Google + Local (Google Places) *SCAM* - A warning to all Warriors.

by Kung Fu Backlinks 90 replies
I have received SO many PMs and emails about this, I have to speak out.

I know I'm going to tick off many people. There are some big names on the WF promoting these methods... I'm not sure if they even realize what they are doing, but regardless, I'm writing this to save offline consultants from getting caught up in a very big problem that will ruin their reputation, their business and their client's business.

The scam?

Selling leads via fake Google + Local listings.

*Note to clarify* this is not about ranking websites and renting those out. Nothing wrong with that. Absolutely. This is specifically about G+ Local (Google Places listings that are created for lead gen and not for a specific company, named after that company and owned by that company.

Now I spend a lot of time in the Google Local arena - following those experts that regularly communicate with upper management at Google and really KNOW what's going on.

Here's a fact: Google knows about fake listings and they are very diligent in removing

them.

Here's another fact... it's EASY to spot these fake listings!

If I'm working for you, I'm going to report your competitor if they're posting fake reviews or have a fake listing. Anything FAKE, I'm going to report, because then I'm keeping the listings clean and I'm doing a better job for you.

Believe me... I'm not the only one willing to do this for a client.

But why have these scams been so widely perpetuated?

In my opinion... greed.

And here's where I'm going to get myself into trouble... from what I can see, these methods are being taught by those selling the software or WSOs to support this method of doing business.

Do these methods work?

Perhaps... but not for long. I promise you that. But here's the greater danger:

Let's say you work hard to rank one of these fake listings and then you start seeing the call volume pick up.

You hit the phone like mad to find a business to sell the leads to. Of course, you're probably going to find someone, but here are the problems:

1) You've already set yourself up as someone that does not do things by the book. If you find a business owner that doesn't care... you have to ask if that is the sort of company you want to do business with.

Any business owner that doesn't know any better is obviously trusting you, the expert, to do the right thing. And of course... you're violating that trust.

2) You could wake up one day and your account is banned. Poof - there goes your income stream. Google and the REAL experts working in the field are very diligent in removing fake listings and even those listings with fake reviews.

3) It would not be difficult for Google to find out who's collecting the leads. This could lead to their business being blacklisted.

It would also be easy for a competitor to find out who's stealing all their business. They need only report the listing to get your client banned. So you've now put an ignorant business person (who trusted you) at risk. I would imagine this could open you up to a lawsuit, as well.

Imagine your business client is a member of the Chamber of Commerce or BBB. Their competitor sees what they are doing and makes it known to others in the business world. You've now ruined their reputation. Even if they
manage to convince people they didn't know any better... the damage has been done.

Your reputation is then ruined as well. Good luck getting any more business in your area.

In the end, this is what it boils down to:

- You're building a business on a foundation of deception and trickery. This business is an unsustainable

business that puts your clients at serious risk.

See the scam for what it is... you're buying information from people that don't even work in the field and you've become a hapless victim.

Stay FAR away from leasing fake listings, creating listings without a real business address, and from posting reviews on behalf of a client.

There are too many legitimate ways to help people with G+ Local and get them ranked. There's no need to resort to these other methods.

I hope this helps some people.
#offline marketing #google #local #places #scam #warning #warriors
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I know exactly what and who you are talking about.
    I completely agree with you.
    Thanks for bringing this to the fore front for others!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jubu
    I don't know 100% what you are referring to. Is it like making a general plumbing site and then selling the leads?

    If it's like that then I don't think there's an issue.

    But are you saying they make a fake Google Place and then make fake reviews of that place? That is pretty bad if so. I'm sure there's some liability there especially if it's for attorneys.
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  • I'm trying hard not to be too specific... as there are many people promoting these methods. I'm not singling out any one person or group.

    But people in this forum need to know what to watch out for. I get so many emails and PMs about this method... We all invest time, money and energy into building a great business, and there's nothing worse than investing all of that into a business model that is nothing but hype and deception.

    And I wrote up a clarifying statement above... this isn't about site rental. Nothing wrong with that at all. If you want to do lead gen, do it with a website, not with a Google + Local listing where the rules against such a thing are so explicit.
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  • Profile picture of the author murphyslaw
    Gotta watch for this then. Thanks for the heads up!
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  • Profile picture of the author maxrezn
    And this is why I enjoy you taking my money to take care of this stuff for my clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author mcfcok
    I bought a course on this method a while back, being new to offline marketing I jumped in and bought the course.... feel somewhat cheated now.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Thanks for posting about this as I've never supported using fake Google Places/Local listings to make money and you are 100% right. Now have I done fake listings? Yes I did in the past, in order to test a method for ranking before using it with real clients.

    Ranking a web site in the organics to sell leads is one thing, turning around and creating a FAKE Local plus listing to go with it in order to rank and sell leads is as you said, against Google's Terms of service.
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post


    Here's a fact: Google knows about fake listings and they are very diligent in removing

    them.
    As much as I agree with your opinion on fake listings, I have to disagree on how "diligent" Google is in removing them... I've seen too many situations where a company with only ONE real location has multiple map listings, yet Google refused (or didn't get to it...) to remove those extra listings, even after complains from the competition...

    Thomas
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Google can't get to all the fake listings even in a timely matter but also understand that Google themselves create duplicate maps listings at not fault of the business owners as well.

      Originally Posted by SirThomas View Post

      As much as I agree with your opinion on fake listings, I have to disagree on how "diligent" Google is in removing them... I've seen too many situations where a company with only ONE real location has multiple map listings, yet Google refused (or didn't get to it...) to remove those extra listings, even after complains from the competition...

      Thomas
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      • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
        Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

        Google can't get to all the fake listings even in a timely matter but also understand that Google themselves create duplicate maps listings at not fault of the business owners as well.
        That's true. However, I was talking about a plumbing company that created listings for multiple locations using "virtual offices". If I remember correctly, they only had one or possibly two real locations. I know the competition complained about it to G, but nothing happened. On the other occasion, I've noticed another company using their employees' addresses with tracking phone numbers. It would possibly be OK, but only if those addresses were registered with the state as servicing locations. They weren't. You need permits and liability coverage for that...

        BTW, it wasn't in my market, but I was aware of the situation through some of my buddies in the business. Big cities, big competition, big bux...


        Thomas
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        • As far as I know Google requires a confirmation to set up a profile in Google places .
          They sending validation code by traditional post, probably to avoid this sort of scams.
          At least recently in UK...
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          • Profile picture of the author MONEYDON
            Originally Posted by smallbusinesstoolkit View Post

            As far as I know Google requires a confirmation to set up a profile in Google places .
            They sending validation code by traditional post, probably to avoid this sort of scams.
            At least recently in UK...
            I just changed a google plus listing in NC for a lady who owns sub sandwich shop. It used to be an old Quizno's, and i just did one for a demolition company whose old webmaster was acting like 2 yearold. So anyways, i just did a phone verification. So basically u could have local virtual office, register a domain name with the city tag on the end like ToppsPaintingBostonMA, go to Net 10 buy cheap $20 dollar phone and have them register the phone with that area code, PRESTO, u now have your local G plus listing.
            Good Luck
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  • @Max LOL my pleasure

    @mcfcok - I'd get my money back.

    @Rus - Glad you agree. I know you are on the up and up, and I appreciate you chiming in.

    @SirThomas - that surprises me. Without knowing the specifics, I can't really comment. I will say that listings can be removed but the removal won't be visible for weeks since these sorts of updates are done in a batch and only happen every 4-6 weeks I'd say.
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  • Profile picture of the author kcom
    I have one of those so called WSO's, at the time I thought it was a God send. I never did implement it though, after awhile it became to fishy in the smell test. Way too late to get a refund, chock it up to lesson learned.
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  • Profile picture of the author betsyanne
    I am glad you shared this with us. I know I have seen some offers here and I think I would have done like kcom, and realized AFTER I spent the money that it was not legal. So I will be checking out every offer carefully.

    So far I have loved every offer I have read or bought. But I have not bought a Google+ offer. Thanks for the heads up!
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  • Yeah, the post card verification definitely helps with that. Unfortunately, there are still loop holes that some exploit to create listings without a post card.

    Tricks like that make Google prohibit virtual offices and that ruins it for genuine business owners that have no other option than to use virtual office space because they don't have the budget for anything else and don't want their residential address plastered all over the net as a citation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cay78
    Well said Patrick. I know exactly which WSO's you are talking about. Thanks for the heads up!
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    There are 2 types of people in this world....those who get it and those who don't. The ones that get it know exactly what we are talking about. The ones who don't are left scratching their heads.

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  • Thanks, man. I knew the good folks in this part of the forum would rather build a business the right way.
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  • Profile picture of the author AussieT
    Yeah bought a couple of the "build a fake GP listing with fake phone number and fake address" type WSO's in the past. Of course you only find that out after you pay your money!
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  • Profile picture of the author BreakingRetail
    Offline Marketing Discussions Forum has yet again proved to be a very honest and caring part of WF.

    My partners and I have just finished working on our offline business website, thanks for shedding the light on us in these great times of darkness.

    Thanks again KFB.
    Cheers from Toronto!
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  • Profile picture of the author laracoates28
    Sooo.... Can you actually make fake listings with phone verification still in the UK? I don't really see anything wrong with it if you are providing a business with good leads and helping them stay in business. It seems like a win-win to me!
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  • Well... looking at all the possible consequences above, I would hope you could see what is wrong with it. Especially since you can so easily provide this business with more customers by doing things the right way.

    When it's so easy and so lucrative to do things the right way, there's absolutely no good reason to resort to creating fake listings and selling leads to the highest bidder.
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  • Profile picture of the author HumDog~USMC
    So it's ok to create a lead gen website but not ok to create G+ page to go with it? It's "ok" to piss in my cereal just don't piss in my scrambled eggs!

    I don't know of anyone who tells people it's ok to make fake reviews... That is clearly against TOS. But if I have a lead gen site with a virtual address then why would I not use that same address to create my G+ page to go with my website? It's my website and my customers who call looking for a service I provide! If I get them to post on my G+ page what is wrong with that. I own the assests therefore can't get fired by a finicky client!

    I sell the leads that come in to my business. Nothing illegal about that. Lead gen is a business. Owning a website and G+ page, and FB page all connected is not illegal.

    Writing fake reviews is. I don't know anyone who advocates that. If they do then they should be called out on it.

    If you do everything above board you don't have to worry about Google penalizing you!!!

    If you want to get hired to do offline customer work on their G+ page then go for it. But to scare people into not doing something legitimate is pretty lame imo...
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  • Profile picture of the author SolutionsGuy
    I am one of those lead gen site guys you are talking about here. However, what I do not do is post fake reviews. Not only is that against Google's TOC, it is against the law (I believe), which can result in FTC issues. However, I do create "fake" G+ Local listings and tie them to real virtual offices one can actually visit. This I know is against Google's TOC. That is the risk I take. Since I own all the web properties, if Google kills it, that is the worst they can do. As for the customer's reputation? Dude, its not that bad. You think the WF is the only place where you can find lead gen type offers? Well, you should know that there are much larger and powerful engines at work doing the same thing. Also, when I build a lead gen site, it is heavily decorated with my customer's logo, name, business address, actual offers, BBB link and the like. It is as real as they come so be easy with how you describe the practice. For those of you who have not tried this or failed at it, well, I can understand why you are jumping on this bandwagon.

    I for one do not believe in tearing down another in order to climb up and I feel you are borderline here. I don't care how you say it, the WF is not the place to do that bro.

    Jae Presence - Lead Gen Expert
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  • First this is about fake G+ LOCAL listings (formerly Google Places) NOT about lead gen sites. I cannot be more clear.

    Anyway... I hate to argue, but you guys bring up enough points that I need to respond for the sake of others.

    HumDog... I'm talking about G+ Local listings. Not G+ Pages. Big difference.

    But in case you meant the listings...

    It's my website and my customers who call looking for a service I provide!
    Unless you're a plumber, a dentist, a chiropractor, etc. These customers are looking for a service you do NOT provide. You shouldn't be making listings posing as someone who does. The names on the listings must be the actual legal name of the business. If you're putting anything other than that in the "business name" field, you're breaking the rules.

    If you do everything above board you don't have to worry about Google penalizing you!!!
    I think I've clearly shown that creating fake G+ Local listings is NOT above board. That is the whole point.

    I don't know of anyone who tells people it's ok to make fake reviews.
    Posting reviews on behalf of clients to a G+ Local page is posting a "fake" review. No matter how you slice it. There are services that do this. And there's no reason to resort to these tactics when there are so many other ways to get reviews online.

    If you want to get hired to do offline customer work on their G+ page then go for it. But to scare people into not doing something legitimate is pretty lame imo...
    Sounds like you're accusing me of posting this just to get business. I contribute a lot to this part of the forum... do you? and I post this to help others in this forum.

    Also notice your labeling of this practice as something "legitimate." We MUST be talking about different things here, because creating fake G+ LOCAL listings is in no way "legitimate."

    No scare tactics... just facts posted above.

    SolutionsGuy:

    That is the risk I take.
    Wrong. It's the risk you and your client take.

    tie them to real virtual offices one can actually visit.
    Having an office where people can "actually visit," is not the only criteria for creating a legit listing.

    As for the customer's reputation? Dude, its not that bad.
    How bad does it have to be before it's unethical to put a client in that position? And who do you think should make that call?

    Also, when I build a lead gen site, it is heavily decorated with my customer's logo, name, business address, actual offers, BBB link and the like.
    I'm not talking about lead gen sites. Read more carefully, please.

    For those of you who have not tried this or failed at it, well, I can understand why you are jumping on this bandwagon.
    So if you are successful with creating fake G+ Local listings, then it's okay?

    Strange criteria.

    I for one do not believe in tearing down another in order to climb up and I feel you are borderline here.
    If you want to label calling out unethical and potentially harmful business practices as "tearing down," then I will tear down as often as I can.

    I posted this because I receive messages from many warriors that have been sold a business model (creating fake G+ LOCAL listings) that puts businesses and reputations at risk. If that doesn't ring true for you, you can move on. This thread isn't for you.

    Here's how I would describe a fake listing:

    - it is a listing created with any business name other than the business that will ultimately service the client. Just use common sense instead of using semantics to try and justify the listing.

    ie: "Best Plumbing Services Inc." is not an actual plumber, no license, nothing, but sells plumbing leads to "Joe's Plumbing Inc."

    This is a FAKE listing. It is not owned by the represented business, but rather, a lead gen company.

    There's nothing wrong with lead gen through sites, videos, etc. But G+ Local listings are supposed to represent local businesses as they are in real life. Fake listings are expressly prohibited by Google because they junk up the listings and force Google to remove nice perks from real business owners in an attempt to combat the flood of fake listings.

    I hope this helps some.
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  • Profile picture of the author killerkash
    There's something here I think you are failing to understand. There are a lot of business owners out there which fall into the category of either not being able to lay out the money required to rank a web page on the top of plus local or organically OR they are just not well informed enough and consider this to be far too risky to attempt this themselves or hire someone to do it because there are NO guarantees of when or if you'll rank in the top three. That's reality.
    So, I take the ENTIRE risk to develop and rank a site with the idea that if and when I start to receive calls for the service or product then I can find a suitable business to handle the leads my site is creating.
    When a suitable partner can be found then and only then, I will incorporate that site to be that of the suitable partner with all of their photos, images, NAP etc.
    Now, if you are REFERRING TO ME and telling ME I am UNETHICAL then WE (you and I) have a REAL PROBLEM!
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  • Profile picture of the author DevilDog
    This is ridiculous, you sound like a mouth piece for Google? Google forces us to work within their system, the one they created. They don't have altruistic goals. Their goal is only money and they change the game to their advantage at every possible chance. Why shouldn't marketers exploit their system (the game they started) to make money as well? Do you really believe that they care about search? If that were the case, then they would not have merged places and plus. They did that because they are losing to facebook. Plus didn't compete as they expected.

    Google makes 500+ algorithm changes to search every year to obfuscate SEO so that people get tired of trying SEO and just do PPC. PPC is what delivers for the shareholders, the only people Google answers to. It wouldn't surprise me if eventually, the top ten/first page results were all paid! (not my original thought, read it somewhere but cant give credit where it is due, but completely agree).

    So you probably don't do any intentional back-linking because it would not be natural back-linking, right?
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    • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
      The issue here is not an ethical one in my opinion... The listings wouldn't be a 'scam' or something that is trying to screw people. The phone number rings to a real local company doing the service they're looking for, and a virtual office is able to receive mail, just as well as an office building. The issue with calling out all VO users is that even those who are the actual contractor working from their home, can't compete with someone who spends $10,000 a month on office space.

      Even IF someone paid Google for PPC ads for local terms, CTR is way down because they simply like to see a placemarker, and if you look at this, you'll see people's eyes are SIGNIFICANTLY drawn to the G+L listings.



      I don't understand why Google or anyone think it's deceiving or misleading that if you're locally based, and selling services locally, local phone number, why you have to be pushed completely out of the local results, because you don't spend thousands a month on physical office rent.

      As far as fake reviews, I couldn't agree more! They are not only against the rules and the law, but UNLIKE a proxy G+L profile, they are ethically wrong.

      To anyone who wants legit ways to get REAL reviews, read this blog post I wrote about 10 ways to get real reviews.

      Furthermore, if you're truly against all methods of 'gaming Google's system', some of the backlinking methods in your G+ services would fall under that wouldn't they?
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    They dont need a virtual office.
    They can use their home address, and choose not to display their address.
    I don't understand your point.
    Are you familiar with setting listings up?
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    How would his methods be "Gaming, the system.
    You create content for users, like videos and submit them to video sites.
    This way people can learn about or learn more about your business.
    Is it his fault Google gives priority to their own sites before others?
    Same thing with images. Submitting images to image sites, so prospects can learn more about the business.
    Creating citations: There are sites that are set up for REAL businesses to submit their details so that the users of those sites get more knowledge resulting in a better user experience.
    ALL OF WHICH GOOGLE IS OKAY WITH.
    READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE.
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    • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
      Originally Posted by vndnbrgj View Post

      How would his methods be "Gaming, the system.
      Settle down there chief.. And what I'm referring to is his backlinking methods. I am not sure where it is now, but at one point he offered blog spam, spun articles and a few other methods that are just as against Google TOS as using a proxy address. I'm not endorsing this practice one way or another, I'm just stating the facts. If you are against one thing because it's against Google TOS, you need to be consistent.

      EDIT:

      So let me ask an honest question: Do you use ANY methods of SEO against Google TOS? That includes any backlinking apart from manually moderated business directories and manually submitted relevant links? Do you use black hat links even on 2nd tier or 3rd tiers? If not, I will take your opinion with full respect.

      Disclaimer: I'm not endorsing the use of proxy G+L listings, nor have I ever done it, I'm simply contributing to the ethics argument for it.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    No, I don't see the need.
    I don't always rank number one, but I still rank in the top 3 for all my clients.
    The people that are ranking number one are using black hat methods, and I know that after the next couple of updates they will loose their rankings and I will go to number one.

    Look... if you create an article and submit the article to article directories.
    Then turn that into a video and submit the video to video sites.
    Take the PPT from the video and submit it to PPT sites.
    Take the audio from the video and submit it to podcast sites.
    Take the images from the video and submit it to pic sites.
    Take the article, turn it into a PDF and submit it to doc sharing sites.
    Take the article and turn it into a blog post. Submit the blog post to social media sites.
    Post classified ads on that service and have it link to the blog post.

    You have a good amount of links from quality sites. You don't need to do a whole lot because those sites get crawled quickly and the links matter more than spammy blog posts.
    I don't. Think I have to game the system I just get the most use out of each piece of content I create.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    ^^ There you go, simple local SEO in a nutshell.
    You can hand that off to an outsourcer pretty much word for word.
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  • I seem to have missed a lot of this, so I'll do my best to respond:

    The issue with calling out all VO users is that even those who are the actual contractor working from their home, can't compete with someone who spends $10,000 a month on office space.
    Straw Man #1

    I'm not calling out all VO users, at all. In fact, the ability to use VOs was ruined for those legit businesses you're talking about because other people use them to create fake listings. Do you now see how real businesses are harmed by this practice?

    As you said... unless you can afford commercial real estate, you're going to have a tough time getting a listing. Too bad we can't use virtual offices, eh?

    re: Gaming the System...

    Let's take these sort of comments in context. The issue is creating fake listings and the very real harm it can do to a business' local reputation and even its ability to use the G+ Local network.

    at one point he offered blog spam, spun articles and a few other methods that are just as against Google TOS as using a proxy address.
    This is just false information.

    But regardless... Google cannot dictate how someone builds links on the Internet. Google doesn't own the Internet. It owns its own SERPs, and that's it.

    On the other hand... Google CAN dictate how one uses a Local Listing system that it owns and controls. It CAN say that it's not okay to create a listing for a fictitious business.

    Let me elaborate... the company name on a business listing in G+ Local MUST be the name of an actual, registered business... AND that same business needs to be the actual business that is servicing the market to which the listing will be visible. It's just common sense.

    If you are against one thing because it's against Google TOS, you need to be consistent.
    Straw Man #2

    I'm against fake listings for one reason - it hurts businesses. It hurts the client, it hurts the consultant, and it even hurts other businesses, as you yourself seemed to have noticed already.

    I don't see where I've mentioned Google's TOS as being my reason for not liking the practice. If I've ever brought it up, it will be in the context of saying that by blatantly breaking the TOS in creating a fake listing you risk your client's business on G+ Local and their reputation in their local community.

    As far as linking goes, we do high quality work. Not "spam." Fortunately, Google can never presume to instruct me on how to distribute content or share it over the FREE Internet.

    I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but you've misrepresented my position and attacked a couple straw men here. I hope I've cleared things up a bit.
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    • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      As you said... unless you can afford commercial real estate, you're going to have a tough time getting a listing. Too bad we can't use virtual offices, eh?
      You guys got me confused here... lol

      Has Google changed the rules of who can get a listing? Aren't people allowed to use their own personal address to claim the listing, anymore?

      Thomas
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  • Profile picture of the author hydrationmax
    Brilliant. I spend all my time making sure I do things right because I want to build a proper business, supported by the website and it takes time and patience...I steer away from anything improper and am sure I will reap the benefits.
    Great post. Thanks you.
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  • Yes, they absolutely can. The trouble is, few want their residential address all over the net - something that must be done (citations) to rank well. That made VOs an attractive option... but now small business owners that don't have a store front need to look for other options.

    I didn't mean to say that residential addresses weren't an option.

    Now that we're on that topic, though. It is really important you hide your residential address, even if you see clients there, because Google reps are most likely going to assume you don't and will delete / suspend the listing. It's best just to play it safe and hide the address as they state in their guidelines.

    I hope that clears it up
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    • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
      Quote:
      at one point he offered blog spam, spun articles and a few other methods that are just as against Google TOS as using a proxy address.
      This is just false information.
      It is? I remember saving your packages before to a txt file, because I was going to hire you for a few clients. Are you saying I'm lying that you offered "3 tier linking, 50 private blog posts, social bookmarking & blog comments" to the G+L profile, or are you saying that all of those links were organic and all of those blog posts are written by hand and not spun? Again, I'm not attacking you for YOUR tactics, in fact I was looking to hire you, and still might. I just want to see where I'm wrong.

      The ONLY linking that isn't against Google TOS is manually moderated directory linking (ie. DMOZ & Yahoo), and organic linking. (others linking to you). Google (via Cutts) would call any link built for the purpose of the link, not white hat. Anyone who says otherwise is just not honest with themselves.

      On another note, I am not SO set in my ways I can't have my mind changed... I could see the possible frustration with competitors if they all the sudden saw a bunch of fake companies popping up. I guess we're talking 2 different things here. I'm not talking about a FAKE company. The company is real, the number is local, the business sells services locally, and just because the business owner hired someone like you or I to deal with their online presence via a proxy address, doesn't make their business any less legitimate. If you think it does then I guess we'll have to respectfully disagree.

      Again, I'm not talking about putting up "fake" listings and kicking all other legitimate businesses from the results, I'm talking about simply being ALLOWED INTO the results, that's all.
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  • Hey Kyle,

    First, I respect that you're obviously a person that values the right kind of knowledge. That's why I have no problem hashing this out with you.

    Those linking services you're referring to are clearly published in my thread and on my site, but your description of them isn't accurate.

    The blog posts are not spun and no where on my site or in my sales thread does it say they are. You've made a false assumption. In actuality, they are syndicated content. In fact, I used to run a linking service that specifically stated that we do NOT spin content, we syndicate it. Big difference, and there are plenty of content marketers that speak of the same way of doing things. You can even find SEOMOZ speaking extensively on the topic.

    So... I object to labeling them "spam." It's unfair given the very little information you have about my service and the blog posts themselves. Of course... if you're using Google's definition of spam, well, then you're absolutely right.

    I am aware of Google's stance on link building, and I whole heartily disagree with it, but that is neither here nor there... note my above comment... my view of abusing G+ Local listings isn't rooted in my objection to breaking Google TOS (as if the TOS is some holy of holies and should never be questioned), but rather I don't like the abuse of the system because of the risk to the client. THAT is what you should be seeing in my original post. If not, I blame my writing skills and not an apparent double standard.

    I think it's unethical to put clients at risk when they don't know any better and the consultant should. As the experts, we need to be the ones to protect clients from themselves.

    Just ask Linda Buquet (a well-known expert in the field) about her experiences with clients that have been hurt in this way. Can you imagine doing something like this, costing a client a huge amount of business AND their reputation with local businesses or even regulatory bodies! You'd absolutely be ruining their business AND opening yourself up to massive legal repercussions.

    Now, I would assume that 99% of consultants get in this situation because they lack the right knowledge. That is why I wrote my post. After getting so many PMs and emails, I saw that many many offline consultants were being sold a seriously-flawed business model. Knowing better, how could I keep quiet about the whole thing and still sleep at night?

    I work hard at my business, just like everyone else here. I wouldn't want to make a stupid mistake that could ruin everything, and if I can stop some others from doing just that, I'm going to speak up.

    So... define "fake" listing however you wish, friend, but in the end, you're playing with fire, and you can't say I didn't warn you.
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    • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      Hey Kyle,
      Of course... if you're using Google's definition of spam, well, then you're absolutely right.

      I am aware of Google's stance on link building, and I whole heartily disagree with it, but that is neither here nor there...
      Thank you, at least we're on the same page now.

      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      I think it's unethical to put clients at risk when they don't know any better and the consultant should. As the experts, we need to be the ones to protect clients from themselves.
      That is probably the best argument you've made. Not that it's unethical to use a proxy address, but that it would be unethical to put clients at risk. Good call. The same can be made with just about any SEO available. It's definitely worth considering the risk.

      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      Just ask Linda Buquet (a well-known expert in the field) about her experiences with clients that have been hurt in this way. Can you imagine doing something like this, costing a client a huge amount of business AND their reputation with local businesses or even regulatory bodies! You'd absolutely be ruining their business AND opening yourself up to massive legal repercussions.
      Do you have a link for this circumstance? I'd like to read it, and thanks for the resource.

      Considering you warn against breaking the TOS in THIS instance (G+L), let me toss out 2 related questions (not having to do with lead gen but still having to do with proxy addresses). Have you ever had clients who work from home (contractors for example), and how would you advise them to get listed and ranked in G+L without listing their residential house?

      Additionally, how would you advise a business who has 2 or more businesses operating in the same address? For example, I know a CPA who works in an office in her husband's print shop. Both are legitimately located there, but can't use the same address for reasons you of all people know. Unless you can somehow get a legit suite number, I don't know what other than a proxy address could work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vincent Garner
    Completely agree with thread....

    thanks for sharing this on FORUM!
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    Could you guys explain what TOS are you talking about? TOS for Google - the search engine? or TOS for G+ and other "regulated" services/software?

    I would like to see the terms of "service" for their search engine. The only way it would make any sense is , if you actually entered into a contract or an agreement to be included in Google search... And this is not the same as Google indexing your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Kungfubacklinks (If that is your real name!)

    I read this thread and agree with pretty much everything you say. One thing that still is unclear to me. How is this going to hurt a client?

    You build a Google plus listing without a real vendor. You then assign a vendor to have calls forwarded from the phone number in the listing. The only connection the vendor has is that the calls are forwarded to them. The worst thing that can happen is that the calls would stop, and I would lose that Google Places listing.

    Are you talking about branding the listing (or attached website) in the vendor's name?

    I bought a WSO about this, and I thought it was innovative. I hesitated in implementing, because frankly, in the bigger cities, there are already companies doing the exact same thing. And I thought it would be odd to have the first three listings from referral companies. Are you talking about referral companies too?

    If this would hurt my client (the one I'm forwarding the calls to), then I would never do it for that reason. But I'm unclear how this would hurt a client.

    If I missed something in an earlier post, I'm sorry. You may have answered this already and I just missed it.

    By the way, the discussion you brought up is one that has been nagging at me for a few weeks, and I'm glad you brought it up. Thanks.
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  • @SirThomas

    The main issue is the impact that breaking Google + Local Guidelines / TOS had on the client. Where G+ Local is concerned, you're using a service they provide (local listings and Google + network) so you do have to watch their guidelines carefully to avoid the problems I mentioned above.

    @Kyle

    That is probably the best argument you've made. Not that it's unethical to use a proxy address, but that it would be unethical to put clients at risk. Good call. The same can be made with just about any SEO available. It's definitely worth considering the risk.
    I thought I was making that argument from the beginning LOL oh well.

    And yes, ANY SEO could do some harm to a business. I remember reading a case study on JC Penny and some terrible SEO practices that were going on there. It cost them a lot of business because Google had to knock them out of the SERPs until they got their act together.

    For SEO, fortunately, there are many things you can do to protect your client. Not so with the G+ local listings, though.

    Do you have a link for this circumstance? I'd like to read it, and thanks for the resource.
    Here you go:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ml#post6980113

    Have you ever had clients who work from home (contractors for example), and how would you advise them to get listed and ranked in G+L without listing their residential house?
    First, I want to say that I have had clients list their house address and use that address in citations, etc. So not everyone is against it.

    But because of the major problems using VOs now, an honest business person is only left with two options that I can see:

    1) Get an inexpensive office. I have met some that use inexpensive space in more industrial areas. NOT storage space, though. Obviously, you can't use a self storage unit as an office locale.

    2) Get office space from a friend with an established business. Many business owners are members of a chamber of commerce, etc. so it may not be difficult to network a bit and see if anyone has space to offer in exchange for a modest monthly rental fee.

    Now I am NOT suggesting you just use someone else's address. I'm suggesting you see about renting space from them. This option isn't without some difficulty... no doubt the primary on the lease will need to clear it with the landlord and the client may have to clear establishing a suite number that the address.

    Now I have been able to find inexpensive office space before for clients. Get the client to speak with a Realtor or something to see about getting inexpensive space. Heck, even Google "cheap office space" LOL see what comes up.

    On a final note:

    If you're not going to be able to have people drop in unannounced, or you're only at that office periodically, you need to hide the address in the G+ Local listings, too.

    If you're using your residential address, ALWAYS hide the address, even if you see clients there 24/7. Google reps are going to see a residential address and there's a high probability they'll just suspend the listing.

    Additionally, how would you advise a business who has 2 or more businesses operating in the same address? For example, I know a CPA who works in an office in her husband's print shop. Both are legitimately located there, but can't use the same address for reasons you of all people know. Unless you can somehow get a legit suite number, I don't know what other than a proxy address could work.
    Actually, they absolutely can use the same address. 2 different business types, different names and different phone numbers. They'll have no problems if the address is the same. Just make sure each have a website with clear NAP and good citations.

    I think it's great that they share space like that. That's exactly what I would suggest other business owners arrange. It's economical and avoids all this VO hassle.

    @Claude

    The worst thing that can happen is that the calls would stop, and I would lose that Google Places listing.
    See here:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ml#post6980113

    and read more above, too.

    Google can absolutely restrict the business receiving the leads from having a genuine listing in the future. They go so far as to request scanned business licenses and even call businesses at random to test if they are at the location stated on their listing. They do all this even AFTER a business is verified. I know this firsthand.

    I also mention that a significant loss of face in the community is very likely. If I were a member of a Chamber of Commerce or another community business group, I would make sure everyone knew of the owner that was resorting to these methods.

    If you put a business owner in this position unawares, you could be opening yourself up to a lawsuit. I know I would seek damages if someone brought me into that mess.

    And don't downplay the loss of a listing. Getting a listing ranked well (at least for worthwhile niches) takes a lot of time and / or money. As I mention somewhere in one of these threads LOL... many of the people I do work for do extremely well doing things the right way. There's no reason to resort to these other tactics.

    Are you talking about branding the listing (or attached website) in the vendor's name?
    No. A website can easily be changed, but a listing name has to be a legal business name. They cannot just be changed on a whim, the listing would lose rankings and perhaps go into limbo forever.

    The only way the lead gen works on these things is if you use one name and stick with it; otherwise, all the citations and links you built up to get the thing ranked are rendered void. That's just the way G+ Local works.

    I wrote a suggested alternative to all this mess here:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ml#post6978849

    I may expand on all that sometime soon as there seems to be some demand for it.

    I hope that helps, mate.
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    • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      @SirThomas

      The main issue is the impact that breaking Google + Local Guidelines / TOS had on the client. Where G+ Local is concerned, you're using a service they provide (local listings and Google + network) so you do have to watch their guidelines carefully to avoid the problems I mentioned above.
      Yes, I am aware of the consequences with G+. Every time, you submit your listings to someone's directory or community, you are subject to their rules. I just thought it was interesting to read that Google search engine had terms of service...

      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      Now I am NOT suggesting you just use someone else's address. I'm suggesting you see about renting space from them.
      or renting a desk with mail delivery. There are plenty of warehouses, shops or office buildings that will share/rent by the hour/day and you can use their address to accept your mail. I am not talking about virtual offices, but actually sub-renting or just getting a desk. The best place to find this kind of options is on Craigslist, in their "office/commercial" section.

      I am surprised that nobody started an "office by the hour" business, to offer Google qualified addresses centrally located in major cities...:-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    This thread is becoming popcorn time! All the posters justifying breaking the rules is so much fun to read!
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    • Profile picture of the author deu12000
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      This thread is becoming popcorn time! All the posters justifying breaking the rules is so much fun to read!
      Says the guy that has "Broke all the Rules" in his sig and sells a scraper. Sorry I couldn't resist.

      At the end of the day most of us are breaking someone's rules and usually it's Google's in one way or the other. I don't see anything wrong with "gaming" the system period. I buy software for automation that breaks all kinds of sites rules. I use techniques that the search engines and sites don't want me to use. I create listings that sites would prefer I don't create. They are really just ways to stay competitive.

      You can't really make the argument that breaking google's search TOS and breaking google + local's TOS is any different. It's the same thing. If you get caught using shady tactics on search you can be banned just like breaking TOS under local.

      As far as fallout like getting black balled in your community or whatever, I find it highly unlikely that anyone except for competitors cares about manipulated ranking. And your competitors might bad mouth you anyway because they don't like competition.

      A lot of companies are manipulating ranking in one way or the other. Tons of companies are just trying to get a competitive advantage. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a Chamber of Commerce meeting and said, "XYZ Roofing has grown incredibly over the last year due to the internet, how's he doing that? I need to find out how they're getting so many paying clients."

      Sure there could be people that don't like it, but it's like regular SEO, you can either adapt to stay competitive or stay in the abyss on page 99 of google.

      Some techniques are more unethical than others but if you're not scamming, ripping anyone off, stealing their identity...

      This is like the people that hate cold callers, it's an argument/discussion that no one will win because you can justify everything you do in either direction.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
        Touche! But you are right, I'm just privy to two sides of the conversation going on in this thread so for me it's becoming kind of like a drama unfolding! hehe

        Originally Posted by deu12000 View Post

        Says the guy that has "Broke all the Rules" in his sig and sells a scraper. Sorry I couldn't resist.

        At the end of the day most of us are breaking someone's rules and usually it's Google's in one way or the other. I don't see anything wrong with "gaming" the system period. I buy software for automation that breaks all kinds of sites rules. I use techniques that the search engines and sites don't want me to use. I create listings that sites would prefer I don't create. They are really just ways to stay competitive.

        You can't really make the argument that breaking google's search TOS and breaking google + local's TOS is any different. It's the same thing. If you get caught using shady tactics on search you can be banned just like breaking TOS under local.

        As far as fallout like getting black balled in your community or whatever, I find it highly unlikely that anyone except for competitors cares about manipulated ranking. And your competitors might bad mouth you anyway because they don't like competition.

        A lot of companies are manipulating ranking in one way or the other. Tons of companies are just trying to get a competitive advantage. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a Chamber of Commerce meeting and said, "XYZ Roofing has grown incredibly over the last year due to the internet, how's he doing that? I need to find out how they're getting so many paying clients."

        Sure there could be people that don't like it, but it's like regular SEO, you can either adapt to stay competitive or stay in the abyss on page 99 of google.

        Some techniques are more unethical than others but if you're not scamming, ripping anyone off, stealing their identity...

        This is like the people that hate cold callers, it's an argument/discussion that no one will win because you can justify everything you do in either direction.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    It is hilarious, just like anything else in life people are going to justify why it was okay to break rules and try to sell everyone on why they are right, as if that makes it okay.

    Really guys if you want to break the rules JUST DO IT and be prepared to deal with the consequences.
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    Google could stop all of this nonsense with one quick move: make everything alphabetical or even better - random! No preferential treatment whatsoever... I am not saying, it would be better. But we wouldn't have system gaming.
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  • Profile picture of the author vndnbrgj
    I have a hard time believing all scrapers violate the rules.
    Look at the on in my sig... it gathers info that is already readilly availabe, just saves me the time of looking through each listing maunally.

    To the person that made the Stupid Assumption that everyone is breaking rules, needs to get a reality check. Not everyone has to get ahead by breaking rules.

    All Kung Fu was doing was trying to make more people aware.
    There are people that prey on selling shady stuff to newbies.
    Ever heard the saying "Buyer Beware"?
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  • Profile picture of the author deu12000
    Of course "Buyer Beware" and everyone should do their due diligence prior to purchasing items as well as services. It's not a stupid assumption that everyone is breaking the rules. I'm saying a lot of people are breaking "the rules". The rules aren't laws, they are just rules.

    I'll give you an example of how much scrapers are loved. Open up Mobile Renegade since it's in your sig (I use this program, great program by the way), scrape the first 20 pages of Yellow Pages USA for 20 different niches in 20 towns with your IP address. Before you get through that list and finish scraping Mobile Renegade will likely give you an error something like, "Your IP has been banned from Yellow Pages." I know because this happened to me. Now I use proxies which is a way of circumventing the ban from Yellow Pages. Is it ethical? To some it is, to some it isn't. Is it against Yellow Pages' rules? Probably. Is it illegal? As far as I know it's not.

    Yellow Pages is a content aggregator, just like search engines and directories. They let you freely view their information, but they want you to see their ads and make money off of you as a visitor to their site. By using a scraper you're completely circumventing their monetization of their content. Do you think they are happy that you are using their bandwidth without even looking at their ads or any opportunities to sell you something?

    Anyway like I mentioned these are arguments where everyone has different opinions and to me there is no right or wrong answer.
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    • Profile picture of the author Falkonator
      I just saw an ad on Craigslist where a guy pays you $50 to use your address.

      He says that Google will mail you a postcard. Just email us the PIN and we will pay you $50.

      People are getting very bold and sneaky about this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Google is going to start requiring a valid business license soon. Watch and see. They well know all the sneaky little tactics people are using to break their Terms of Service.
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  • Funny you should say that, Russ I've already had clients contacted for this very purpose.

    They were already verified and weeks went by before they were contacted out of the blue. They had to scan their business license and send it off to Google. We verified the request before following through, of course, and the other Google reps confirmed that the request was legit.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheCG
    I wonder why Google thinks providing a business license PROVES a business is legit?

    There are many municipalities that do not even require a business license to do business.

    In the ones that do, anyone can go in and the city/county will gladly take their money for it whether the business is real or not and the average cost of one is so low (under $100) the players will happily make that small investment.

    Looks like to me that the business license requirement isn't something that will prove anything.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      Every state requires registration of any business so I don't know what rock you've lived under.

      Originally Posted by TheCG View Post

      I wonder why Google thinks providing a business license PROVES a business is legit?

      There are many municipalities that do not even require a business license to do business.

      In the ones that do, anyone can go in and the city/county will gladly take their money for it whether the business is real or not and the average cost of one is so low (under $100) the players will happily make that small investment.

      Looks like to me that the business license requirement isn't something that will prove anything.
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      • Profile picture of the author TheCG
        Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

        Every state requires registration of any business so I don't know what rock you've lived under.
        I don't live under a rock, Russ but thanks for your concern about my living situation.

        I guarantee you I can go out right now and get a license for as many businesses as I want in many different states as long as I have the money to pay for said licenses.

        The fact is that a business license is not a guarantee that there is a legit business and no license does not mean that there is not a legit business as there are plenty of places that do not require one.
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        • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
          Your avatar looks like you live under a rock bro.

          You are right, however your perspective isn't the same as Google's for example. They have their own ideas about it regardless of what you or I say or think.



          Originally Posted by TheCG View Post

          I don't live under a rock, Russ but thanks for your concern about my living situation.

          I guarantee you I can go out right now and get a license for as many businesses as I want in many different states as long as I have the money to pay for said licenses.

          The fact is that a business license is not a guarantee that there is a legit business and no license does not mean that there is not a legit business as there are plenty of places that do not require one.
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  • Profile picture of the author SirThomas
    biz license in Washington state is $15...
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  • Profile picture of the author kylemarvin
    First off, I want to say it's quite upsetting how some of the people in the forum get so belligerent and are complete a-holes to one another whenever they have a difference in opinion or methodology. Can't you just state your opinion and back it up with your research and experience? Do you really need to belittle, call names, insult and attack people? I hope I'm not the only one here who feels this way...

    Back on topic... If Google required a business license it would still not be a fool proof way of stopping lead gen companies from doing business. How? Because XYZ lead gen company also has a business license, and can get a DBA in whatever name that site is in. It might weed out some amateurs, but it wouldn't weed out anyone making money. Not stating opinion on that, just the truth.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
      I was only trolling theCG who has blurred his face out for whatever reason i don't know. He claims its because he's in the witness protection program. snicker snicker. = )

      Originally Posted by kylemarvin View Post

      First off, I want to say it's quite upsetting how some of the people in the forum get so belligerent and are complete a-holes to one another whenever they have a difference in opinion or methodology. Can't you just state your opinion and back it up with your research and experience? Do you really need to belittle, call names, insult and attack people? I hope I'm not the only one here who feels this way...

      Back on topic... If Google required a business license it would still not be a fool proof way of stopping lead gen companies from doing business. How? Because XYZ lead gen company also has a business license, and can get a DBA in whatever name that site is in. It might weed out some amateurs, but it wouldn't weed out anyone making money. Not stating opinion on that, just the truth.
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      • Profile picture of the author TheCG
        Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

        I was only trolling theCG who has blurred his face out for whatever reason i don't know. He claims its because he's in the witness protection program. snicker snicker. = )
        Anyone with an ex-wife ought to be in witness protection.
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        Yes, by the way, I AM in the Witness Protection Program. I could tell you who I am but then I would have to kill you.

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  • Profile picture of the author scottgallagher
    wow - insightful. Thanks for this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Guess what happens when Google rings your clients up or even you up for that matter to ask you questions about your local plus page, your business etc. and you don't answer the phone?

    You find that your local plus page is suspended pending review, you might even have to go through verification again!

    Is that really fair? Nope its not really fair but hey that's Google's perspective on the matter and that's that.
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    • Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      Guess what happens when Google rings your clients up or even you up for that matter to ask you questions about your local plus page, your business etc. and you don't answer the phone?

      You find that your local plus page is suspended pending review, you might even have to go through verification again!

      Is that really fair? Nope its not really fair but hey that's Google's perspective on the matter and that's that.
      Unfortunately, they do exactly this. No guarantee you'll get rankings back if you get out of "suspended" limbo, either =\
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      • Profile picture of the author TheCG
        Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

        Unfortunately, they do exactly this. No guarantee you'll get rankings back if you get out of "suspended" limbo, either =
        I have no doubt that Google does this and I am not defending bogus local pages.

        My point was simply that if they want "proof" that a business is legit, a business license ain't it.
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        • Originally Posted by TheCG View Post

          I have no doubt that Google does this and I am not defending bogus local pages.

          My point was simply that if they want "proof" that a business is legit, a business license ain't it.
          I wasn't saying you are, mate

          And I completely agree that it is a poor way of verifying businesses. I have run into cases where legit businesses were hurt by those tactics... really dumb.
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    • Profile picture of the author sadneck
      Originally Posted by Rus Sells View Post

      Guess what happens when Google rings your clients up or even you up for that matter to ask you questions about your local plus page, your business etc. and you don't answer the phone?

      You find that your local plus page is suspended pending review, you might even have to go through verification again!

      Is that really fair? Nope its not really fair but hey that's Google's perspective on the matter and that's that.

      Interesting, I never knew this is what Google did, but I answered a call from them yesterday, (I thought it was a tele-marketer,) and they did ask me to verify everything. lol. I answered the questions correctly anyway!

      Andrew
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  • Lol good thing you answered correctly I've heard of them suddenly hanging up when the owner doesn't answer quickly enough and then the next thing you know.... the listing is gone. Talk about nightmare.
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  • Profile picture of the author netcapital
    TO KUNG FU BACKLINKS

    I would like to chime in here a bit. I completely understand what you are saying as far as "fake" Google Listings, but you also need to understand 2 things

    1). as long as people are "hiding" the listed address, it is not spam since people can receive a post card pin via their Home Address. Even if a business owner files a Fictitious business name, LLC, Incorporation and creates a listing at a registered and "leased" virtual office, that is legit and does NOT hurt a local business. It doesn't matter how many Virtual Offices they want to buy, just as long as the business name is real and has been registered with the county clerk or state so I honestly don't see where you are getting your information. Yes there is a lot of crap and spam in Google local but I understand why in my number 2 reason

    2). Google doesnt give a rats ass or hoot about the local business owner. All they care about is their PPC and making their site look more and more Social to compete with Facebook and appeal to the consumer (searcher). If they didnt charge $20 or even sometimes $50 for a PPC click then maybe people wouldn't "spam" the local search. I am assuming you are a local business owner considering your "backlinks" in your user name, but you are NOT a local business owner / provider and directly serving on Google. You have to not be so biased in this regard and try to understand what people are trying to do. You can't blame the local business owner who is barely making ends meat because Google wants to change their algo every 15 minutes or charge $50 bucks a click. Ridiculous.

    If someone registers a their business name with the County Clerk / State and wants a Virtual office that IS a REAL location there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't be able to have a Local listing on Google. You gotta remember... its OK to put a FAKE address on Pay Per Click, but you CAN'T have one on Google Places. Seems pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Try not to be such a biased "FIGHTER of SPAM" and try to understand what people are doing here. Not every Virtual office is SPAM especially if a business owner is Paying for that office space. In my eyes now and days he is actually being smart instead of leasing for $1,000 a month, he gets to use a real office whenever he wants for only $100 a month.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Jett
    All I can say is. Yup, told you so. Basically as KungFu spells out happened to a medium sized Heating/Air company in Dallas area. This "so called guru" calls them up, says he can provide them with more hot leads and getting them from their competition will be like taking candy from a baby. Mr X the owner says "are you sure this is on up and up"? Sure the "guru" says.

    Fast froward four months. So called "guru" is nowhere to be found and pocketed crap load of money...

    Needless to say their main site dropped from front page (natural search) of the big G and only way to find it is type in their "exact" website URL. Not many people are going to do this when searching for a company. Mr X's companies adwords campaigns were also suspended until "further notice" and these campaigns brought them huge chunk of business from many surrounding cities..

    Sadly this is happening more and more. Even sadder is no matter how much money you pay some other "guru" to repair the damage, will not do a bit of good. Big G is going to decide when you can get back in...

    I know this story well. Mr X dropped my services because the "so called guru" told him he could run circles around me and would put me out of business within 6 months. LOL.
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  • Profile picture of the author David B.
    A month or so ago, someone local where I am, ran ads in Craigslist for people to use there address for Google Plus local verification and he will pay them $50.

    He actually spelled what its for and that since the address will be hidden no one will coming around thinking its the business's address.

    I report fake listings and reviews when I come across them.
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    • Originally Posted by David B. View Post

      A month or so ago, someone local where I am, ran ads in Craigslist for people to use there address for Google Plus local verification and he will pay them $50.
      I've seen a lot of those too and have told Google management about that and other scams I find.

      Just found this older thread Patrick, but am glad you wrote it. There are far too many scammers out there and they make it harder for the ethical businesses.
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  • Well said Patrick We at SSA don't support unethical or fake listings most people don't realize what they getting into it risking fines,listings being greyed out,disappeared,removed,ect. In my opinion those listings are only short term solutions not for the long run of a clean reputable business.
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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    Totally agreed on fake listings! I am exactly the same way I report fake listings left and right and appreciate this post, I get a lot of people asking me about this as well, maybe even more so because I help people with listings that they have had troubles getting live (but in no way does this mean a fake listing) but just like all the blackhat link building hows that working out for all of them right now lol
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    • Profile picture of the author Terry Jett
      Originally Posted by NateOlsen View Post

      Totally agreed on fake listings! I am exactly the same way I report fake listings left and right and appreciate this post, I get a lot of people asking me about this as well, maybe even more so because I help people with listings that they have had troubles getting live (but in no way does this mean a fake listing) but just like all the blackhat link building hows that working out for all of them right now lol
      This really none of my business if something going on between you and the thread starter, but confused? Here you say "appreciate this post" and now you are saying something wrong with it?

      Like I said, really none of my business but when something has me scratching my head, just have ask. My nature
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      • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
        I guess I didn't really understand he was targeting me until I had potential clients asking if I was a scammer and my account is new and I am just going to take there money and run even though they never even read this post just saw the title and so I appreciate the post, I don't appreciate the title or the way it was gone about!
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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    lol I think this is one of those things that we will never get everyone to agree on and when it comes to marketing there is a lot of grey areas I totally disagree with fake listings such as, see what has become of the locksmith's, tons of fake locations created by people in other countries.

    That's not ok but if those same people decide to pay Google in adwords they can advertise fake business all over the internet and rip people off so if we are going to play the moral card as others have stated Google is guilty!

    I think your post is to help others or warn others of the risks involved with these types of listings, but I think you went about it the wrong way lured people in with Yahoo type headlines to find it's not really a SCAM it's people using blackhat techniques and selling these type of services.
    Does that mean I agree with fake listings no. Does it mean I am going to post a thread named Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) *SCAM a warning to all warriors if you hire 90% of the SEO providers you are going to get your stuff penalized and end up on page twenty because of there back linking techniques are going to trigger Penguin.

    I have received lots of feedback from clients worried that I may be a scammer because of this post which is wrong because I never have posted a listing for fake listings if a client gives me a fake NAPW and wants me to verify it that is there problem! I have no way of knowing if the business is legit or not. Do I think you are targeting me as one of the groups? I have no idea, The only reason I am posting this is because I wanted you to know the negative effect this post has had on me *The new guy on the forum 2 months and running* and according to the warrior forum I should address this with the person posting it, So I hope your intentions were legitimate to help other warriors and not a poor marketing ploy to hurt your competition's reputation with words like SCAM and warning to come in as the hero and reap all the benefits.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Jett
    Ok, just wondering Nate.

    If you have proof, why not take to the forum masters?

    Again, not trying to get involved and do not want to but had me scratching my head.

    Best of luck,

    Terry
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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    The forum rules say to take it up with the poster
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  • Profile picture of the author derekcaldwell
    I just posted this but this seems like a great place to ask for info:

    I have a client whom he pays these guys $49 per keyword. One such site is Experienced Plumber in Bellaire, TX - White Glove Plumbing and this site is one page 1 of Google Plus Listings for many keywords around Houston like "plumbers in Bellaire" which is a suburb in Houston. That is just one of many keywords and sites they do for my client. I know they control the site and number and get $49 per keyword per month. My client wants me to do it since he likes me and wants me to learn the system. But I've tried to figure this out and I am sure there is so much "shady" stuff involved I don't want to get involved. However, I'm so curious as to how they are beating the system. I mean these guys can create a 4 page website, create a plus page, not verify it with a fake address and in 2 days this website is ranking on 1st page. HOW? HOW? I'm stumped, confused and have what i thought was a good understanding of internet marketing. Please don't give me a moral speech. I am just curious. Even if I knew how to do it I might try it using my own address and a service I could lease out like to my neighbor who is a painter. But long-term I know it always comes to a end. But my client says these guys have been "duping' Google for 4 yrs now. How so fast i ask?

    Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Terry Jett
      Originally Posted by derekcaldwell View Post

      I just posted this but this seems like a great place to ask for info

      Thanks.
      Even if you can find someone to spill all their hard learned tactics right here for the world to see, you would most likely get 100 different methods.

      There are many ways to rank. You will find that 99% of these "top rankers" use slightly different methods. Not everyone can use the same exact ones, just does not work that way.

      One+ key I have learned and will share: Aged domain, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (and of course G+).

      Bottom line: most any person/company has spent 1000's of dollars to obtain or learn how to rank and sharing with the world is not going to happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    There is lots of things they could be doing but generally companies like this have created a ton of listings Years and Years ago and they just change info each time they sell it to a new client and generally they do it in low traffic cities or suburbs because there isn't much competition. But there is several ways they could be accomplishing this.
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  • Profile picture of the author NateOlsen
    Exactly you might get bits and pieces but never the whole picture, I personally think they probably have aged listings and probably fake locations in the centroid of the city which BTW isn't the center of the city it actually is the center of the industry so where most of the industries group in a city.
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  • Hmmm well it seems I took a break from the forum at the wrong time.

    I guess I didn't really understand he was targeting me until I had potential clients asking if I was a scammer and my account is new and I am just going to take there money and run even though they never even read this post just saw the title and so I appreciate the post, I don't appreciate the title or the way it was gone about!
    @NateOlsen, I can't understand why anyone would think I'd be targeting you with this thread LOL

    You'll see this thread was started Sept 2012 and your forum join date is Aug 2013... Do you honestly think I had you in mind when I created this thread?

    Funny enough, this thread was started for the exact reasons I stated in the OP, and if I had anyone in mind as a scammer, it was those perpetuating the idea that these lead-gen / fake listings were a sustainable business model (also previously stated).

    I have received lots of feedback from clients worried that I may be a scammer because of this post
    Well, I wouldn't be able to guess why a client of yours may connect you to what I was speaking about in this thread, but if you've been in this business for any length of time you should know that scammers are everywhere, and having to reassure a client (or potential client) of your legitimacy shouldn't be taken personally. You've got careful clients. Good for them.

    I hope your intentions were legitimate to help other warriors and not a poor marketing ploy to hurt your competition's reputation with words like SCAM and warning to come in as the hero and reap all the benefits.
    What I described in this thread absolutely is a scam. I wasn't sensationalizing the issue at all. The word commonly used to describe illegitimate and unethical business practices is "SCAM".

    See http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scam:

    "a dishonest way to make money by deceiving people"
    "a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation"

    The scam was this: supposed experts in G+ local peddling guides and software to unsuspecting offline marketers (nice folks in this forum), selling them the dream of creating dozens of lead-gen G+ local listings to make money. The only people that made money off that tactic were the ones selling the lie to fellow Warriors.

    At the time of its writing there were numerous WSOs and software products being sold to build a business based on lead gen listings. Around this time I started to receive a lot of inquiries about creating these listings. Being new to the forum, you don't have the proper context perhaps to understand the environment when I first posted this thread - I say that sincerely and not as an insult.

    And I'm surprised you would presume to say that I would write a shock-and-awe article just to boost my PR. I have never pulled stunts like that and never will. I've been around here a while and I don't think anyone could accuse me of unethical business practices.

    @Terry Jett, I want to thank you for giving everyone a testimony to the damage that can be done to an unsuspecting business owner.
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    • Profile picture of the author SomeRandomBadger
      Thanks Kung Fu Backlinks for this thread - it cleared up a couple of uncertain areas for me.

      Just additional question though...

      If I'm building lead gen sites to rent out that are NOT using Google+ Local at all, just the organic site rankings, what do you suggest I use as an address when using directories for link building?

      Would a VO be the best option in this case?

      I've just started this strategy for a client and am finding most directories listing local business need an address. So far I've been under the impression is OK/safe to use a VO address in these other directories, as long as I'm not using it to try and rank in the G+ Local listings.

      Any comments appreciated!

      Thanks,
      Ryan
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    • Profile picture of the author bluecoyotemedia
      I wonder if it would be the same if the work that you do for your clients can also be damaged???

      possible...



      Originally Posted by Kung Fu Backlinks View Post

      Hmmm well it seems I took a break from the forum at the wrong time.



      @NateOlsen, I can't understand why anyone would think I'd be targeting you with this thread LOL

      You'll see this thread was started Sept 2012 and your forum join date is Aug 2013... Do you honestly think I had you in mind when I created this thread?

      Funny enough, this thread was started for the exact reasons I stated in the OP, and if I had anyone in mind as a scammer, it was those perpetuating the idea that these lead-gen / fake listings were a sustainable business model (also previously stated).



      Well, I wouldn't be able to guess why a client of yours may connect you to what I was speaking about in this thread, but if you've been in this business for any length of time you should know that scammers are everywhere, and having to reassure a client (or potential client) of your legitimacy shouldn't be taken personally. You've got careful clients. Good for them.



      What I described in this thread absolutely is a scam. I wasn't sensationalizing the issue at all. The word commonly used to describe illegitimate and unethical business practices is "SCAM".

      See http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scam:

      "a dishonest way to make money by deceiving people"
      "a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation"

      The scam was this: supposed experts in G+ local peddling guides and software to unsuspecting offline marketers (nice folks in this forum), selling them the dream of creating dozens of lead-gen G+ local listings to make money. The only people that made money off that tactic were the ones selling the lie to fellow Warriors.

      At the time of its writing there were numerous WSOs and software products being sold to build a business based on lead gen listings. Around this time I started to receive a lot of inquiries about creating these listings. Being new to the forum, you don't have the proper context perhaps to understand the environment when I first posted this thread - I say that sincerely and not as an insult.

      And I'm surprised you would presume to say that I would write a shock-and-awe article just to boost my PR. I have never pulled stunts like that and never will. I've been around here a while and I don't think anyone could accuse me of unethical business practices.

      @Terry Jett, I want to thank you for giving everyone a testimony to the damage that can be done to an unsuspecting business owner.
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  • @RyanTurner - great question, and not one I've thought about before. Without having ANY knowledge about using VO's for other directory sites, I'm guessing it would be against the ToS of some. But I'd be surprised if the consequences could be as severe and damaging as those experienced when dealing with G+ Local.

    But now that I say that... if you put a VO in other directory sites, it's only a matter of time before Google scrapes that data and considers creating a G+ Local listing. Would that listing then get enough attention to put you at risk of a ranking penalty for either the G+ Local listing or the site? I honestly don't know.

    Now you can geo-tag your sites and put the city name + local phone number in the site's citation. You can then link from local classified ads and other local sites that don't require an address. Back when I used to rent sites, doing that + social media activity in the local and niche spheres was enough for top rankings. May want to try that before doing business directory listings.

    You can still grab citations on YouTube, Dailymotion, other social sites and web 2.0 sites. So you're not left without options.

    Hope that helps a little =\

    @BCM - sorry, mate. Maybe I'm tired, but don't quite grasp what you're saying lol
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  • Profile picture of the author adcentrex
    With so many changes on Google+Local, are you able to get top placement on Google Places ? We can get you there.
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