Over the past two years ALOA has fielded the following complaint from frustrated locksmiths with increasing frequency: “The scammers have hijacked my listing and are stealing my calls. My call volume has dropped and no one will help me!” This complaint can evolve from a number of...
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Common Question: There are lots of ads that DON'T have an address (perhaps even your own ad) listed. Why do I have to list mine?
The simple answer is: You don't have to CLAIM your ad; you can leave it without the address but be aware that it is susceptible to being ‘taken' from you by the clever but unscrupulous people we discussed earlier.
This point is central to entire issue of scammers; the scammers don't mind using fake addresses. If you don't have a business address, one option would renting space in a business center (not Post Office Box). The drawback there is having a customer potentially showing up at the business center. However, this can be mitigated by including a message in your ad that says, “Mobile Only” or “Address for Mail Only.” This would also keep you in line with the ALOA Code of Ethics.
Step 13. Once you have corrected and filled out your information, click submit at the bottom of the page. (Figure 14)
Step 14. The next screen (Figure 15) is the validation screen. This is the most important step and you can mess this up if you aren't ready. It gives you two options. One is to verify by Phone and one is to verify by postcard. If you select the phone option, Google® will call you immediately (or in five minutes if you choose that option) on the phone number listed in the ad. If you use an answering service, they may not know how to react to this phone call…so call them and let them know what is going on BEFORE you click the button. On the phone call, Google® will give you a five-digit numerical code that will have to be entered onto the screen.
If you choose the post card option, Google® will send you a post card in about one to two weeks with a code number on it that you will have to enter into your account later to claim the ad.
If you have a shop or a suitable mail location, it is BETTER to take the post card option…why?
Google® could virtually eliminate the scammers from their directory by REQUIRING post card validation of any address in their system. This would prevent a company in New York for example from taking out thousands of fake ads in another city with fake addresses simply because they would have to go to those address and get the post card to get the code number!!! This has been formally suggested to Google® as a solution to their ‘locksmith' problem.
Step 15. Once you get your call or your post card, you can return to your Google® Account and select the Local Business Center (Figure 16).
Step 16. You will see the ad that you are trying to claim and a place to enter the pin number that you received by phone or mail. (See figure 17) Once you enter the pin number you will get a notification on the screen that you have successfully claimed the ad.
Step 17. After this is validation is done, you can simply go to your Local Business Center to make changes in the future. However, be aware that if you make a change to the telephone number or mailing address, it will require you to ‘Re-Validate' that information in many cases. (
Congratulations, you have just claimed your Google® local ad and helped deny scammers a revenue source based on your hard work and reputation!
If you have multiple locations or phone numbers you should repeat this process for any ads you have on the Google® Local Business Center.
Possible What If? Scenarios
Q. What if I find my ad but someone has already claimed it?
A. Google® has set up a report form at http://maps.Google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=maps_spam to help report spam abuse. You can easily find this page by typing “I found spam” into the Google® search engine; the page you are looking for is at the top of the page. The form is very self-explanatory and gives you a place to say, “Hey this is my business name and someone else is using it!” Sometimes these are resolved very quickly other times they are not.
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