This time last year Google announced that Google’s Local Business Centre will become Google Places. Now Google have made some changes which punishes small businesses who operate using P.O.Box. This may not have been the intent but certainly is the case for some.
It is not unusual for self employed individuals such as web-designers, plumbers and electricians to operate using a P.O.Box. They don’t want users to know where their office/bedroom is located if they must publish their home address. To simply assume that businesses who operate using a P.O. Box is illegitimate is just not helpful to small business owners, who are the very people that Google to help.
Lina Paczensky from Google explains this decision as follows:
“Google Places is meant to facilitate customer interaction with brick-and-mortar businesses and service providers. Therefore, the business owner or employee who is officially authorised to represent their particular business location must have a physical address in order to comply with our quality guidelines. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations. Listings submitted with P.O. Box addresses will be removed.”
With a major shift towards online local search, a free business listing in Google Places is very helpful.
So what does one do? A few small business owners I know have simply lost their Google places listings as their address was a P.O.Box Numbers?
They were not given the opportunity or notified to edit their listing, instead it was removed and they had to go through the process of recreating a new listing. They need to lease an office or publich the location of their bedroom/office.
Since SMS verification has also removed during the application process, you need to wait for your postcard to arrive.
Have you suddenly found that your Google Places listing has been removed?
If so, we would love to hear from you.