Reporting A Closed Business To Google Places Update

I promised an update on the post I wrote on January 21, 2011 regarding reporting a closed business to Google Places via their report a problem link.

Approximately 1 month later (Feb 19 to be exact) I received the following response from Google via email:

Thanks again for sharing your local expertise with other Google users! We
have reviewed Bellwether because of your report.

If there is still anything wrong in our information about Bellwether on
Google Maps,
please consider updating it directly via the “edit” link, or reporting
another problem.

Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

If you click the link I’ve made live in the above message from Google, you will see that this rural gift shop’s Place Page now bears the message: This Place Is Permanently Closed.

I was glad to receive a timely response from Google – I think 4 weeks is really pretty good. However, the ‘permanently closed’ snippet doesn’t fully resolve the problem.

– I can still find this page if I search Google Maps for the business name and location.

– Because this listing still exists, what will happen when the NEW business that is moving into the old business’ location tries to create and claim a Place Page for that business? Will they be denied the ability to do this because the address is identical to that of a closed business? Will their data, if published, merge with that of the old gift shop so that phone numbers, reviews, citations or other data gets blended?

I’m not sure how all of this will pan out, and while it’s good that the ‘closed’ message will potentially keep travelers from going to this town to visit this out-of-the-way business, I am very curious about what will happen if the restaurant that plans to open in the building will run into problems.

Anyway, I wanted to keep my promise of reporting how long it took to get a response from Google about this, and for the record, it took about a month. Ah, the ins-and-outs of Local. They keep us on our toes.

5 Responses to “Reporting A Closed Business To Google Places Update”

  1. on 07 Mar 2011 at 7:53 am Vlad Rascanu

    That’s very impressive!!! 4 weeks? You’re one of the lucky ones. Google needs to increase their maps team given how many problems there are out there. Good luck to the rest of us trying to solve our problems. *sigh*

  2. on 28 Mar 2011 at 2:34 pm earlpearl

    Miriam: Today I ran into a situation that made me think of your January article and what happens when a new business replaces an old business at an address: Nice to know that Google responded to you….but what does that mean when it comes to the algo’s that dominate a places page?

    I looked at this places page initially by checking for a restaurant that has closed at that old address:,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=hang+gang+korean+restaurant+annandale+va&fb=1&gl=us&hq=hang+gang+korean+resta

    Its currently a Korean restaurant.

    The Places Page isn’t claimed. The location used to be occupied by an American fare Ribs restaurant…and the top sentiment analysis commentary reflect reviews from the previous restaurant that was evidently closed in early 2008.

    Not a good signal for whatever business occupies that site that you wrote about in January this year.

    One of the problems with the Google Places algo is that it doesn’t filter or block reviews from inappropriate businesses. That has been a miserable reoccurring problem for businesses that have merged listings.

    As time goes on, businesses will open and close. The Google Places Algo will be filled with information with inappropriate businesses.

    Its a small problem now. Its going to explode over time.

    Hope they get around to fixing that.


  3. on 28 Mar 2011 at 2:54 pm admin

    Hey Dave,
    Thank you for thinking of this post when you saw this issue. Now, I just tried to access the link you sent, and I am getting the Place Page for the new Korean restaurant but it is essentially blank with almost no details and no sentiment analysis.

    Did you report this somewhere, Dave? Is Google following you…reading your mind??? Haha.

    Wonder why it would suddenly change like this. Could be a bug, of course.

  4. on 28 Mar 2011 at 4:02 pm earlpearl

    Try this link from to the record. Then go to the Places page: You will see the sentiment analysis. Most of it refers to the place that closed in 2008.,or.r_gc.r_pw.&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=hang+gang+korean+restaurant+annandale+va&fb=1&gl=us&sa=N&tab=lw

    Oh yeah…a 2nd problem. Looks like there are 2 Places Page!!!! OMG!!!!


  5. on 28 Mar 2011 at 4:11 pm admin

    Got it, Dave.

    And, you know, the troublesome thing is that if you click through to something like the Judy’s Book listing, the new business name is present…but the old review is definitely there.

    There needs to be a ‘wipe slate clean’ function when a new business moves into a previously-occupied building. After all, this happens every day.

    Thanks for sharing this scenario. Han Gang is in for trouble and customers will doubtless come in asking for BBQ (maybe they serve it?)!

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