’s something we just can’t waste time on because it’s so universal. I do appreciate you taking the time to let us know and good luck with your mushroom site.

  28. on 06 Sep 2011 at 4:54 pm Dr. Carlotti

    In August 2008, a terminated employee put up a horrible libelous post on Google Maps of our surgical center (The Carlotti Center) calling my wife a “psycho” and the staff member who terminated her a “major cokehead.” Although we cannot prove it (because google won’t identify her, the post was placed right after she was terminated.
    For THREE YEARS we have pleaded with Google to do the right thing and take this defamatory post down and we have been wholly ignored. We have put up responses to this post and Google has apparently deleted them!
    Our small surgical practice is being harmed immensely by this post and it is grossly unfair. This post by its mere content is illegal and Google again has ignored us.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  29. on 07 Sep 2011 at 1:12 am admin

    Dear Dr. Carlotti,
    I’m very sorry to hear of the stress this has caused you. That’s understandable. Short of taking legal action, I would recommend that you consider responding to the review in a few, well-chosen and professional words. Google gives you the option of responding, as the owner of the business and it is my recommendation that you respond to all reviews, be they positive or negative. If you feel you might need some assistance with coming up with a well-worded response, our subsidiary business, CopyLocal.com offers a negative review response service for exactly this type of scenario. You can read more about this service here: http://www.copylocal.com/negative-review-responder-service/

    I would be more than happy to consult with you about this further, and you are welcome to contact me. The problem you have described is a serious one, and I understand how distressing it can be.

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