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FlatRate Moving™ Warns Consumers About False Google Places Reviews
Jul 12, 2011 (04:07 PM EDT)

Google Places is becoming considerably less reliable as scammers post flood of false reviews.

NEW YORK, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- As consumers become increasingly reliant upon peer-review services such as Yelp, CitySearch, and Google Places, companies must, in turn, rely on these same services to provide accurate information; this being especially true for companies within the service industry. However, a new trend in spamming has found a way to use these Google Places listings to cause irreparable damage to the reputations of otherwise highly rated companies. Google's seeming unwillingness to address these spammers has not only negatively affected the reputations of the companies but of Google itself.

These spammers employ several methods to undermine the quality and overall inaccuracy of Google Places listings:

  • Hijacking of listings
    • Fraudulently verifying business listings and changing information to a different company's name to steal their identity.
  • URL-switching
    • Changing the URL on a listing via the "edit listing" option or via false verification.
  • Phone-number switching
    • Changing the URL on a listing via the "edit listing" option or via false verification.
    • This is often done by placing either a competitor's phone number or a non-working phone number.
  • Address changes
    • Changing the address to invalidate verifications or to remove the listings from the area of competition.
  • Bad Reviews
    • Flooding listings with 1-star reviews from different anonymous accounts to drive star-rating down.

"It's Google's responsibility to make sure that their service is accurately portraying users' opinions of the companies on Google Places," said Jon Katz, VP of Sales and Marketing at FlatRate Moving. "In the past week alone our Google Places listings have suffered an attack of over 300 obviously fraudulent negative reviews!"

Companies like FlatRate Moving, rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau, suffer as a result of these attacks. The spammers, often working for unethical companies, use these black-hat methods to keep good listings at the top of the search results – while the morally sound companies with good reputations get buried.

After exhaustively reporting the issues to Google, and patiently waiting for the Google Places Quality Team to take care of these inaccurate and obviously fraudulent posts FlatRate Moving has realized that Google's Quality Team is virtually unreachable, and seemingly unresponsive. Unfortunately, there is not much that these companies can do without Google's immediate attention.

About FlatRate Moving™

Founded in 1991, FlatRate Moving™ introduced a completely new concept in moving by offering customers an all-inclusive, guaranteed, one-price move, with no surprise costs. Thanks to an unparalleled level of service, attention to details and the core belief in honesty and fairness, FlatRate Moving™ is a leader in the industry and redefining the way people think about their moving and storage experience.

Itamar Kestenbaum
555 W 25th St
New York, NY 10001
212.988.9292 x212

SOURCE FlatRate Moving(TM)