rants from the dark side of marketing

Hijack Google Local listings

How to hijack listings on Google Local via SemPortland:

How to knock your competitor(s) off the top of the Local Search Listings and replace their listings with yours even if they’ve already claimed their listing.

Here’s a fun one.  First, you go to Google’s Local Business Center and attempt to claim the listings of your competition.  Google will let you go through the process but without confirmation, all your work is moot.  At the end, you get the option of choosing whether to “confirm” your information via telephone or postcard.  Choose postcard.  When you input the information that’s used to generate the mailing label, make sure you get the label to say “Attn: xxxxxx” and use a name that people will most certainly remember.

You wait a few days and then send your spouse / significant other to each location with the following story:

“My husband was here a few days ago.  He lost his wallet and he thinks this is where he lost it.  Has anybody turned in a missing wallet?”
“I don’t think so.  What was your husband’s name?”
“John Holmes.”
“Yeah, sure it is.  Really?”
“Really.  His name is John Holmes.  You have a problem with that?”
“Well, nobody has turned in a missing wallet.”
“May I leave you my card and if you find his wallet, will you call me?”
“Sure thing.”

Now, you’ve spent $5 at VistaPrint to get a bunch of cards printed up with her name (Katie Holmes), address and phone number (best to use a disposable Google Voice number).  She leaves her card and gets a card from the person at the business.  It’s unlikely that she’ll get a call back…but leaving the card gets them to remember her for when she calls back in a few days…

“This is Katie Holmes and I’m calling to see if you’ve found my husband’s wallet.”
“Nobody’s turned in the wallet.  But the darnedest happened.  We got a postcard here addressed to him from Google?”
“Really.  Can you read to me what it says?”

You’re now in control of your competitor’s local business listing to do with as you wish :.)

Of course you could just intercept the postcard or even the phone call, instead of relying on someone to read you the postcard over the phone.

Posted on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 8:43 am under Rants. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


plunge Says:

In the States at least, it would be much easier to stop their mail at the Post Office for a “vacation” hold, and then go pick it up yourself once the postcard arrives.

Charlotte Says:

Lot’s of work, but at least you are thinking. I would be careful to not do anything with the mail, like stopping it, going through it etc. If caught I am pretty sure it is a felony and not a good felony either.

countzero Says:

Committing felonies is not good indeed. However, not every country has the same laws regarding mail.

You could also pay a low paid employee to pass the activation code on to you.

daver Says:

I think it’d be more efficient to pour cyanide into their coffee. Pipe bombs are also very effective.

Seriously, people. Black hatting your site is one thing, but hijacking their listing is total bullsh*t. Grow up.

Plus, Google map misuse can land you in jail.


daver Says:

Also, this post fails to mention that that SEM Portland’s post went up on April 1.

daver Says:

Also, SEM Portland’s post went up on April 1.

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