Categories: Technical issue? :

Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado

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Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Barry Oliel 8/18/13 1:40 AM
Wonder if anyone can help with this...
The local listings are flooded with fraudulent information. 
1. Report a problem button is not working or Google is backed up on spam report, but it doesn't help.
2. We are seeing now some legit locksmiths who are going out of business. 

If there is ANYONE in Google who actually care about small businesses and can climb down from the Olympus where Google, FB and Yelp are fighting over who's more "Local".. there are some real people down here on earth who had to shut down their business just because the customers cannot find them on the map. 

I've attached a screen shot, one out of many for a simple search "Locksmith Denver". 
I will post all the URL's that I can find and hope that you will choose to take real action, to help save local businesses from being extinct. If not for us then do it for your advertisers.. because what if the customers will choose Yelp for local results since Google cannot deliver? With the smartest algorithm out there, if Google cannot identify spam in it's own system, maybe it's time to change the algorithm, start going through the listings manually or simply admit that the product is not working? 

My business comes now on page 12(!), here is a list of about 50 fake businesses that shows up before. Why?

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/18/13 1:56 AM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/18/13 2:13 AM

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/19/13 8:39 PM
Update: Spam website for rent (To the higher bidder), with zero local content and stuffed keywords, this website will soon be integrated with the maps. 
Help removing it from the index by reporting webspam at this address:

As far as the maps i posted earlier, no response so far, in the past day the spammers probably generated money while Google did nothing to stop them. 
Here is a list of more spam listings, we'll try to reach 500 by the end of the week.
Is it so hard to verify local businesses? Maybe Google should drop that ball and leave it to the pros.. More local businesses are closing everyday, putting their trust in Google handling their advertising and deliver the best local results. Can Google be liable just because it not doing enough (if any) to stop it? Microsoft once was accused of being a monopoly because it controlled the internet (By installing IE browsers). Can Google become (If not already) a monopoly because it controls the search results, and taking zero actions, causing small businesses to go under?

With great power comes great responsibility! It's time that Google will find a solution to all of this web spam and spammer who are targeting local markets, simply because it kills real small businesses.
It's time for the authorities to take action, since all those "spammers" are not paying taxes, operating under misleading names and running ghost companies. 

Google, every day counts. With every search that I'm doing I'm getting a message "About 21,300,000 results (0.22 seconds) ". Clearly, you guys know the importance of time. So I don't expect a solution in 0.22 seconds, but 24 hours to remove fraudulent listings from your system is more than enough. In the past 24 hours another small business has been closed and the owners of these fake listings took home few thousands of dollars from Google users. Users who put their trust in Google when they did a search for local services. 

With Google users migrating to another search engines, advertisers will leave. It may seem like it's small business problem, but in fact, it will become Google's main problem if you'll choose to take no action. Global is local, that's how Google started, all I'm asking is for Google to help us keep using the products, create a better verification process to eliminate abusive usage by spammers and remove spam listings from the maps. 

But.. let's go back to the spam listings - tonight "Locksmith Golden" (Colorado) & "Locksmith Commerce City"...
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/19/13 8:44 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/19/13 8:55 PM
Locksmith Castle Rock

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/19/13 9:03 PM

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado chrstphr 8/23/13 2:49 PM

Mr. Local, 

I'm a locksmith in the Kansas City area. We're having the same issue so I can only just say I totally agree with what you say. Google is responsible for the horrible search results on the Maps (as well as the patently fraudulent ads in their Adwords space).

The response is inexcusably slow. I can identify a spam in seconds, and can even travel across town and interview the owner of the store whose address was stolen and take pictures of where the locksmith IS NOT, all in under an hour per spam. Google's work to investigate and act upon what I report would amount to less effort than that, I'm sure. So, why can't the multi-billion dollar company invest more in the quality of its product and stop publishing and then retaining spam that's not just a deception of Google, but more importantly a deception of Google's users who end up getting ripped off for trusting Google's publications?

There are pretty obvious patterns among the spammers.

Mr. Local, I wonder if you noticed, while collecting your lists, how many of those spams had a link to their website? Approximately what percent chose to verify their identity further than just giving a business name/address/phone number, by adding a website url as well? Closer to 0 percent than to 100 percent bothered to give a website, maybe?

Good luck. I'll continue compiling my own lists. I don't want to detract from yours here. Just wanted to say I know what you're fighting against, and agree that Google could do way better than they do.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/23/13 5:23 PM
Hi Again, 

I'm not blaming Google for this, they have much bigger projects then small business to take care of. I was just pointing out that people around me are closing their businesses and it's sad because these are the same people who will have no money to buy in Amazon or eBay in the next Christmas. And I think that eBay spent 50 million in the past year in Google AdWords products. so.. I think that in the long run, Google is hurting mainly Google. Small businesses will find a different ad-space, with them, big advertisers will follow the crowd. 

I suggested before, few times, that Google will add an upload field to problematic categories, with minimum requirements (Sales tax, business license or trade license). I'm sure that if they could teach Picasa how to recognized faces, that can install a cheap OCR module that will verify businesses (Or even verify manually). 

I don't think that it's OK for them to let you, as a locksmith, to monitor your own group (I know I would remove some legitimate locksmiths who does nothing but give this trade bad name - without ripping off people).

Try to add your listings to my list and if you know of people who will join and willing to make a change, lets try to make a change. Lets ask Google to add an upload field to the locksmith category on the maps and remove everyone who cannot upload supported documents. I understand that the Google places is a free product and maybe they do not have the manpower to fight scam, but what if we can stop it one step ahead? just before it's being published?

I want Google to add an upload field and to remove who ever locksmith that will not bother to scan the documents (Google: Please note that state registration is not enough. It cost $1 and you can register unlimited trade names. Sales tax license or business license should be minimum requirements. or even both). 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/23/13 5:41 PM
Mr. Local > a ton of the listings you posted have already been taken down.  Google does crack down very hard on the locksmith industry and even if the listing is live now, it probably won't last for long.  I will flag this thread to see if it can be sent to the spam team.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/23/13 5:44 PM
I also pinged some of the MapMaker RERs who are good at identifying spam.  If the business has an address, they could look at the MapMaker record. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/23/13 7:15 PM
Hi Joy, 

I'm happy to know that the listings has been taken down. The problem is an on going problem and for every one that is going down we have 100 new ones (Same "owner" so they do not suffer any lost of income). I only try to alert the spam team to have those listings coming down ASAP. before they have time to make money out of them. Again, why is it so hard to add another layer of verification? What is the big deal if after 2 years in most states, a small group of individuals who are spamming the maps are winning Google's best team? Isn't it the time to make something different than having the same guy calling from 650 prefix and asking me again and again if I'm the owner and what is the business name..?

There must be a better way. 

As far as spam, I'll keep reporting here if you're saying that Google will monitor that thread, I also ask any locksmith in America to add the fraudulent listing in his area to this thread and maybe we can remove them faster this time. 

Again, at this point it's no longer a spam vs legit locksmiths. No more good vs evil. Some locksmiths already went under and the rest can barely make it through the month. So this time, or next time, when Google will remove the spam listings... maybe no legit locksmiths will be there to fill in the vacuum. It's just sad to watch. that's it. I wish Google will take some real action to help this industry. 

As far as accusing Google, I'm not a lawyer, I spoke from the heart and maybe was out of line. All I meant is to show how much power Google has because of it's popularity and was I asking them to come up with a solution, adopt mine, or build a team that can actually fight spam in realtime and not 3-4 weeks later..

I'll add more spam listings tonight let's stay focus and try to post all the spam listings for now. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/23/13 8:13 PM
And... COME ON!!! Jimmy Jones Locksmith?!?! It took me over 8 weeks to get my business listed on the map. This joker wasn't there yesterday.. and he is there today? How long will it take to the algorithm to list this one as a spam?

Can Google trace the IP and cross reference it with other listings? 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/23/13 10:44 PM
I do blame Google, they are responsible for the quality of material they present on their properties. They responded to you because you wrote here. You would not have gotten this "crack down" had you used normal channels. As for all the replacement spam, that's inevitable given how slow Google is. And they will stop their crackdown in your area as soon as you move along.

You said: "I don't think that it's OK for them to let you, as a locksmith, to monitor your own group"

Hmph. For one, being a locksmith I'm more directly affected by the spammers than anyone. The people that get ripped off for several hundred dollars don't compare to mine, and the other locksmiths', several thousands of dollars in losses per year. Also, Google doesn't "let me". As a concerned member of the American public, I will report spam if I choose to.

And these people are emphatically not my "own group". FYI, it's not a bunch of locksmiths who are doing all this spamming. It's often inaccurately reported as a "locksmith spamming" and "locksmith scams" and "locksmith ripoffs" though very few locksmiths are involved. It'd be more accurately described as an epidemic of "call center spams", perpetrated by some companies engaged in an international racketeering operation. Even the companies that do this spamming often do not refer to their untrained or extremely minimally trained contractors as locksmiths, they call them "technicians". If you ask them why 'technicians" and not "locksmiths", they'll tell you "you don't need a locksmith to unlock your car… tow truck drivers do it so why not our technicians?" They list in the Locksmith category not because they're locksmiths but because that's the place to be to get the so-called "emergency calls" regarding car and home lockouts. Moreover, they've invaded other trades than just locksmiths.

No one's in a better position to monitor locksmiths than locksmiths. We have our locksmith associations who do background checks, require testimonials and referrals for their members, hold their members to an ethical code and (most important of all) issue certifications based on the ability to pass stringent tests (Certified Registered Locksmith, Certified Master Locksmith, etc). We know each other, and we know who's not in the circle. I can't think of a worse choice for policing anyone for anything than giant corporations... Google just needs to care for the quality of their product better. The spam's not hard to spot, it's not so hard to prevent, and without too intense a "monitoring" of locksmiths. If they wanted to limit locksmith listings to certified locksmiths (licensing is neither here nor there) in order to assure quality search results, just as I think phone books must do with doctors and lawyers, then I'd be fine with that. Who the certified locksmiths are is info on the Net already.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/23/13 10:19 PM

I'm going to take up the invitation to list some spam. I investigate for both having stolen addresses AND for lying to people about their prices. I can't do the whole metro, I just don't have the time. So these are some of the more obvious within my neck of the woods. Thanks.
The address does not exist. Overland Park Drive starts as an alley a couple blocks down, then the first place on the west side (where the even numbered addresses are) is a park called Santa Fe Commons Park ( The first actual structure with an even-numbered address on this street is a house at 8110 Overland Park Drive, just south of the park ( So, 8100 would put this locksmith right in the middle of a park.
This place claims to be on the seventh floor in Suite 720 of an office building among lawyers and accountants. Interestingly, Regus Offices is right next door in Suite 700: . Regus rents out "virtual offices" and does "mail handling". This locksmith has an out-of-state phone number. 816 phone numbers belong on the Missouri side of our Metro area in Jackson County, it's not a good sign of "local" when they claim they're in Johnson County Kansas and don't have a 913 area code.
This is an apartment in Pointe Royal Town Home Apartments: in the Royal View neighborhood of apartments and houses (as is pretty evident in Street View).
This guy claims to reside inside of the old City of Olathe Municipal Building. It used to be government offices but with renovations to the downtown quarter it's now totally empty and locked up all hours of the day and for sale:
These claim to be inside an office building but a locksmith doing locksmithing is not at all evident among those offices:
There is a church here at 11311 Johnson Drive ( The next building is a chiropractor at 11405 Johnson Drive ( It's just the church's yard and a street between those two addresses. No locksmith "place" anywhere in sight or anywhere in this neighborhood.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/24/13 5:34 AM
Thanks for all the examples guys!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/24/13 10:50 AM
All of these listings are still active.
Kansas man, Thanks for sharing the bad listings in your area. 

If you know of any other locksmiths in other states, let's try to hit them nationwide, maybe if we can keep them dry long enough they will quit this business. 
Joy - Thank you and the Google team for your great help in cleaning the maps quickly. 

and ... IBM Locksmith... He opens cars and fix computers?

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/24/13 11:40 AM

Duplicate listings
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/24/13 11:43 AM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/24/13 12:06 PM
Do these listing actually rank somewhere?  One of them,, has no citations for the phone number used, uses a UPS store as his address, and doesn't even list his website.  I cannot imagine it would rank anywhere....
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/24/13 1:15 PM
Hi Joy, 

The idea is to get as many locations as you can. When you are stress out and your phone battery is low, you just type "Locksmith" in your phone, hoping that Google will generate a list of locksmiths near you. 
The customer is not going in the listing and looking for webpage, they are using the "click to call" feature directly from Google home page (Maps) and just giving away their location and hoping that the guy (right around the corner) will come to you. These guys are not looking to be professionals, they are targeting specific market (House & Cars lockouts) and are trying to get 15-20 calls a day (20 calls times $200 a call is a lot of money everyday). 

This is why when Google enable them to be online for one or two weeks, they have enough money to keep doing what they are doing and build more and more local websites, SEO, maps.. It's a whole underground industry that making money pushing others out of business. 

So many times these guys were on the news, but it won't help until Google will decide to fight back. What I was saying in the beginning of this thread was that if Google users will leave Google because of the fact that they cannot find what they are looking for, the advertisers will leave too. I was only trying to make a case so Google will understand how much important this fight is. 

I'm a Google user, I will not migrate to Bing or Yahoo, however, I do not use Google to find Servicemen anymore. Sad, but true. I use it only for research. Online shopping I do at Amazon or Local Denver Craigslist. I'm considering myself a heavy user, so what I'm doing now, most of the people will do in one, maybe 2 years. As one point I stopped my adwords campaign, simply because it was useless. My search results screen had me & another local locksmith, all the rest were $15 locksmith, $20 Locksmith near you etc.. ($20 on the phone, $200 on site..).

I'm trying to make a point, that Google should help us not because we are begging for the help, but because the people up there will see that helping us is actually more of THEIR interest then it will ever be ours. 

Now... more spam listings... 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 8/24/13 1:25 PM (Check the website - I don't know if it's spam or not, but the picture in the website was stolen from Pop A Lock website.. I don't know of any legit locksmith who will do it).

Duplicate listings (Same business different names) He's local but use multiple names, maybe this is the message that Google is sending, that this is the only way for legit guys to generate business. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/26/13 8:45 AM
On Saturday, August 24, 2013 2:06:34 PM UTC-5, JoyHawkins wrote:
Do these listing actually rank somewhere?  One of them,, has no citations for the phone number used, uses a UPS store as his address, and doesn't even list his website.  I cannot imagine it would rank anywhere....


Even without the information you're thinking they should have, still they certainly do show up on Google Maps (if that's what you mean by "rank somewhere") as I show in the attachment.

If you dial that number you get a CALL CENTER (not a locksmith shop or call center for locksmiths, but a call center for "technicians"). A woman answered with a generic "Locksmith". I asked for clarification of the company name, and she hesitated and then came up with "Locksmith Professional". I said "But it says your name is 'Your Locksmith' on the internet". And she changed the subject to "Do you need a service?" I said, "Yeah I locked myself out of my car, how much is it to open it?", and she said it's "$25 service fee and a minimum of $30 labor depending on the security level of your car". I asked "What do you mean by 'the security level of my car'?" And she told me some cars have higher levels of security that make them more difficult. I asked for greater details, like for example if she means BMW's are a bit more difficult than Fords because of their deadlock mechanism. But it was clearly out of her depth and she was just making shit up. Actually the difference between an easy car opening and a difficult car opening is maybe a minute or two for a professional locksmith so there's no good reason to leave the price open-ended except to make it easier for the "technician" to make up lies for why the cost will actually be $150 or more after he arrives... when on the phone they were implying it'd be "about $55".

It's no surprise to me their address is a UPS Store. They can't give a real address because 1) they don't enough real addresses to do the spamming they do and 2) they want to retain anonymity in case someone were to investigate them. So even when they know to hide their address from the public, they've still given Google a rented or stolen address anyway. They somehow have a very easy means of coming up with thousands of phone numbers. In fact, once Google removes this place they will replace both the name and number and re-list on Google Places the very same day their listing disappears and it'll be in B or C or D position on Maps again within days. They might even do it at the same UPS store. (A couple of the spams I gave in my list have been removed a few times already and are back... in the exact same non-existent address as before).

What they often won't do, though, is list a website. A unique website would cost them more time and money than fake names and fake addresses and new phone numbers. And Google (quite stupidly) does not require a website from the persons listing businesses in Google Places. That's why I asked Mr. Local if he had noticed if any of these places had websites. The few dozen places in his lists that I clicked on and viewed, before they got removed, had no websites. That's nuts that they can get a listing without one.

They often go instantly very near the top of results on Maps, even above long-established businesses sometimes, upon re-listing themselves in Places. And, bang, within days of removal a re-listed spam will start hauling in money again. Compound that with their thousands of other spams and you'll know why they like the extreme convenience of Google's process so very much. The call centers do indeed make millions. In fact, the owner of the former Run Local Locksmith (now renamed to Loyal Locksmith due to the increasing bad press it was getting, and actually a call center and not a locksmith company in spite of the name) has produced and starred in his own movie called "Mobster", using the money he's earned by owning one of the dozen or so Call Center companies that do all these spams.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/30/13 5:31 PM
I think it's marvelous that this person was able to post some dozens of spam and got such immediate attention.

I wonder if someone could attend to the few spams I've investigated and given the proof that they are spam? They've been there a good while now though reported to Google before, and they're having great success stealing lots of business and ripping many people off by their misrepresentations of where they are and what their prices are.

It'd be much appreciated!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 8/30/13 11:49 PM
Even without the information you're thinking they should have, still they certainly do show up on Google Maps (if that's what you mean by "rank somewhere") as I show in the attachment.

Showing up on the map means nothing.  People don't aimlessly scroll around the map looking for a locksmith when they need one; they search.  Ranking is the be and end all. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado chrstphr 8/31/13 2:34 AM

On Saturday, August 31, 2013 1:49:25 AM UTC-5, Flash (RER) wrote:
Even without the information you're thinking they should have, still they certainly do show up on Google Maps (if that's what you mean by "rank somewhere") as I show in the attachment.

Showing up on the map means nothing.  People don't aimlessly scroll around the map looking for a locksmith when they need one; they search.  Ranking is the be and end all. 

Yeah, they search for the business that seems close by.

The searcher looks at either the address or the red marker and thinks "That one seems near" and calls the number.

In my area, Olathe Locksmith was not on the Map or in the organic listings 7 weeks ago. But about 6 weeks ago, they showed up (apparently residing inside a municipal building) and started getting calls from customers. But they're slow to arrive so the customers often look for another locksmith, and a couple times in the past 6 weeks ended up calling me. So I get firsthand reports from customers who call the spammers and why they chose them. The location is the first criterion but usually will sacrifice nearness for cheapness, and they failed to understand that $15 plus $35 plus "and up" does not equal either $15 or $35 or even "about $50".

Olathe Locksmith at its current address in a municipal building was likely Olathe Lock & Key inside an insurance company on Park Street seven weeks ago before being removed as spam. And before that was inside a nail polishing store on 153rd before being removed as spam. And before that was in a battery store on 119th before being removed as spam. I might be wrong about the exact details of who reincarnates as who, but it's the same basic people re-listing over and over again under new names and numbers, and usually not bothering with a website. I vaguely remember someone there in the  Olathe municipal building a year or so ago. But he was removed like the others, and yet comes back all too immediately.

Apparently it takes nothing to "rank" on Maps if there are only a few competitors. Like in the screenshot. I looked for locksmiths in the mentioned city, and there they are. And yet it seemed a mystery here that they might rank somewhere. Well, they do! A simple search for "locksmith in Louisville CO" turned them up, and if they looked like the nearest locksmith to me if I were there in Louisville, and unaware of how scammers name their price - or, really, mindless about how they totally fail to name a price - I might hire their service.

Locksmiths pop into existence on Maps pretty frequently, many many times more frequently than real locksmiths actually start up a business. When one call-center spam disappears from a neighborhood, they'll put another back into the area with a different name and number within a week or two.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 8/31/13 8:01 AM
Yeah, they search for the business that seems close by.

Right, so Joy's point is valid; they start it with a search.  Step one is getting it to rank; without rank it will never work.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/31/13 10:49 AM

Right. So you win whatever debate was happening in your head, mmmkay?

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 8/31/13 10:55 AM
There's no call for disrespect such as that on this forum.  If you failed to understand someone else's post, that is not yet a third person's issue when they clarify it for you.  You're not educating us about how things work, we're much more familiar with it than you, we've been dealing with the issues for much longer.  I've personally been involved in the removal of thousands of pieces of locksmith spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/31/13 10:59 AM
So clarify it for me, or understand that I don't know all the terms. I explained what I know from my end. All in all, you're worthless. So ram it up your ass.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/31/13 10:59 AM
Yeah it really upsets me when people get rude on this forum. I volunteer my spare time to try and help educate and solve issues when possible and I don't really see how putting others down helps anyone or make you look respectable.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 8/31/13 11:05 AM
That's OK, it looks like he doesn't want to participate in these forums anymore.  Too bad, I actually have some free time due to the long weekend, I was thinking of seeing what he might have that I could provide to the spam team.  There's lots of other stuff to do, I'll focus on something else.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/31/13 11:07 AM
Right there with you Gregg. Spend your time helping people who can treat you with respect.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 8/31/13 11:16 AM
Ok everybody, slow down a bit.  We (Google, Chrstphr, Joy, Flash, and I) are all on the same side here.  None of us like locksmith spam.

Chrstphrs livelihood is affected.  The value of Google's product is degraded.  And the rest of us just like what Google does and like to help people.

If spammers throw out hundreds of new listings and use black-hat techniques, they will get some of them to rank well quickly.  This is bad for customers and legitimate competitors.

Chrstphr,  Please understand that the system Google has built is crazy complicated and nobody really understands how it works (they aren't unique, it is true of every large company).  And there are thousands of people out there spending most of their time figuring out ways to manipulate this system.  There are no magic bullets.

Google,   Give us something.  This is a problem and has been for years.  I know you don't want to give the spammers information they can use to anticipate and overcome your anti-spam techniques.  But this one industry, seems to be a particular sore point with many parties.  Can't you share something about what you are trying and why it is so hard to get locksmith spammers in control.

Joy & Flash,   Don't take it personally.  We are offended by this spam.  Google has some risk of becoming irrelevant, but one industry with bad search results won't make or break them.  Chrstphrs's ability to earn is directly affected by these guys; it is very personal to him.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 8/31/13 11:18 AM
Jim, he already deleted his account.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 8/31/13 11:23 AM
   I know you worked on the problem of locksmith spam back when it was being actively attacked in MapMaker.  Why does this industry seem some much more subject to spam than most others?   And why can't Google get a handle on it?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/31/13 11:36 AM

I wasn't trying to take it personally, I just really can't stand people being rude. Especially when they aren't even the person who started the thread.

What I was trying to understand is how this is a big deal if these listing don't rank anywhere. I look at listings all day that have ranking issues. Some don't even show up as a small red dot on the map and don't show up for any searches on Google.  

Maybe what would be helpful is if the original poster (Mr Local) could provide a keyword that one of his examples ranks for. That would help me look at the tactics they are using to rank. Creating a fake listing these days never gets you ranking unless there are other tactics as well. At least not in the thousands of cases I have looked at in the last year. So this throws me off guard BC some of the examples in this thread have no attributes that would make them rank, therefore they *shouldn't* result in less business for the legit locksmiths.

One specific example might help me clarify this.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 8/31/13 11:38 AM
There's actually an Israeli mob running it.  There's news investigative pieces about it.  Looks like a new one just was put together, I haven't watched it yet to see how deep they go into the entire organization behind it.

So it's not so much a Google problem, I'd say it's more a problem in that there's very few criminal operations of that scope that get ignored by the authorities.  If any other major scam was allowed to set up across the US with little interference from the authorities, I'm sure it would be all throughout Google too.

What Google needs to do as a first step to fight spam of all sorts is start a database of mail box addresses, and run that against all listings.  As we're the trusted local experts, RERs and Power Mappers should be able to contribute to that database to get the locations that are just local and not chains like UPS Stores.  The other big problem, I hate to say, is Places.  They have gotten more and more into "protecting" their listings so that spam fighters can't do anything.  Completely spam name, false location, illegal business all rolled into one?  Too bad, they managed to receive a PIN, all edits rejected.  Removing all methods of checking on, editing or even reporting hidden address listings didn't help.  You ask why Google can't get a handle on things, but spam fighting in Map Maker was actually going well.  It is Places that has cut that off.  (And yes, I know you were asking about locksmiths in particular, but as I said it's just worse thanks to the authorities ignoring it.  Overall spam was being handled in Map Maker, but was cut off by Places; so it's not a Google issue but a departmental issue.)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/31/13 11:40 AM

I just found out that one of the scammers is telling his "marks" that he's me. That way if there's a complaint about being ripped off, the customer give the negative review to me. This is one of those spammers I've been pleading with Google to remove for over a month now.

My frustration level about this matter is through the roof.

But I had no business taking out the frustration on people here. Apologies offered.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/31/13 12:01 PM
Which listing is his?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 8/31/13 12:01 PM
Which listing is his?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/31/13 1:20 PM

Generally I don't think it's the case that one of their scamming contractors (or "technicians") will, by himself, have his very own spam listing.  But there's some of the spam with a bit of a difference that's... identifiable. Here's my prime suspect for which particular spam the lady had phoned:

But still, a customer calling ANY of these spams just might get him, or one of the other few contractors/technicians in the area:

Jim's right. This is very personal from my end of things. I'm fighting for my livelihood, and I hate knowing people in my community are getting robbed. And the enemy SHOULD (as Flash noted) be addressed by the law but isn't (not in any adequate way). And now lately I find Google ignores me where it used to do much better. The feeling of powerlessness is not a comfortable feeling.

(unknown) 8/31/13 3:04 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 8/31/13 3:14 PM

Maybe a good one to check and figure why he ranks well is this one.

I've talked 4 people into canceling them and hiring me, when the technician was late and the customer called around some more. So 1) they're pretty new on the Maps (though, with this one, the address may have been used under other locksmith company names a few times in the past) and 2) enough people are finding them else I would not expect some customers seeking another locksmith out, afterwards, if this listing weren't getting some volume of customers.

It's an address stolen from an empty municipal building, and they have no website, and they showed up there about a week after a couple of other nearby Olathe spams had been removed in mid-July.

The search terms I use, and the customers say they used, are "locksmith in olathe".

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/3/13 4:15 AM
For the first one you posted - that Quick Key Locksmith. They have a crazy amount of keyword stuffing on their page.  I would recommend you report them via here:
Can you start a new thread so I can escalate it and have Google look at the listing you posted?  They can't keep track because there have been SO many posted in this one thread.  If you have a new thread dedicated to each competitor then I could actually tell you if there is any update on it.  

Just let me know when you've posted a new thread.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 9/3/13 8:35 AM

I had made another thread here:!mydiscussions/business/5NLW811klS4

I'm feeling hesitant to start multiple threads, more than has been done; it could result in a potential discussion of spammers in general being split into different places. Are we sure that'd be the best approach? And, besides, these all share one major trait: they're fake business names with fake addresses done by serial spammers who also happen to be engaged in bait-and-switch tactics. So they do a variety of fraudulent activity. And many don't give websites. Also, as each is removed (IF they're ever removed) they will replace it so that'll be more and more threads.

Google's not applying its guidelines, and relying too much on verification cards when clearly these persons have tricks to fool that process.

I reported that one at the link you gave.


Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/3/13 9:08 AM
Well this thread is currently escalated b/c of the original poster and his requests.  The Google employee requested you start a new thread so that way I can keep you separated from Mr. Local since you both have different businesses you are reporting.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/3/13 10:24 AM
Hi Everyone,

Thank you for all of the attention to this matter. I had some kidney stones in the past few days so I wasn't really here, but I'm back :)

As far as Israeli mob, I have to ask you to modify it,  didn't open this thread to start a racism discussion (I'm originally from Israel) and yes, there are good people in Israel and some bad people who chose bad business practice. Unfortunately, there are some good US citizens locksmiths and some bad ones. Where you were born has nothing to do with your character.

After saying that, I want to ask Google (And I've asked it before in different Google forums) - Why is it so hard to implement a simple OCR software with an upload field when it comes to the locksmith category?
A user can upload verification documents (State approved documents i.e. Sales tax license, business license etc.) and if he fails to do so his listings will be in "Pending mode" for good. Even better, give the user 60 days to upload documents while in Pending mode and then simply remove the system.

My frustration is from the fact that Google can identify my face (Picasa) but cannot implement an OCR to read documents.

Now, I don't know what you guys are talking about "Ranking" - but when I walk in downtown Denver, Aurora, Brighton or any other big city and Google "Locksmith" I find different ones. 90% spam. I can see and hear how they are bragging on how much money they made and how they are always looking to hire people because they have too many calls to handle. I don't think that they know about the maps ranking system, I think that the system that they are using works pretty good as is.

My goal is not to post spam listings and have Google remove them one by one, but to make a deep change that may eliminate them sooner.

Quick search for "Locksmith Denver" generated these results (The last one is my own, please do not remove it, just to show an example on how a legit listings are getting lost in this HUGE list) Currently I'm on the 7th page for this query and almost not shown in Denver at all.
Jimmy Jones is still running ..
Another Jimmy Jones ..

One address (Virtual office) Second Address

And... this is me.. somewhere down the 7th page..
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 9/3/13 10:47 AM
Honestly, I wouldn't expect much in the way of a systematic fix.  This very specific problem was old in 2011; and apparently predates the internet (though I didn't follow the links to check up on that claim).

Another good, and old, at least in internet terms, article from one of the MapMaker editors that used to make fighting Locksmith spam one of his missions.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/3/13 3:15 PM
Thank you for the hard work you doing. Please keep do what you do, if you need anything from me please contact me.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 9/3/13 5:31 PM
On Tuesday, September 3, 2013 12:47:07 PM UTC-5, jim.jaggers wrote:
Honestly, I wouldn't expect much in the way of a systematic fix.  This very specific problem was old in 2011; and apparently predates the internet (though I didn't follow the links to check up on that claim).

I think it's a mistake to assume it's hard to detect or remove spammers. Just because Google isn't doing it, it doesn't follow that it must be difficult for them or else they'd do it. Since they've done better in the past than now, it could just be shifted priorities, or an inept person in a management position, or inept Google Listing Editors reject reported problems because they don't know the guidelines well enough.

It's said that GLE's have been a thorn in the side of mappers on MM in the past due to apparently not knowing their business very well.

Looks like approved POI's are too easily converted to spam locksmiths, and no filters are catching that "lock" or "locksmith" has appeared there.

There could be more checks for locksmiths than other categories, due to their notoriety. I went to the trouble and expense getting membership with ALOA to prove I'm "legit" in hopes to stop being arbitrarily kicked off Maps for being a mobile service, and now that I've done it… they stopped looking for locksmith spam!

Spam's easy to detect. At least for me. I would assume if I can easily see it then most anyone has the potential to learn it, and once you know what it looks like it just takes a glance to notice most of it. 

Some legit locksmiths don't have their websites up, but that's stupid… It's not a quality search result if you just see a name and number and can't investigate their services further via a website (and see their address there). So why not require that an entry be input into the "business website" space in the Places listing form, or else without it the listing won't submit? Just as the business name is required? That'd be a thorn in the side of serial spammers, if they had to have a unique website for every listing. Bogus names, fake addresses and phone numbers routing to their call centers are far easier to acquire en masse.

Maybe GLE's could do more to double-check the spotty locksmith listings. I'm hesitant to say it, as I don't like the idea of Google policing businesses… But then they're not really policing businesses so much as policing the listings on their properties for quality search results. Accredited members of ALOA are listed on the Net and a locksmith listing could be checked there if it's spotty looking and there's doubt about it. Among other possible checks for legitimacy.

Spotty listings… I've seen incredible examples of misspellings in businesses names, the use of the city name in several locksmiths within that city, and other. "24/7 Locksmiths in Los Angeles"… Yeah, that's spam!

I always suggest calling them in my reports. They can't name the name of the business you're calling. They can't say where they are. And that's because they don't know which of their spams you're calling. Neighboring businesses are often named in my reports because they can easily witness that there's no locksmith next door. Or the business itself whose address has been stolen… yeah, they'd make good witnesses to the address fraud. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/3/13 5:33 PM

Calling them is no longer an option. There are simple ways to bypass it (I will not specify here), but for under $5 a month you can simply go around it. 
State approved documents are the best solution, you can't fake your business name and address. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Ethan Genzel 9/3/13 8:05 PM
I agreed with Mr. local
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 9/3/13 9:53 PM
What's a GLE?

I don't understand why Google can't get a handle on locksmith spam either.  Though in fairness

1. Google's search system is very complex and constantly changing
2. It's an active battle with spammers finding ways around filters as fast as Google puts them up
3. Locksmiths are one small area of a much bigger search environment;  I've seen estimates that that are over 100,000,000 businesses in Google Local alone, and that is but an infinitesimal fraction of the data in the web search.

They have done some things in MapMaker to block locksmiths; but they figure out other ways in.

Google did use manual review and filering to do a great job of eliminating spam of this nature - locksmiths, garage door shops, cleaners, etc., about 18 months ago.  And took out huge numbers of legitimate businesses too.  That solution was worse than the current situation.  Though perhaps they should try again if they've fixed the delay in reinstating the businesses.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/4/13 10:43 PM
Posting an update list one more time, please help to remove it from the local search results. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/8/13 3:47 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/9/13 5:58 PM
So... No one from Google even bothered checking the list I posted a week ago. 
Since then we have almost 100 new listings. 

Dear Google, 

The quality of your product is what you made it to be.
I hope you will understand that I am now closing my AdWords account. I will not finance this operation. This is why the Yellow Pages were shut down, this is why Super Pages won't make a dime out of small businesses and unfortunately, this is Google's future as I see it.

I ask small businesses to make their own decisions,  I made mine. Thanks for the free Gmail account, but I don't think that you qualify as a "Local search engine" anymore. 
Big disappointment. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/9/13 11:30 PM
I've been following it for years. Since Google Maps actually exist. There is no solution!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/10/13 4:05 AM
 No one from Google even bothered checking the list I posted a week ago. 

This isn't true.  Jim has been sending these to Google and several of the ones you posted September 3 don't exist anymore (404 errors).  The spam team has to investigate and it's not an instant thing.  Keep reporting them and give it time. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/10/13 11:54 AM
Hi Joy, 

Thank for the reply. I'm sorry my frustration level is really high. 
I don't know how to get it solved and it seems like Google taking baby steps by removing them while the bad guys populate hundreds of new listings everyday. 
That's frustrating and this is why I said that I don't want to advertise anymore. I remember the time when I used to have an advertising account with the yellow pages, charge $500 monthly to have my ad getting lost between spam ads with fake 5 stars reviews. 

I hate to think of Google transferring into this money-making-monster, when it has the potential of being a real local search engine. 

I will post more new listings soon, hopefully Google will adopt my solution of adding an upload field to prevent these listings from being populate at the first place.  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/10/13 8:02 PM Does not exist + fake reviews. Fake business & fake reviews. Even the names spelling of the reviewers is wrong! AAA Locksmith? Different name on the website Looks like they stole a listing from a Mexican restaurant. Check the reviews. Fake. Denver Lock & Key - Fake. There is another legit business called "Denver Key & Lock Company" on Colfax st. Not THAT business! This is fake. Good For You Locksmith..?! Seriously? Fake. Fake - Hijacked a Jimmy Jones restaurant listings and changed the category & phone number Fake - Hijacked the listings of "Applewood Golf Course" Fake - Hijacked listings of "Bass pro Shops" changed category & phone number Fake - Same complex different store. Hijacked listings of "Finish Line" store, changed phone number and category. Fake - Office building (State farm, etc). No locksmith there. Fake - Hijacked listings of Lowe's hardware store Gas station with a convenience store. Fake. Fake - Hijacked listings of "Rite Aid" store. Fake - Hijacked listings of Bradley Gas Station Fake - Hijacked listings of Italian restaurant -  Lil Ricci's Fake - Hijacked listing from "U Pump It" Gas station

Please help local community by reviewing and removing these spam listings. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/10/13 11:01 PM Fake - House for sale - Fake - Hijacked listings from Walgreens Englewood Fake - Hijacked listings from Hobby Lobby craft store Fake - Hijacked listings from "Einstein Law Firm" Fake - Hijacked listings from "Atlas Travel Agency" in Golden, Colorado Fake - Apartment for rent, vacant property Fake - Hijacked listings off "Allied Carpet Cleaning" Fake - Commercial property for sale (Vacant) Fake - Hijacked listings from Transwest Trucking Company Fake - Hijacked listings from Dnote - Pizza/Cafe/Restaurant place with local art ( Fake - Hijacked listings from Mile High Honda - car dealership Fake - Hijacked listings from McDonald's Fake - Hijacked listings from Sport Authority Fake - Hijacked listings from "Il Vicino" - Pizza place (Since 2003) Fake - Hijacked listings from "Ross - Dress for Less" store Fake - Hijacked listings from "Walgreens" Pharmacy Fake - Hijacked listings from Panera Bread Fake - Hijacked listings from Western Union Fake - Hijacked listings from CoinStar neighborhood market Fake - Hijacked listings from "Barnes & Nobles" Fake - Hijacked listings from "Mile High Harley Davidson" Fake - changed the category & Phone number Fake - Hijacked listings from Motorola Store Fake - Hijacked listings of "Dollar Mini Mart" Fake - Hijacked listings of "Details Boutique" - Gifts & Accessories store Fake - Hijacked listings from "Arapahoe Pack & Ship" store Fake - Hijacked listings from "Fifth Gear" auto shop Fake - Hijacked listings from "Halloween Spirit" store

You can see that not only customers and other local locksmiths are being hurt by the scammers, but a lot of legitimate businesses having their listings hijacked, losing customers & reviews. 
I think that that may answer the question about the listings rank.. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 9/10/13 11:22 PM
I randomly looked at a few of the listings you say where hijacked.  There is such a thing as hijacking listings, but this is not it.  They are just using the same addresses as existing listings, and so the system is putting them in the exact same spot because that is where the system has that address recorded as proper positioning.  The locksmith listings are new enough that they have no history, and the listing for the business that does belong there is a separate listing that remains active.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/10/13 11:24 PM
I will repeat my suggestion to enable an upload field for sales tax or a state approved documents which will show the legal business name, address and owner information. 
The other alternative, is that in 2 months all the businesses in Colorado will be "Locksmiths". No more dentists, pharm stores, grocery store, car dealership, lawyers, toy stores... These spammers, at this point is destroying Google local product, the one product that should have been the top product and compete with Yelp, Facebook, etc on the local niche. 

At this point, I don't think it's the locksmith industry that has a problem with the spammers, I think that this is Google vs Spammers, and Google has to find the resources to fight back before people will just drop the ball and leave to another search engine. 

I hope that you will add the upload field and will not enable anyone to claim any listings without another layer of verification process.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/10/13 11:29 PM
Hi Flash, 

I don't know how they do it, it's a theory, but they do it. 
There are 479 listings under "locksmith denver" most of them, not just "some of them" are spam and shown all over the city. 
I don't know how they do it, but why can't Google stop it for what 3-4 years now? There must be a permanent solution then me collecting all the spam every night and you have to monitor the forum and Google has to double check.. it's a never ending project. some of the listings are there, some are not. 

But what about tomorrow? next week? a year from now?
It's a great product that is being abused by so many spammers for so long that I know that we can do more than patching.. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/11/13 5:24 AM
I'm sure Google don't like the idea of uploading files. Maybe someone has another suggestion? What you are doing now is not working.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/11/13 9:36 PM
Yesterday - 479 listings. 
Today - 493 listings. 

This one - just changed the category from "Insurance" to "Locks & Locksmiths". So i don't know if they hijack listings or not.. But I report what I see and I see Mexican restaurant and insurance company and a law firm that the category has been changed then the business name is being changed, so is the phone number but the reviews stay the same. 

Anyway.. it's 493 today, Any chance to narrow it to under 100 anytime soon? Go Google!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/12/13 4:36 AM
I do not see any solution except for Google just to hire someone specifically for the category locksmith with the delete button.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/12/13 4:44 AM
I just wanted to re-assure you guys that we are seeing these posts and talking about them.  It's definitely something that is on Google's radar so you're not being ignored.  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/12/13 9:16 AM
Hi Joy,

Thanks for the follow up. A quick update - 493 from last night turned out to be 511 this morning.
I'm building a quick screen shots collection to show how they are using the keywords to generate the business.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 9/12/13 9:25 AM
You are correct that the problem with search spam is far broader than Locksmiths.  While that industry does have some of the worst examples of local spam; there are other industries just as bad.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/12/13 9:38 AM
Hi Joy,

Here is how the target keywords works form them.
1. The customer type "Locksmith" - on the phone or a computer. Today Google can find the approximate location by GPS or any City.
2. Google populate a list of businesses that should be relevant for your search based on your location.
3. You don't care about ranking or anything.. you get a list with phone numbers (Click-able) and you start clicking and calling.

I've attached pictures :

Step 1 - Search
Step 2 - Google populate a list based on "Denver" location
Step 3 - I edited the location to "Englewood"
Step 4 - Google gives me a list of spam
Step 5 - I manually edited it again to "80210" (Another Denver zip code) and got another spam listings, so even in Denver, based on your current location you can get a lot of spam.

By flooding the maps they are making sure that you will receive spam content anywhere within a 50-60 miles radius. Change it to Golden, Aurora, or just any Denver zip code and watch how much spam is coming your way. And everyday, more spam.. That's make it impossible for us to survive. My phone rang Monday morning, once.. and that was the last time. Unfortunately, I had to fire 2 good guys who are now looking for jobs. My business is relying on Google and I really hope for a fast solution. Please let me know if there is ANYTHING that we can do from our side beside reporting those spammers.

Now I don't want to sound desperate here.. but if Google cannot come up with a solution pretty soon, I will have to shut down the business, like many others before me and at some point, it just won't matter anymore, because the spam will be the only locksmith business in Denver..

Thanks for your efforts so far, I really do appreciate it!


Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/12/13 10:00 AM
Hey Jim,

Your are very right. Being in this business for many years and watching Google Maps, I have gained experience with the people who spam Google. They have actually contacted me a few times and offered me work. I obviously turned them down. They tell me that they will spread hundreds of listings on Google Maps and want me to work for them as a dispatcher in Denver. I try to do my best to relay this information to Google to no avail. When the locksmith spam people contact me, Google Maps in Denver was fairly clean from spam listings. These people promised me that they would have all their hundreds of listings up in a month and, surprisingly to me, they succeeded. They mentioned to me that they would not only list under locksmith businesses. They also mentioned that they would list under the categories of garage doors, plumbers, and exterminators. There are two reasons why I believe they chose these categories. The first is that they are all emergency services and it is easy for them to triple the price when they finish the job. The second, I believe, is because it is very easy to find local people that are willing to do this kind of work with minimal training.

I have been watching the scammers in the locksmith business since 2005. Anyone that watches them knows that some of them have succeeded in making millions of dollars. This means that there are some people out there that will sit, think, and try to find a way to list themselves on Google Maps as locksmiths nationwide. I also want to mention that they are working in places like Europe and Canada, and basically will try to spam Google Maps worldwide.

Since it has been so many years and these people find this idea more attractive, I think that Google needs to have a person sit down with a delete button and have their job be to only get rid of spammers in the major categories.   

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/12/13 10:18 AM
Mr Local. You're so right!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/13/13 10:47 AM
Please watch.. Hijacked phone line from a locksmith in Atlanta.  
Take a minute to watch, truly amazing story. The scammers ported a phone number from a 25 years locksmith business. 

Maybe they DO take over some listings?..

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/14/13 7:26 PM
Yesterday I was driving with my wife and daughter in our car and we decided to search locksmith listings on Google Map in the city of Denver. I have 2 phones and we signed off our Google accounts, cleared all the cookies and data from the phones, reset the phones to the location of Denver again and searched for the keyword locksmith. We found  completely different results from what we found when we did a search for the keyword locksmith on our office and home computers. We then repeated the same process by cleaning the phones again, set up the location again and drove 10 minutes away. We did a search for the word locksmith again, and again found completely different results from our first search as well as the search we did from our office and home computers. We did this process over and over around the city and kept finding the closest locksmith listing that was in the area we were in. We confirmed that searching for locksmiths on smart phones is not find listings with better rankings. I have been working as a locksmith for many years, and the search for a locksmith used to be by phone, calling 411 and asking for the closest locksmith listing. Today the biggest locksmith search is coming from Google on smart phones. My estimate is that about 20% of people are searching for a locksmith on a desktop or tablet and about 80% are finding locksmiths through Google Map on their smart phones. This means that when a consumer is searching for a locksmith through Google, they will a better chance at calling a fake listing from actually a real local company.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/15/13 2:35 PM
Update: Today is Denver: 522 Locksmiths. Last week 511.
In some areas (Change the zip code on the search to 80601 - Brighton, CO) 1 Legitimate locksmith, the rest is spam. That's mean that 90% of Google results in this area is spam. 
I know you guys are working on that, I'm just pointing some facts to help target the problem, please do not take it as if I'm criticizing the system. 

Is there any update so far in removing these fake listings? 
(I enjoyed cleaning my garage but I'm ready to go back to work now!)

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/19/13 5:14 PM
On September 12th I've reported 511 Locksmiths in Denver.

On September 15th I've reported 522 locksmiths in Denver. 

Today, September 19th, 2013 - Thanks to Google smart web spam filter, we have only 542 locksmiths. 

That's an average of 10 new locksmiths per week.

I really hate to rush things, but since I'm sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring and have nothing to do, please excuse me if I'm spending my days here instead of serving customers who think that Google is a great search engine and find out every day that.. umm.. it's really not. 

I'm just trying ti understand how hard it is to add a verification field or to remove records from a database.. 
Lucky for you guys, Bing & Yahoo is even worst.. so with no alternative, Google rules by default. But, Your customers will not forget and not forgive, and when an alternative will come, they will follow. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/20/13 4:15 AM
I bumped the thread again so this can be sent to the spam team.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/20/13 7:44 AM
Thank you, Joy.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 9/20/13 11:17 AM
I don't understand why it is so hard to fix either, well not completely.  I do understand that it is an active battle; Google tries to find countermeasures to prevent spam and the spammers try to find ways around the countermeasures.

The fact Bing and Google (Yahoo currently uses Bing's search engine) haven't been able to eliminate spam and no other search engine even comes close to the quality of results those two get, does indicate how hard the problem is to solve.

Google is aware that the competition in search is always just a click away.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/20/13 8:29 PM
10 hours later, we're at 556 and counting...

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/20/13 10:19 PM
Fake user profile postings fake reviews online

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/21/13 11:49 PM
I don't understand why it is so hard to fix either, well not completely.  I do understand that it is an active battle; Google tries to find countermeasures to prevent spam and the spammers try to find ways around the countermeasures.


I don't understand why is it so hard, but I'm not going to change Google's tasks priority, as I'm a Google user, not a manager :)
As a user, all I'm doing is reporting and pointing the problems, which I strongly believe that at this point, beside hurting my business, really hurting the quality of Google's top product.

My business has 76 5 stars reviews, is listed on page 13(!) when you are looking for a locksmith in Denver. We are local and service the entire metro, used to do 10 -14 service calls each day (Random calls, not accounts), now down to one random call a day - if we are lucky, and most of our new callers will not close agree to the price (Lockout for $65 car keys for $120 - $160) since "Oh! You guys are wayyyyy to expensive, I found someone who can do it for $15...".

I know that Craigslist are using a message to warn customers not to wire money and suggest free tips on dealing local. 
I suggested to add an upload field because I don't think that based on my reports only Google can remove listings, but if you take a look, you will see that we have more than 10 new listings EVERY DAY. So by enabling an upload field, all these listings will still be "Pending" and I guess will never even get approved by the system..

Check this out! Yesterday, 556 listings, today, 611 - that's 55 new listings in 24 hours... and counting.
I'm sitting here and watching how I'm losing my business, just because some individuals has chosen to challenge Google and Google at this point has no answer. 

Behind all these facts there are real people. For me, I'm a single parent to a 3 year old baby, I cannot wait until I'll lose my business and just not fight back. For them, they look for victims and using Google to get ahead. I don't understand why would Google let it happen... that's all. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/22/13 1:15 PM
Another day... 39 new locksmiths started their business in Denver 
I'm going to post an update spam listings, Please take few minutes to try and remove some of them if not all of them. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/22/13 2:30 PM

more to come soon.. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/22/13 6:09 PM and this spammer COPIED ONE OF OUR CUSTOMERS REVIEWS!!!! How LOW will they go?!?! Using the ALOA Logo (Copyright) - Sent a link also to ALOA

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 9/22/13 10:45 PM

Some locksmith is writing warnings about the spamming scammers in reviews.

It's a bad idea. Mr. Local, if you know who's doing that, I suggest asking him to stop.

One guy using the review system that way can result in dozens of spammers retaliating in kind, possibly across many cities and outside Colorado. They could make it part of their routine if they choose, and add slurring the competition into their daily spamming routine.

And anyway, generally people are not educable. That's a waste of time trying to get the public to change their behavior in any way.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/22/13 10:50 PM

I don't know who's doing it and just by reading I the content I think that Google will remove it (Racism..).
I assume it's some other locksmith company that is about to go under. The frustration level here is really high. People with families who are looking for another job and this is the only thing they know how to do, so I can't blame them for trying to stop the spam. Some of these companies are using "Similar" names and stealing business, the worst thing is that those customers will never come back.

The bad thing.. after you fire someone it's hard to re-hire him. People are looking for stability. We cannot call xcel, comcast, Verizon, Landlord, Mortgage company, Grocery store or even Google AdWords and tell them that they should hold on our bills because the business has been redirected and we are waiting to Google to fight spam.. 

I said it before, I'll say it again, by the time Google will remove all these companies, it may be to late because a lot of good local businesses will not care about it.. it just won't matter anymore. 
We are not Walmart who can eat the cost and make up for it later, We work mainly on random calls and low profit margin.4 - 8 weeks without enough calls and the business is closed. 

We know it, Spammers knows it, Google - I guess, think that there is time to come up with fancy solution, the only problem is that when they will come up with that solution we will not be here to read about it, and the rest of Google users will just migrate to Angie's list or Yelp or the next best thing.. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/22/13 10:52 PM
And good thing to say... looks like we are down to 637. This is the forst day that we are going down instead of up, so I hope that in the next few hours Google will clean the maps (I want to hope that it's not just a glitch in the system)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/23/13 7:38 AM
They remove 4 more.... 633
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/23/13 11:24 AM
Hey Barry,

I reported those reviews to Google and would be surprised if they are around for long (specifically I sent them and

However, I noticed your own review from Adam C that you said was copied word-for-word (which I also reported) is also listed on Yelp ( by a "Steven H" and also on your website (

I've spent a lot of time looking at filtered reviews and would strongly advise you don't have any of your Google reviews on your website or any other 3rd party sites (unless you embed a map of your Places listing with the reviews) because Google often filters reviews that appear elsewhere on the web. Especially in your case b/c the name of the person on Yelp doesn't match your website or Google, it "appears" like you just had someone login and re-distribute your reviews on other sites. It's a common black-hat SEO practice and you may not have been doing that, it's just how it often appears. 

I figured I'd advise you to remove them so you don't get it filtered :)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/23/13 3:21 PM
Hi Joy, 

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read those reviews. I double checked it - as for Yelp, I assume that the customer left a review both on the G+ page and on Yelp. I guess that he used a different user (Father/Brother?) to post on Yelp. I have no control over the reviews on Yelp or the Facebook page. Some people leave reviews on FB & Yelp, Some on My G+ page and Yelp, Some only on the G+ page, and some just won't leave any review.. :\
However, I promise you that if it was me trying to re-post that review using a fake profile, I would take the extra minute to at least match the name..  :)

I love the reviews on my website, I think that they add more personal touch to the website. I wish my Google page was available on the search results in Denver. Right now, for the basic query "locksmith" or  "locksmith denver" I'm listed on page 14. That's 140 phone numbers that comes before my business. I wouldn't mind fair competition, bidding against other locksmiths, but when more then 100 of them are the same guy with fake listings and different phone numbers my only chance to stand up is to show positive reviews on the website and using adwords to direct traffic to the website.

The ironic part of all this is that Google can mark my website as spam because I'm using my reviews to promote my business, but for over 5 years now they couldn't solve THIS problem!? Hundreds of spam listings in their own system.. maybe they should mark Google as spam. Seriously. 

I do appreciate the feedback and I will try not to copy more reviews from my G+ page to my website. I really didn't know it considered black hat to do it. 

Last thing, Please forgive me for nagging so much about this subject, I know it's not on Google top priority list, but we can really use their attention and help to be able to keep the business going.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/23/13 3:58 PM
The review filter is automated, so no one at Google is trying to sabotage you :p  

There actually is a lot of discussion about this and a couple other threads (same topic) so I can assure you that spam is one of the top priorities.  My personal thought is that the team that manages Google Places/Local isn't nearly as large as some of their other products so I think the lack of progress on this situation is probably due to that.  The spammers are literally so smart and so fast that Google isn't keeping up with them. My opinion of course.  

I'm somewhat impressed at just how good these spammers must be because I've found it pretty hard to fake your way into ranking on Google.  

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/23/13 4:22 PM
Also, I thought I'd take a look at your listing to see if there were any violations that may be hurting your ranking.  Fixing these might help you get ranked faster than reporting your competitors.  Just a thought.  

Your categories break the "is not does" rule (  You are a locksmith (correct), you are not a "car keys" (one of your categories".  

Also, your description repeats your categories.  I've heard many experts say they have found a correlation between this and low ranking.  I would recommend you re-word your description so that it doesn't repeat any of your categories (unless you use a synonym).  The description isn't a major ranking factor so stuffing it with keywords won't help you rank anyway.  Make it a call-to-action that tells people why they should pick up the phone and call you.

I did a search for your phone number on the most important data provider (that feeds info to Google) and didn't find a listing for you.  That's not a good thing and I would strongly recommend you add your business there ASAP - I checked the top 2 locksmiths in Denver, they both have listings there.

Also, the address that you have associated with your business everywhere (it's hidden on Google but shows on other directories) is in Commerce City, CO, not Denver.  I noticed you rank first for locksmith Commerce City, CO.  The likeliness of you ever ranking for Denver in Google Places is next-to-none unless I am missing something here.

Hopefully some of that is helpful. I can sense your frustration over the spam and thought I'd try and see if I could give you some tips to help you out.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/23/13 5:38 PM
Dear Joy, 

Thank you for the yips, I changed my categories and edited the description. Also, I live in Commerce City (As far as zip codes, it can be Denver/Commerce City). I do not wish to be the first one on the first page in Denver, there are some great locksmith shops (Mathias) who can deliver better customer service and should be there. 

However, I know that Google will associate your listing with relevant keywords as long as it find you relevant. I used to be on the maps in Aurora, Denver, Westminster and many cities on selective locksmith searches (Car keys, Emergency locksmith, Rekey, Locksmith) and since these spammers start stuffing the system with fake listings they capture every place and pushing everyone else back. 

If you can, please contact me outside of this forum there are many ways to trick Google system I will not list them here. Also, no one from Google ever answered my question but maybe you know the answer - is there a chance that they will add the upload field soon?

Again, Thank you.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/23/13 5:47 PM
What upload field are you referring to?  If you want to send me a msg on G+, this is my profile -
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/23/13 6:45 PM
Upload field for verification. I understand that the local team is a small department, but instead of them chasing the spammers and removing listings, what if Google will add an upload field, where you can upload state approved documents (Business license/Sales tax license) - which has the legal businss name and address on it (The state does not allow p.o. box/ UPS stores/ virtual office etc).

This way, all listings will be "Pending" until verification is complete. Now they can add some OCR feature and do most of it automatically, but I think that it will be better if instead of chasing spammers (who in the meanwhile making a lot of money) Google will manage to stay ahead of them in this battle. And it may be hard for month or two.. but once they will stop making money, problem solved. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 9/23/13 6:53 PM
There would have to be some way to automate it I would think as there is no way they have the manpower to manually verify these. I know Google is watching this thread but they probably can't respond to something involving their spam fighting tactics.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 9/23/13 8:17 PM
It will be less manpower then what they use now to manually remove all the spam.. or at least a better use of their time.
I don't know how to send a private message in G+, If you wouldn't mind, please send me a message so I can response. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 9/30/13 10:04 AM
There is 586 locksmiths in my small town today......I know only about 50 of them....
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/1/13 7:38 PM
526 locksmiths on Google map today, minimum 400 of them are fake..... not exists.... phone number is connect to a call center..... when it will end?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/1/13 7:51 PM
I just wanted to encourage you to keep posting here.  Although it might seem like the problem isn't getting better, this thread is really helping the overall solution. These types of solutions aren't instant, or manual but require a lot of work.  You are totally right about the mobile thing. I'm in San Jose right now, just did a search for "locksmiths".  Letter B was a keyword stuffed name which has a disconnected phone number (415-423-3429).  

I know Linda has been finding a lot of that too. Can you guys shed some light on why there are so many disconnected #s?  I mean what do the spammers have to gain if they can't receive the phone call.

I also hit the feedback on my phone that asked if the number was correct, and indicated that it was not and that it was disconnected.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/1/13 8:03 PM
Geeze - letter D was disconnected too. I agree with you guys - this is really bad. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/2/13 2:13 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/2/13 3:36 PM
To answer your questions about why you are finding a lot of disconnected phone numbers on Google Maps, you have to understand that it began around the year 2004. In that year, these spammers that we are talking about, were not gaining any benefits from spamming Google Maps. At that time they were spamming 411.The trick was to list their phone numbers in all different spots around the city in a way that if someone say, locked himself out on a corner, he was calling 411 and asking for the nearest locksmith. With that trick they had thousands of phone numbers all over the country.
Then over the years, probably about 2008 or 2009, a lot of people started using smart phones and because of the nature of the business they are now trying to do the same trick with Google Maps. Today they even have services such as Google Voice or others.
I know that for example with Google Voice you can set the phone so that when someone dials your Google Voice number, on the other end of  the caller ID, the spammer will see  the Google Voice number that the customer dialed. This means that anyone who dials this Google Voice number, the spammer can save this number in their contacts for example: San Jose locksmith, and just answer “San Jose locksmith, how can I help you?”
So to answer your question, why there are so many disconnected phone numbers, one reason will be that these companies have so many different phone numbers with so many different services, that when they change, they can never track where they put all these phone numbers. We are talking about thousands of numbers.
Another big reason why you will find disconnected numbers is because one of the biggest locksmith scammers just got arrested 2 years ago and was sent to jail while his partner flew out of the country. The company name was Dependable Locksmith. Don’t worry, they did have over a hundred techs that learned the business and saw how much these people were making and some of them do it themselves now.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/2/13 3:43 PM
Today we have 567 locksmiths i Denver city when about over 400 of them are fake...
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/3/13 8:47 AM
How are you creating the estimate of 567 Denver locksmiths.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/3/13 1:09 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/3/13 1:56 PM
On Thursday, October 3, 2013 3:09:00 PM UTC-5, AEGe wrote:

Yes, the density makes it obvious. Locksmithing is just too competitive, few would survive long if there were over 100 in any Metro area. I only know of a handful of locksmiths in any given suburb in the area I serve - 3 in Olathe, 5 or 6 in Overland Park, 1-2 in Shawnee, etc. The rest are pretty obvious scammers/spammers - not just for not being known personally via a locksmith association, but just by the quite obvious devious ways they list themselves in Google Places.

I wouldn't expect much growth in the locksmith field either. Most people look for employment, few try to set up their own businesses. It's just not a bustling field, in spite of the look of it on Google.

Looks like some of the Denver spammers are doing the same tricks I've noted in my area. Like putting a space or apostrophe in "locksmith"

or declaring another category than Locksmith:

using keywords as their company name:

renaming their spam to other business types, possibly to hold the listing in reserve to replace the listings that get removed:

Of those results in AEGe's link, it wouldn't take long to figure out which are spam. If they can't be removed pretty quickly, I'm betting it has more to do with a desire to automate most everything (IOW, Google's understaffed) rather than to do with the alleged-but-improbable great difficulty of removing listings. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/3/13 2:32 PM
I wouldn't use 599 as the # that are in Denver.  I stopped getting ones in Denver around page 11 when I was going through the results.  I'm making some efforts to get this particular subject more attention. Stay tuned.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/3/13 3:28 PM
This problem extends beyond fake locksmiths simply showing up on the map.  Google is failing to rank businesses very well so that fake listings are appearing on the first page of results after searching for "locksmith" search string.  Couple this with fake google plus profiles leaving positive reviews and you have people calling fake businesses and getting ripped off in real life. 
If you want some evidence of this, the best example of these guys gaming SEO and writing reviews for themselves is here: pseudoscammer.  That guy is halfway legal, his phone number doesn't go to a call center, but it looks like he went to the Israeli scam school of locksmithing because his websites are designed in the exact same way, peppered with keywords and nonsense meant to get to the top of the first page.  He has written six fake reviews for himself, as evidenced by the same broken english and poor grammar in every review but with different google profiles.  He is first in google maps results.
Second example is here: Northgate scam artist.  Fake reviews abound.  If you look at the individual profiles that left reviews, they are reviewing garage door repair and locksmith companies all over the country.  This fake listing is also showing very highly, on the first page, of locksmith listings for Google Maps if you happen to be within a mile or two of Lake City, a suburb of Seattle.
This is a problem for Google because it shows that they are unable to keep their search results relevant.  Search results are still Google's bread and butter.  If people stop trusting Google's search results because, say, they got ripped off by a company that was number one in Google's search results, they will remember that and go straight to yelp or angie's list to search for contractors, and maybe alternative search engines for the rest of their needs.  This means that Google will lose traffic, which means that they will lose advertising money, which means that they will continue to lose market share to Amazon and Yelp and maybe even Bing. 
That is why I hereby advise Google to get off their duffs and hire some people to clean this crap up, and maybe cross reference their business listings with the IRS business database.  This could be really easy for Google, but if they let this problem continue to fester as they have for the last ten years, it will come back to bite them, mark my words.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/3/13 7:31 PM
On Thursday, October 3, 2013 5:28:05 PM UTC-5, Bjørn Madsen wrote:
If you want some evidence of this, the best example of these guys gaming SEO and writing reviews for themselves is here: pseudoscammer.  

I'm confused by that link. It gives the search results to "locksmith" in my area. But I'm not clear on who the pseudsoscammer is there. If you intended to link to my area, then I have a very good idea of who you mean... probably this guy. But in my search results, the "first in google maps results" is me (maybe due to me and my computer being at or very near the SAC of my business). That is, it's me if you stay on the search results. If you click the Map and go to the listings, I drop precipitously for some reason.

I think your post rings very true. Google needs more people for sure. A "technical fix" is never enough; it's usually the start of more errors to fix, which result in more errors to fix. Cross referencing with the IRS is a better idea than "uploading documents" (how would Google detect the forged documents from authentic ones?).
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/4/13 7:09 AM
I blogged about you guys this morning.  I'm hoping to draw more attention to this issue. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/4/13 7:35 AM
Thank you!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Find a Pro 10/4/13 7:37 AM
Thank you!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/4/13 8:14 AM
Oh my bad.  That link for goes to a website without an index file, maybe he got taken down or is feeling the heat?  Here is a better link: pseudoscammer.  This guy actually answers his own phone, but all of the positive reviews for him have that poorly written English as a second language feel to them, and none of the reviewers have any content on their google plus profiles.  On yelp he has been excoriated for poor service.  Somebody recently wrote a bad review for him and he deleted his Google plus page for his business, so now he shows up in Maps results but you can't see information about his business.  He's a really smart Ashkenazi type, any suburb + locksmith you search for around Seattle and he comes up first with a search engine optimized page full of keywords and lock-related pidgin English nonsense.  If he was actually a good locksmith I suspect he would be some real competition.  Anyway I went to the address he used to have listed and it was an apartment with a no trespassing sign.  Nobody answered the door.  I suspect he probably dots his i's etc.  The only scammy thing he does is fake reviews and bomb google with lots of SEO, which makes his websites look identical to his scammer brethren.  If Google wanted a case study for what they are up against with regard to abuse of their search results, they couldn't do much better than this guy.  Maybe he is the webmaster for fidelity and run local and all of the other scam outfits.
Speaking of Israeli locksmith scammers, many of you will find this cartoonishly interesting:
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/4/13 7:58 PM

On Friday, October 4, 2013 10:12:21 AM UTC-5, Bjørn Madsen wrote:

Speaking of Israeli locksmith scammers, many of you will find this cartoonishly interesting:

Yeah, I definitely found that interesting stuff. Just a change of location though, which is common with the call centers. I think it was Colorado's AG that asked Meni to promise to stop the lies, which of course he promised, which promise predictably he broke because he profits by lies.

I wish Google would enforce its motto "Don't Be Evil" on its own property better and forbid all RL's cousins from Adwords, and not just RL alone. All those other lowball service fee companies are doing precisely the same thing as RL. That RL got the spotlight in the news, and fell under IRS's radar as well, demonstrates the racketeering they ALL engage in. The difference between RL and those other call centers in Adwords are different business names and different "management". Nothing else.

It might be that those fraudulent adwords "take" (in the very worst sense of the word) as many or more Google users than the spam on Maps…

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/4/13 8:41 PM
Oh I am sure the scammers make far more money off of adwords than they do fraudulent maps listings.  I used to have Adwords for a short time just to see what kind of frequency in calls could be obtained by having a really low service call advertised.  The cost to get an ad popping up on the first page at the top for Seattle is about $12-$15 for highly contested keywords.  If you have ever tried calling these bozos you know how persistent they are at calling back over and over though so I am sure that isn't much when they are getting $200 every job.  Plus, if Google is making as much money off of these scams as I think they are, they probably are offering bulk discounts to the scammers.  Imagine how many clicks these guys get, advertising in every city in North America.  I bet they are only paying a few dollars per click to Google because they are such a huge customer.  I wish it was common knowledge that you can just call AAA and sign up for their service over the phone for half the price the scammers would charge to open a car.
Anyway, if you are interested, when I had adwords I got a TON of calls.  I only broke even on adwords because I was charging normal market rates though, and the scammers were no doubt engaging in click fraud.  When I had a listing on Google, I only got a few calls from it per month. 
Google won't remove adwords though unless you have legal evidence that you were defrauded by the company that posted the ad.  There is nothing that we can do about the adwords except engage in click fraud ourselves, or maybe set up stings.  For $15 service call, you can catch these guys without contractor's licenses or business licenses.  Whether or not the police show up when you call is another matter entirely.  For that matter, Yelp won't remove scam listings either.  At least Yelp's filter seems to work better though.
More entertainment: a scammer shot!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/4/13 8:32 PM
Additionally, here is a screen capture of the "map results for locksmith" from my Android device, below the adwords.  Every single one of them is fake.  Every single one of these listings has been reported on Google Mapmaker over two weeks ago.  Yet they are all still there. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/4/13 9:34 PM
Hi All, 

First of all - Joy, thank you for the great post on your blog, It was a pleasure to read and thank you again for taking this matter so seriously. Now I know why you're a Top Contributor :)
In a personal note, I'm from Israel, so is AEGe. Some of the posts here are really personal and being the guy who opened this thread I don't know how to take it. 

My nationality, before I moved to the states, has nothing to do with my trade. You make it sounds like there are no US born criminals and thank god for the "Israeli Mafia" that can keep all the DOC jobs.. 

I've met a lot of crooked people, different nationalities - believe it or not. 

I encourage you to stick to the topic - Spam in Google and lets try to help each other and help Google identify the source of the problem so we can all make decent living. We all have families to feed and bills to pay. In Denver, I was never treated as a "Scammer"/ "Foreigner" by any of the other locksmiths, I've got great training and significant help from the other locksmiths who treated me as equal and made me a part of the community. 

So if we can avoid the racism remarks, I'd really appreciate it. I don't want to list all the "American based SEO companies" who will do anything for money, directories who will destroy your business and sell ads to anyone who will dare to bid higher then you, enabling this fraud (These companies are all american...) - Remember the yellow pages? 411? And I think that as mentioned before, our biggest fear is that Google will forget the "Do no evil" and follow the money instead of creating a great local product. We've seen other companies who did it before, then we saw how the customers migrated to the next best directory.

Back to the discussion:

Can we get an official response from Google to the thread? 
Is there a way that Google will work with us on eliminating these fraudulent listings BEFORE they make a lot of money and think that crime pays?
Oh.. yeah - And can we stop with all that Israeli mafia bias (It's only few bad weeds that control HUGE amount of listings)?

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/5/13 5:36 AM
Other than locksmiths, have you guys seen any other industries with this level of spam?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/5/13 7:53 AM
categories, plumbers and garage doors are the same people
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/5/13 8:25 AM
641 results... going up, give it a month we will have 1000 locksmiths in Denver
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/5/13 8:21 PM
I assume you are taking offense to my posts.  I never criticize Israelis in general.  I have only criticized Israeli scammers.  I have included the Israeli modifier because there is definitely a common denominator amongst the kingpins of these locksmith scams.  They are all Israeli.  They all have names like Ido, Yaron, Misha, Koby Minappolise, Xezi, etc.  The common thread here is that they all seem to have this background, and it is useful in identifying them.  You may have started the thread, and you may be Israeli, and there may be some Israeil locksmiths including you who are good guys, but that doesn't change the fact that all of the scammers, at the top, seem to be Israeli.  Hopefully we can stop them before they ruin the good name of Israelis everywhere.  Let us not forget that when Dependable got busted, it was discovered that the majority of their money was going to "El Ad Group", an Israeli multinational. 
As for claims of racism, Israelis are not genetically different from their neighbors in Palestine or Arabs, and there aren't any Palestinian locksmith scams anywhere in the USA so I think that claims of racism fall flat on their face.  There is no racial common denominator here, only one of nationality (Israel).  See this article.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/5/13 8:14 PM
Also, the categories as previously mentioned are garage doors and plumbers but add to that moving companies.  To find out simply look at google maps results for scammers and see who positively reviewed them.  If these Google Plus profiles have more than three reviews they will be for moving companies, garage door repair, and plumbers.  Not sure if the same people come out to do the work.  I would hate to see the aftermath if they did all of these things for one household.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/5/13 8:24 PM
I'm going to have to agree with Bjorn, I think he was completely referring to the Israeli mafia that is behind most of the locksmith scams, not yourself.  You are relatively new to it, but fighting the locksmiths has gone on for years  There are entire teams devoted to it, doing work similar to yours but having done it for much longer; and it is well established that this is an Israelis at the top of these scams.  Not realizing that I am one of the people that have taken down hundreds of their listings; I have had multiple people contact me directly from Israel to try to recruit me into helping them "with their business issues".  This does not in any way reflect on the average Israeli, but rather just on these scammers.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/6/13 7:52 AM
Today, we have 643 locksmiths in the city of Denver. Must be thousands in the USA.....
If the spammers are the "Israeli mafia".... can someone please report them to the police already...??
or if not....! maybe we can all go back and think about how to remove them from Google maps! Thank you.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/6/13 8:04 AM
We must find a solution!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado MBlumenthal 10/6/13 11:36 AM
Am I correct that there are likely three issues intersecting here?

1-New Locksmith spam coming in through MM
2-Old Locksmith (and plumbing and garage doors) showing up due to the change in the main algo (aka Hummingbird)
3-Google adwords highlighting these bad actors?

Are there other vectors that I missed in reading this thread?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/6/13 11:50 AM
Another vector by which the spammers get their stuff on Google's services is through the phone book.  Google is trying to minimize work done by actual people so I think they have set up their "Google Automated Places Data Copier" to copy business listings from elsewhere on the web and from the Yellow Pages.  We all know that this problem originated with the phone book before Google Inc. was even an entity, and the phone companies have shown very little interest in getting rid of this problem.  Most of the ads in the phonebook are, like on the internet, placed by scammers/spammers. 
I think Google is copying the information from the phone books.  The scammers may also have figured out certain websites to put their listings on, and once Google notices the same business with the same address on a few of these websites they must assume the business is real.  If you ever go to the so-called second tier review sites, like insiderpages and, or king5's "linktown", you will find that these are completely dominated by scammers trying to get SEO improvements and also probably get their businesses spidered by Google's crawler.  Whatever the case, I am sure that the scammer kingpins have some of their indentured servants working around the clock trying to figure out how to game Google's system so that they can continue driving their Rolls Royces and living extravagant lifestyles (producing action films in which they star LOL). 
By exploiting this
Google Automated Places Data Copier I think they can sidestep the whole vetting process Google has established to weed out fakes.  I know I would like to sidestep this process.  It has been months and months since I had my business on Google Maps, and my new listing has said it is "pending review" for at least three weeks now.  Maybe the same guy over in India that approves mapmaker edits and reads problem reports also approves Google business listings.  Whatever the case, I think they figured out some back doors that Google hasn't cleaned up yet.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/6/13 8:42 PM
1. I'm not sure how they are doing it, I think that they are using the MM.
2. Not sure
3. Yes

Any chance of stopping it?

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/7/13 3:40 AM
I can't find any similar patterns among moving companies or plumbers - they're nowhere near as bad as locksmiths.  I think this is one of the reasons why this problem exist - the rest of the business world doesn't experience this level of spam.  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/7/13 7:03 AM
One trick they are using is to make tons and tons of submissions but initially they are submitted as some other type of business.  Then they are changed to locksmith category as others are removed.  Another trick I have been noticing is that they are making service area business submissions which Google has made impossible to click "report a problem" on.  It also removes the easiest way to prove these businesses are fraudulent, because you can't see their purported business address.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/7/13 7:09 AM
@locksmithvigilante - yeah I noticed that trick a lot when I was researching.  This is a perfect example:
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/7/13 7:20 AM
The implications of this many submissions just floor me.  I assume Google would block ip addresses if they noticed lots of fraudulent submissions, so the guys behind this must have some large ip block ranges and Google is afraid of blocking a whole ip range and blocking legitimate Google users, or the bad guys have taken ip spoofing one step higher than Google can track.  I know Google already blocks ip addresses belonging to Tor exit nodes and other anonymous proxy servers due to my efforts to click on spammers' ads and cost them money without Google tracking me.  There is enough money in this that I am sure the spammers can afford to hire really smart guys in Eastern Europe and Russia to figure out how to circumvent protection schemes.  I would not be surprised to learn that they control a botnet in order to marshal this many ip addresses.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/7/13 7:43 AM
Indeed.  Mafia is just short-hand for an organized criminal organization with cultural ties that knit them together and distinguishes them from the broader population on which they prey.  Asserting that the Italian Mafia scams the construction industry in NYC or that the Mexican Mafia runs drugs in the Southwest US is not racist.  It may be prejudiced as I don't actually know what those organizations do, or even that they exist, from my own personal knowledge.

Asserting that there exists an Israeli Mafia of people with cultural ties to Israel that functions as scam artists in some service type businesses may not be correct.  But such assertions need not be base in a racist creed, though they may be used by racists to reinforce their belief systems. 

There are groups of bad actors in any group.  I'm not sure what the equivalent 'White American' group would be: rapacious capitalists, outlaw motorcycle gangs, there are many to choose from.

Of course, I'm not sure there is much benefit to characterizing it as an Israeli Mafia as most Israelis are valuable, contributing members of society and, I am sure, many scam locksmiths have no association with Israel.

And I have no personal knowledge of the involvement of an Israeli Mafia in locksmith scams.  I have heard the assertion a few times and even repeated it on occasion.  Such repetition without knowledge is incorrect and until I have some knowledge or an unequivocal assertion from someone I trust, I will refrain from using the term in this context.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/7/13 8:18 AM
There is a tremendous amount of Israelis and a huge amount of Russians in the locksmith scam! All related to Israel! since about 1990, in Israel there are 2 to 3 million immigrants Jewish from Russia.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/7/13 8:24 AM
Ah, the Russian Mob.  Now there is something people can think there teeth into.

Personally, I think the entire Russian government is run similarly to an organized crime syndicate.  Most governments have some such resemblance, ast it is a small step from any government's monopoly on violence to using that monoploy for nefarious ends.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/7/13 9:10 AM
605 locksmiths results just in Denver today. I know that about 400 of them are spammers from Israel and Russia. I agreed with LocksmithVigilante about the IP address program.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/8/13 11:47 AM

Mr Local and AEGe, have you guys thought of presenting the issue to the local police and to postal investigators? Consider taking some examples of addresses that really belong to Supercuts and other shops but have been claimed by another entity. It might be the start of a local investigation into that crime (address fraud). Locksmiths I know have been making complaints to AG's and larger political entities, but maybe a better tactic is to fight locally.

In the meantime, Google can write a new algorithm…. <rolls his eyes>

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/8/13 5:45 PM
chrstphrWe are trying to work on a permanent solution for this situation with the local authorities.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/8/13 6:02 PM
It looks like there is a Map Maker User on Google Maps that changes the category to locksmith. Why doesn't Google block this user right away?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/8/13 6:07 PM
Which user?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/8/13 6:22 PM
Sorry, I was wrong. It's Google Automated Internal Syncer 4. Is there a way to track where that comes from and how to block it? At least the locksmith category?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado W12 engine (RL) 10/8/13 11:23 PM
If you are referring to this user : Google Automated Internal Syncer 4. No, it's a bot. Read this post.

The bot profile is this -

Job - Automatically immediately syncs Map Maker data from another internal system.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/8/13 11:48 PM
It seems like it would be really easy to set up sting operations to catch these guys, but I suppose the police are too busy getting department funding/writing traffic tickets to do this sort of thing (though not having contractor's license or business license or using fake business name violations would be on the order of thousands of dollars, if they were ever paid)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/9/13 8:00 AM
GAIS4 is commonly believed to be the bot that synchronizes changes on Places Pages to MapMaker.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/9/13 8:02 AM
While I admit these guys are dishonest, what laws are they breaking?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/9/13 8:32 AM

In New York, a bunch of businesses were fined for fake reviews so I'm thinking fake locations and listings might fall under the same category? Hopefully? I'm not a law expert :)

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/9/13 8:42 AM
I applaud the action and I hope it is repeated elsewhere.  At this time there is little to no risk in spamming online review and search systems.  If the FTC takes an interest in treating these as unfair trade practices that dynamic will change.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/17/13 3:32 PM
Here is a brilliant idea for the Google Engineers:

Premise: about half of all fake locksmith listings on Google Maps were originally not categorized as locksmiths, but were changed to locksmith category from Parking Lot or Cafe categories later after approval.
Proposal: Rewrite rules for Google Places so that business owners cannot add the category Locksmith to any business.  If you want to have a Maps listing for a locksmith business, you have to put that in your original business listing submission.
2.  Cross reference all locksmith listings with or the equivalent for every state.  If the listing doesn't come up as a legal business name or trade name, then remove it.  Easy!
3.  Stop allowing adwords accounts for known scam businesses like Fidelity Locksmith, one of the greatest corruptions of a word I have encountered. (I know this won't happen, but a guy can dream)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/17/13 5:31 PM
#1 Proposal is the main thing. Regarding #1: Include "Key Duplication Service" in that. And once they figure Locksmith and Key Duplication Service are red-flagged, some or many will likely turn to "Roadside Assistance" and similar. My area's primary spammer is now trying to be several "tows and lockouts" businesses when for the past year his many websites advertised the skills of a highly trained locksmith.

But you're right. Obviously very few people on earth would ever change their business from "deli" to "locksmith" after just a few days, or months. It's such changes that must be noticed.

I was thinking everyone had to get a verification card, but apparently Google verifies by phone? Hmph, yeah that'd explain so many of the fake addresses… If this is true then that cheapness is hurting their Maps.

I have reservations about #2 proposal. It would be good if all states required licenses AND enforced that law themselves. Until then I don't know what an equivalent to locksmith licenses would be. Some cities don't require business licenses for home-based businesses. And where business licenses are required, are such lists on the Net? (Yet another handy-dandy tool for the solicitor-harassers of the world). MM's "spamhunters" sometimes (or maybe often) reference ALOA-associated directories to verify whether home-based locksmiths are "legitimate". One big problem with that is a lot of perfectly legitimate locksmiths opt to not join ALOA and they should never be required to do that under any circumstances, including doing it to make their residence-based business on Google safe from spamhunters.

Far better to just 1) verify by card the addresses for listings of all categories and 2) check business-name/business address/business-category changes in troubled categories (which is going to have to cover misspellings and non-English spellings of "locksmith" because those are tricks used to evade Google's notice) and 3) give the highest priority to the reports from citizens about spam and 4) make reports possible for all listings (some of these spams are protected from even being reported for investigation) and 5) HIRE MORE HUMANS rather than rely overmuch on automation (and on free help).
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/17/13 5:31 PM
We need to find out how they do it?. Than we need to report it to Google. I'm talking about how they do it technically?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/17/13 5:54 PM

From recent days of studying the behavior of my area's spammers in Map Maker, what I see is this:

1) They list a Deli or Auto Repair Shop or Antique Shop or Plant Nursery or Tow Service. The name might be "Independence Loc Deli" if the intent is to turn it into a spam in a city called Independence, and make it into a Locksmith spam. That way most of the letters are already in the business name field, they just need to backspace a little and not erase and start typing in the whole field which might set off a re-verification process.

2) They give it a stolen address or a made-up address to place it wherever they want on the Maps. My guess is this address is verified not by card but by a mere automated phone call, thus the ease of listing so many false addresses.

3) They come back after the listing is on the Maps and start making little edits here and there. Often they pick "Key Duplication Service" instead of "Locksmith". Sometimes they'll leave "Physician" or "Auto Repair Shop" or whatever the original category was, and just add Locksmith or Key Duplication Service as secondary category.

And voila, they have a locksmith listing that is place-based not rankings-based. People looking for a locksmith, whether on home computer, tablet or smartphone, will select the "red dot" they see on Google Maps that looks closest to them, thinking that's how to get the fastest service. They ring that number, and ask the price but probably don't hear the question actually answered except in a maybe-sorta-kinda-about-such-n-such price but yet hire the service anyway and thus get themselves manipulated and robbed.

Surely Google knows this by now. The question is if they'll put enough people onto the problem to resolve it very soon.

What'd I'd like to see in addition to a fix to the above problem, is serial spammers banned from using Google at all if that's possible.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/17/13 5:50 PM
574 locksmith results in Google maps in Denver today, full of fake address fake locksmith locations. Nothing really change. I just feel sorry for anyone locked out of their house
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/18/13 7:51 AM
I like the idea of filtering on changes of Category to Locksmith, and maybe a few related Categories.  I'll pass it on.  Keep in mind that things that are logically simple are not always easy to add to legacy code.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/18/13 7:58 AM
"Idea men" such as myself are historically unconcerned with the "how" part of fixing a problem! 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/18/13 8:02 AM
     I know that several of the MapMaker based spam fighters reference ALOA as one mechanism of identifying spammers.  I think you and a couple other legitimate locksmiths have dissuaded them from using absence on ALOA as an absolute identifier of a spam listing.

    I'll see if I can get any comment from Google about phone vs postcard verification. My current understanding is that any change of address will require postcard verification.  Phone verification is only offered when the relationship between the phone number and address has a long history in Google's index.

    As to the inability to report hidden address listings in Maps.  My contacts at Google don't like it either.  It was an unintended consequence of the the interaction of two changes.
1. removing hidden address listings from MapMaker so people couldn't find the address just by flipping from Maps to MapMaker
2. using the MapMaker editing interface for community edits so they weren't maintaining two edit interfaces for the same objects

     It is something Google wants to fix.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/18/13 8:06 AM
That's ok.  "How men" such as myself need someone to come up with good ideas for us to work on.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/18/13 8:36 AM
MM spamfighters have never used ALOA's database as a requirement, but rather it has always been a trusted source.  The equivalent is Street View; if I can see you in Street View I know you exist, but if you're not there doesn't necessarily mean you don't exist.

Power users in Map Maker are quite sophisticated with their reasoning and logic.  In addition, their deletions then need approval of a reviewer.

One reason it might be said "Well why aren't you listed there?" is because it is usually people who claim that there is a ton of spam and they are the only ones fighting it.  ALOA does a lot of fighting of this spam both on the Map and in the real world, and campaigns for registration laws and such.  It would seem that if the spam is an issue in your area then you'd want to align and contribute towards an organization that works towards lessening that impact on you.  But again, it's never been a requirement.

Using databases such as ALOA is not a problem at all, it is just one of numerous resources.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/18/13 9:16 AM
I think that Google will not take a step up any time soon by using outside resources for locksmiths. I think that all the locksmiths will agree that Google Maps, with all this locksmith spam around, has become almost useless for all the legitimate locksmiths. We are talking about one legitimate locksmith verses a minimum of ten fake locksmiths around them. Maybe the best solution for Google is just to make it more difficult on the locksmiths. Maybe Google just needs to block the Locksmith Category or Duplicate Key Category, and even the word, "locksmith," in the business name. I think, just speaking for myself, that again, there are too many fake addresses for locksmiths on Google Maps, and they need to be blocked. Google has become useless for real locksmith businesses.
If there is a, "cleaner", that cleans the map, and the word,"locksmith,"  will be blocked, maybe we will stop all this in 2014.
When I mean, "block," the locksmith word on Google Maps, it means that any locksmith that will want to list themselves as a locksmith on Google Maps will have to get through manual authorization.
Because of the circumstances, I think many legitimate locksmiths in the US, Canada, and Europe, will agree with me.
Keep in mind that all the locksmiths will agree that our name has been destroyed for years.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/21/13 10:21 AM
Today we have a fake listing with no website. They are passing all of us and rising up in the, "locksmith Denver" search. It must be because the business name is "Locksmith Denver." However, it just shows that listings have nothing to do with ranking. They have fake listing, a fake address, a fake business name, and no website, but it is on the first page in a major keyword search.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/21/13 7:29 PM
I see they also have three reviews which gives their listing greater search relevance in Google's eyes.  Most of the three reviews are probably fake, but Google doesn't know that.  I would say try to get your customers to leave you Google reviews to stay ahead of them, but my personal experience shows that Google will sometimes delete your business listing and reviews for whatever specious reason comes into their heads.  I just mention to my customers that I appreciate their reviews and every once in a great while somebody leaves me a review on Google Maps, though I have none to show for it at the moment.  In the past I had four or five reviews and that was enough to  propel me to the front page in my city.
(unknown) 10/22/13 3:57 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/22/13 5:15 AM
Exactly, Who checks the locksmith List?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/22/13 6:04 PM
So today we have 658 locksmiths in Denver. Numbers go up.
(unknown) 10/22/13 8:19 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/22/13 11:17 PM
After a month that we've been here, talking, getting mad, praying for Google to help, I give up. 
I finally found why they don't care. 

Google is a company with one goal. Making money. Here, I've attached a screen shot from my bank, the almighty non-functional company (Or just Google) has one department that works great. Zero mistakes and right on time. They can do it when they want to, but I guess that they just don't want to. 

So dear Google monster, enjoy the last $500 you'll ever see from me, I'm taking my business to another search engine, my advertising and my reviews. You lost me both as an advertiser and as an end user. 
At this point, with 650 results and after spending a lot of nights by the computer, you finally broke me. I don't care, I'll say it. You make bad products. Humming bird, Penguin, Panda, name it however you want to name it, I have some better names to your products at this point, and nigher one of them is humming. 

Enjoy the spam salad that you've created and watch how your real advertisers are leaving. I guess all this time I was fighting the wrong war. I shouldn't fight spam, I should have fight Google. 
Your billing department works great, by the way. 
(unknown) 10/23/13 12:03 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/23/13 6:22 AM
Mr. Local > I'm sad to see you give up but I totally understand and might do the same if I was in your shoes.  I can assure you that the departments inside Google don't really have much to do with each other.  I tried to get some Adwords questions answered and the employees who work in this department don't touch Adwords.  So the people who work on Places have no idea what your Adwords bill is.  

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/23/13 6:36 AM
Let's turn to other offices and not here. Google maps doing so much damage to small locksmith businesses nationwide. Must be another way.. We should get together, you can always get a new law
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/23/13 9:25 AM
Dear Joy, 

I did not give up. I gave up on Google. As a company, as an advertising platform, as a product & as a search engine. 
When someone will ask me about spam in the internet, My answer will be that spam is Google and Google is spam. There are one. One month with zero progress. That's a joke. I'm sorry but it is. 

I tried to get a virtual office, telling myself that since I'm running a mobile business it will be better to center myself in Denver, instead of listing my home address and being on page 13 on local results. 
I've been told that it's a violation of Google quality guidelines. However, this guy listed on cook st, clearly a virtual office is on the first page.

So.. What guidelines? Or should I ask what quality does Google see in it's products? They have mass users who are bind to the service just because it's better then Bing. It reminds me Apple fans that stand in lines to buy the new iPhone, iPad, iLoser products without ever testing it. So Google announced G+ (What is is!?) Humming bird, Panda, Penguin.. but check the first page. The organic results has spam or yelp on it, the local results are spam, so... what are we all doing here? Begging to Google to monitor this forum? Do we care to beg to someone who doesn't care for us? 

Why would I want to finance a company that uses this money to destroy me? my business? It's like a drug addict, a person who knows that it will kill him but has to buy more, until he dies or quit. 
So no, I will not finance this company. In fact, I will start a new fb group asking small businesses to avoid Google as an advertising platform. I think that I'm too small for Google to pay attention to me. I think that maybe it's time for me to stop trying save Google from itself. If they won't remove the spam and watch small businesses going under just because "it takes time", then that's fine. 

So Joy, I appreciate all of your help and I wish you will be a Google employee at one point, so you can build some sense in the system. Till then, I'll fight Google because I think that the only way to stop spam is to stop Google. 

Anyway.. good luck everyone. I think that you are wasting your time here, Google just wants your $$$, not to help you build a better world. If you are locksmiths or any other small biz owners, shut down your campaigns. Close your accounts and lets create a new network. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/23/13 11:36 AM
The long delays to take pretty easy measures about spammers are not due to technical difficulties. It's due to bureaucratic idiocy.

I agree with the distrust of Google. Of course I never did trust them - they're a corporation after all. I won't give up working to deal with spam. But really the bigger evil in the world is Google itself, and I'm devoted to spreading news of its untrustworthiness, in talk letters and social media. In what I've done in that direction already, I found some distrust is already there and growing among people.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/23/13 11:48 AM
As a small business owner and consumer, I am greatly offended by local search spam.  I actually get to rail directly at Googlers from time to time; I don't get any further than you do.  It's mostly because spam filters is one subject that no Googler will discuss.

They have made significant progress in general search spam.  They've only managed to hold their own in local search spam.  When you consider that the fight is spam is two-sided and that the spammers continue to modify their exploits; I suppose you could say keeping spam from getting worse is progress.

I know the locksmith spam is bad; but it has always been bad.  It is one of a number of industries with a similar set of service characteristics (occasional use by most consumers, often some urgency associated with the need, low entry costs, commodity service) for which search spam seems to be worth the effort.  I suspect an inverse relationship exists between success in search spam and quality of service as the spamy companies put more of their resources into this dark marketing effort than into operations.
(unknown) 10/23/13 5:29 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 7:44 AM
It may not be as easy to change the code as it is to state the solution.

Google requires automation to scale to the volume of information they deal with.  There are over 100,000,000 businesses listing in Google Local search.  At 1 minute per listing it would take 70,000 person-days to review them all.  And Local is a fairly small part of their search engine.  The number of web pages indexed is well into the trillions.

I don't think they are bored with the spam issue.  I think it is a threat to their existence and they put significant effort into combating it.  But, they don't put a lot of effort into one-off solutions, like fixing your list of locksmith spam.  I think they do use the information you provide to help them develop spam fighting algorithms.

I heard a story the other day that Sergey Brin thought the original Page Rank algorithm was immune to spam because no one would link to spammy results.  What we've found is that there is a whole spam structure on the web, hiding in amidst the legitimate pages. 

In my opinion, the problem isn't that Google doesn't want to fight spam as it is that they are simply outnumbered.  If the only penalty for creating spam is losing the spam you created, lots of people will create spam.  Think about it as stealing, if the only penalty for being caught stealing is that you have to give back what you are caught with, there will be a lot of creative people think about ways to steal.  I don't know if we can create and enforce criminal penalties for spam (though NY took a shot at it with Review spam); but I am currently advocating finding and nuking every listing associated with a spam listing.  Then the nuked listing owners can come here and try to explain how they weren't part of the spam network that was taken down.  I'm sure the solution isn't as simple as I'm making it sound either.

But really, every TC here and every Googler I have every talked to is deeply offended by spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 10/24/13 7:52 AM
I wish I could +1 stuff in here because Jim I agree 100%.  Well put!!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 8:18 AM
And, assuming an 8 hour work-day; it's actually 24,000 person days.  My previous estimate assumed a 24-hour work-day.

(had to edit again, my math skills seem a little below par today)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/24/13 10:30 AM

I know many of these locksmith spam people. They are hiring young Israeli people to work for them. None of these people are part of an, "Israeli Mafia". They are just a bunch of smart kids working and bending the rules a bit to make big bucks! Most of these guys come here to make money for a couple of years and leave. Many of them who work for the locksmith spam companies are here with tourist Visas. This means they are not allowed to work, and they are only supposed to be touring! I hear the word on the street is the younger the guy is, the better it is. The older people get the point that it is too dangerous and they will not take the risk themselves.

The young Israelis are being contacted in Israel with ads saying things like, "Work in America and make $5000 a month!" To a young  20 something year old israeli guy you are talking about 17,500 Israeli shekel chads. In Israel the minimum wage is about 3000 Israeli shekel chads. Many people will come temporarily to a country far away from their home to make 3-4 times more money than they are making in their own country.

Here is a link to one of this website ads:, You will have to translate it.

Stopping these people...

Whoever wants to stop these people, first of all, needs to understand they are not criminals. Most of them have no legal documents allowing them to work here, and most of them are just too young to understand that they are actually being used by the spammers.

In Israel, by law, you go to be a fighter soldier in the army, air force, etc. Israel is surrounded by enemies. About 80% of all Israeli, men and women, receive a year and half of very hard training, and a year and a half serving in Gaza and Lebanon. You are talking about hard working, 22 year old guys coming to America to work 24/7 as locksmiths and make lots money… see the potential?

The spammers tell them they will take care of the Visa paperwork to make it legal for them to work here, but nothing happens, and money talks.

You are talking about nice, good kids… I know that if just one message was getting to these young kids about what will happen to their Visa status if they get caught working here, a lot of them would be quick to leave.

By law, if they get caught working here illegally,  they cannot go back to the US for the next 10 years, plus they will spend a few months in jail. I believe that immigration need to get involved with this.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 10:37 AM
The kids you are describing are just as much victims as are the consumers that get ripped off and the legitimate businesses that are buried by the actual criminals running the operation.

But, if the people running things operate as you describe, and use misleading pricing practices as described in these Locksmith spam threads, then they are criminals.  It sounds like the leaders are organized, Israeli, and operating a criminal organization.  Hence they get called an Israeli Mafia.  Perhaps they are non-violent and we should just call them a gang or mob; but those terms tend to have violent connotations too.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/24/13 10:47 AM
As anybody who has travelled to the Eastern Mediterranean might have noticed, people in that region like to barter on prices.  I am sure these Israeli guys when they first get over here think it is laughable that citizens of the USA take the first price that gets tossed off.  They know on some level that they are ripping people off though, and their operation depends on a lot of lying to their customers.  After a few weeks of this they are in a morally indefensible position.  Getting these guys in trouble is exactly what we should do, maybe they will go back to Israel and tell their friends why they can't go back to the land of milk and honey for ten years.  This is all beside the point though.  The question is, how to get at the root of the problem: the guys who are putting up the ads and hiring nice kids and turning them into degenerate indentured servants.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/24/13 10:56 AM
You are very right, and also not right. Lets face it, many twenty something year old guys, from anywhere in the world, will agree to bend the rules a bit and make a ton of money in a short amount of time. These young kids know what they are doing, they just don't see the consequences of it. I know that that none of the locksmith spammers will become violent, and maybe this is why the FBI, and all the police are not doing anything about what is happening. Most of them wouldn't even try to break into your home, even if they had you keys.
Which laws do they break?
They mislead the consumers with prices and it looks like nobody cares about it.
The are spamming Google Maps, but it looks like Google will not hire anybody to, "clean," the maps. We mean that Google needs to clean 50 major cities in the US to stop these guys, but it's not happening.
That's why the ONLY law that they are breaking, that I believe will get attention, is the immigration law.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 11:16 AM
I like the idea of a two-pronged approach; one from Google and one from the civil authorities.  Google should work to identify heavy spammers and ban them from using Google services, all Google services.  The government should prosecute them for fraud (and immigration violations, RICO, and anything else they can throw at them).

At this time there is no penalty to discourage this anti-social behavior.  Even social pressure won't work as these operators are anonymous.  Another recent soapbox of mine is "no anonymous on-line identities"; if people have to take responsibility for what they say and do on-line, it will make it possible to apply the same social pressures in on-line situations as control most peoples behavior in real life.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 11:24 AM
Bait and switch pricing is illegal (though notoriously difficult to prove in service industries). 

Hiring people without the proper work documentation is illegal; much more so if the deliberately recruit for and facilitate the illegal work (as you point out).

Locksmiths in 50 major cities isn't even the tip of the iceberg with the spam problem.  The solution you are proposing might address this one issue; and even then only temporarily.  As soon as Google's quality reviewers stop focusing on this industry in those 50 cities, the problem will reappear as Google's efforts are only holding it at bay and they can't afford to maintain that effort.

I think we need to create disincentives for the behavior that are larger than the incentives.  Google can penalize them (as they do with repeat Adsense offenders) and the government can penalize them (as NY recently did with review spam).  Which is just an idea, not a practical solution; but I think it is the only idea likely to fix the problem.  As long as the rewards for succeeding are large and the penalties for failing are virtually non-existent, there is no way for Google can keep up with the number of people willing to game the system.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/24/13 12:02 PM
How is it possible that one of the biggest companies in the world cannot hire about 50 people to clean the maps?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 12:32 PM
Assuming that a person working a full time job can average one listing per minute and that there are 100,000,000 listings in Google Local search.  Then 50 people working for a year could process 6% of the Local listings

[(50 people) * (2000 hours / person*year) * (60 minutes / hour) * (1 minute / listing)] / (100,000,000 listings) = 0.06

From the stories I've heard here a Locksmith spammer can replace a removed listing within 2 - 6 weeks.  So the spammers could replace the listings faster than Google could take them down.  Manual processing really is a hopeless task on this scale.
(unknown) 10/24/13 12:37 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 12:45 PM
I'm not sure if you've ever worked for a large organization, but each department gets a budget.  You're upset that they don't hire 50 people to keep locksmith spam off the map.  This would not be temporary, they would have to be permanent.  Where exactly does that money come from?  Should Maps/Places lay off the engineering division and stop upgrading the products?  Or if you're suggesting that the hire new people without cuts elsewhere, what increased revenues is such a move going to create that will offset the costs?

Google got where they are by using technology, not manual labour.  People don't index the web.  People don't rank the websites.  People don't take the information from owners and manually create points on the map.  It's all automated, with humans only being used as little as possible.  As Jim points out, you are not thinking of the size of the database.  You're also unrealistic with the time needed to research these and thus the amount of work that could be done; I've deleted quite a bit of spam and you need to spend more than 1 minute each on average in order to be absolutely sure; especially because if there were manual checks being done then the spammers would take more steps to obscure what is happening.

This is the technology industry, and Google has gotten where they are by generating some of the most complex and accurate algorithms out there.  The spammers will constantly adjust to new algorithms, though, and then Google will have to make new ones.  But that is the way it is mainly done, through algorithms.  Yes, there are some employees devoted to manually removing spam, probably largely so they can report the latest methods being employed to the algorithm designers.  The thing is, there is mountains of spam, and always will be no matter how much they delete because the spammers keep piling more on.  Hiring some more people to do it manually would cost money that isn't replaced, and not make a dent in the spam.  Continually updating the algorithms is the way to go. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 12:53 PM
@locksmithmonitor - Your suppositions suppose that the spammers all quit adding new stuff, and this is what it would take to clean the map.  First, 333 hours is no where near enough time to do 20,000 listings.  Secondly, there is much more spam that 20,000 listings; restricting it down to Locksmith only spam is something you'd like to see due to your vested interest but is not realistically how it would be done if you actually put together a manual review spam team.  Third, for every listing one took down another 3 are probably being posted, so there goes your 20,000 estimate.  Fourth, for every algorithm you create the spammers will then adjust, and thus you constantly have to update the code.

You seem to think it is very simple.  If it was, then in the free market another company would do it and overtake Google in popularity due to more accurate results.  That's not happening, so I think that should let you know that it's not quite as simple as you envision.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 12:54 PM
Google's interests are a little broader than just locksmith spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/24/13 12:55 PM

locksmithmonitor:  bravo!  

(unknown) 10/24/13 12:58 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 1:01 PM
There is a whole lot of code on the back-end.  There is no way of us telling what is involved in a "simple" change.  It is unlikely to be a single routine that is inserted between the search results and their presentation.  It would need to be incorporated into the existing code base; that is where most of the complexity lies, not in coding the logic itself.

Report a Problem was broken by the interaction of two decisions that were probably made independently.  The interface used to edit listing with Report a Problem was standardized to the MapMaker interface; so G only has to maintain one interface.  And listings with hidden addresses in Google Maps were removed from MapMaker, as the addresses displayed in MapMaker.  So, hidden address listings can't be edited with the MapMaker editing interface.

(unknown) 10/24/13 1:01 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/24/13 1:06 PM
Removing spam may not be as simple as he envisions, but his point that when it has  been in Google's immediate interest to do so that they DID remove the spam very quickly and very effectively has not been addressed.  When reports of the deficiencies of Google Maps have surfaced on local news channels, Google has rectified the issue VERY QUICKLY, on the order of days.  Days, not the turnaround I am seeing of +1month  or more on reported spam.  I am not sure what is hindering their efforts, because Google has shown an ability to climb to the top in the search engine market, phone OS market, etc.  Maybe therein lies the answer: they are concentrating on more lucrative ventures than fixing Google Maps?  
Based on previous documented events like the great spam cleanup after the local news aired a story about it (in Atlanta?  I can't find a link....) we know they have the ability to do this.  Are they afraid of false negatives and pissing  off real locksmiths by removing their real businesses?  They don't seem to mind pissing off real locksmiths by standing by while all of their business is siphoned off to fakes who surround real businesses with fake listings, often placed so close that they cover up the real ones, so they can't be worried about that.  
This whole situation reminds me of the film, "Heart of Darkness": "If I had ten divisions of those menour troubles here would be over very quickly."   If only Google would hire a Kurtz to eliminate this problem!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 1:08 PM
Google is constantly fighting spam.  They don't need to get started as they've had multiple teams dedicated to the effort for years.  What sounds simple when you talk about one industry in a few dozen cities is a lot more complicated when you are talking thousands of industries in tens of thousands of cities.

Fixing locksmith spam all by itself in major US cities fixes your problem; but doesn't address the problem of spam more broadly.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/24/13 1:11 PM
I am reminded at this point of the effectiveness with which Google tackled email spam.  Before gmail, I had a lot of spam.  I experimented with different email client plugins to eliminate it, and then gmail came along and somehow, it just knew what was spam and what wasn't!  I never have false positives, and I get about one spam email a week even though my email address is on my business's front page and everywhere else on the internet as an href link, right out there for spam harvesters.  Maybe Google can't afford to divert the smart guys that build their email spam detection algorithms to make a mapmaker spam detection algorithm?   
(unknown) 10/24/13 1:12 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 1:13 PM
Google has proven their ability to remove a limited amount of spam on a targeted basis, likely using manual techniques similar to what you are advocating.  And they will do so when they perceive that the spam is a problem.  If you want Google to use this method to fight locksmith spam in major US cities, then you need to make the argument that is a problem they need to address; not that is is a problem what would be relatively easy to fix if they choose to address it.

To your point, Google Local is a small part of Google search and locksmiths are a small part of Google Local.  They probably aren't going to assign any resources to fighting spam in one industry in a small subset of search.

Public shaming is often a good way to get a company's attention.  I work in Risk Management for a mortgage bank, and how our actions and their results are perceived is often an important consideration.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 1:14 PM
It is an ongoing battle.  Google figures out a way to remove spam and the spammers figure out a new way to add it.  Filters will never completely remove spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 1:15 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 12:58:06 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
Locksmith spam can be replaced more quickly than that.  Much quicker.  I could outline the specific process, but I don't want to make this available to the wider blackhat SEO crowd.  There are specific structural problems in Geo that came about because of either policy changes or bugs that is encouraging the proliferation of spam.  

You're taking my original figures out of context.  I want to be very specific about the subset of spam that I'm focused on (locksmiths), and the specific geo area (the United States).  Also, my conservative estimate was just that, an estimate.  Manually processing, once you get up to speed, is much quicker, and again, is only limited by the speed at which the tools respond.  I speak from experience, working with Google's own, admittedly less advanced tools via MM.  I assume they have a much more refined, faster set of tools.  

I'm not taking it out of context.  I realized what you were saying, but you are not being realistic with that statement, which was my point.  You state Google would need to only devote that much time to the problem, but why would they target that ones type of spam and no other?  And as I pointed out and you confirm, that number of hours would not end the problem, so why are we discussing that number?

I should also point out Google doesn't have any trouble at all dealing with manual moderation.  They use that on MM for many features, especially if you're trying to remove them.  They also use that for Report a problem, although the Places reviewers are just not as good as the MM reviewers.  Bots are good for repetitive tasks.  They're not devious like spammers, and can't creatively respond to the locksmith spam, which, no matter how you work it, requires some minimal level of human involvement, and constant refinement to tweak the filters, much like email spam.  

You are incorrect to think that the map is largely manually moderated.  If it was, there would be zero spam.  As I have said, there are already workers devoted to spam, but the number of them will always be limited by cost versus return.  Spammers have a bigger return and will always outnumber the number of human moderators, so adding more would not create and net results.

Nonetheless, I could also build filters to automatically process spam in a wide range of categories that would take at most, a few hours of preparation, and could be scaled up globally, based on just a few "tells".  The bot run, however long it would take, wouldn't take long, and wouldn't require manual moderation.  I think I could get it down to only affecting about 5% of good features, which falls well under the 10% internal Google figure that they've used in the past to gauge whether a product change has reached the "Uh oh!" stage.  The 5% can be easily reverted through Support or MM.  It would also remove a significant portion of spam across a wide range of categories, and make it more difficult for spammers to add new spam on the scale they do.  Their approach is dependent on high volume, high turnover for both their spam listings and their "customers".  There's been some structural changes in how they put up new spam which suggests that the bar has been raised, and that they can only keep up if they make certain kinds of shortcuts.  If you keep raising the bar, they will adapt, but it just becomes harder and harder.  Eventually, they'll leave.  

5% of 100,000,000 businesses listings = 5,000,000 listings being incorrectly deleted.  No, that's not acceptable, and no that's not something that could easily be reversed.  And even if you tried, would about all the spammers who would also submit their listings for re-reinstatement?  It's not a case of simply looking at the 5%; if you offered manual review after the fact then the spammers would submit all their listings for re-consideration.  Plus they would adjust their techniques, so your algorithms no longer work.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 1:15 PM
Good point, I rarely get spam emails.  I don't know how they do it or how the methods would transfer to search spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 1:33 PM
And that conversation happened so fast that the posts are all out of order.  Hopefully you guys followed the thread, even if no one after us will be able to.

My basic argument comes down to.

1. Spam is bigger than locksmiths in 50 US cites and is too large to be addressed with manual methods

2. Spammers are motivated and smaller and more agile than Google.  So they will be able to come up with ways around the filters as fast as Google builds them

My proposed solution is to punish the spammers with more than the loss of the identified spam listing.  Google should take down everything in Google that might be related to the account that created the spam, and make them come with an explanation for their behavior begging for the services back.  The government should provide criminal and civil penalties under fraud and deceptive advertising statutes for spammers.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 1:22 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 13:10:21 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
So it takes months to implement this?  Years?  What is an acceptable time table?  Spammers are probing the system everyday.  Their exploits pop up about every three months.  Google's response time is about six months.  The two timetables don't match.  

I understand the technicalities of the structural problems, as I've been following this issue closely in the Places and MM forums.  I don't understand why "fixing" it is taking so long, and the reality is is that hiding the SABs created more problems than it solved, something Google just won't admit it.  The irony here is that your claiming that Google doesn't have the resources to manually verify businesses, and yet this is exactly what they did by calling businesses to 'test' whether they were SABs or not.  Priorities.  

As Jim just said, it's not a case of implementing something, the fight has been ongoing for years; long before you knew of the issue, and it continues.  You seem, though, to want the equivalent of an emergency SWAT team that will jump on any new exploit and foil it in days.  Again, financially that is not feasible.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 1:27 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 13:15:54 UTC-7, jim.jaggers wrote:
Good point, I rarely get spam emails.  I don't know how they do it or how the methods would transfer to search spam.

A lot of the spam system works on people flagging a certain email, and after enough trusted users do so then that email is banned.  The thing is, trusted users for Gmail run in the millions (users that have used it for a long time and have no patterns of being spammers themselves).  The number of trusted users for Maps is extremely limited; I'm one and I do delete or approve the deletion of lots of spam, but you'll never have the millions necessary.  If you lower the trust level, say to something like Craigslist where it just takes a certain number of anonymous flags, then the spammers could delete all the legitimate locksmiths in a day.

I think perhaps what some people here are not thinking about is the complexity of designing a system that ONLY gets rid of spam. 
(unknown) 10/24/13 1:33 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 1:53 PM
I find it unreasonable to spend a lot of time verifying that an obviously spammy listing is spammy,

Then you will delete half of the valid listings, because the majority of legit businesses have spammy listings.

As for Street View, you're confusing a tool to prove something exists with a tool to prove something doesn't exist.  And again, it's manual, and easily circumvented (create a listing where Street View doesn't have a clear shot).  It's not a something that could be utilized.

As for the rest of your argument, it once again supposes that all we're doing is fighting locksmith spam.  That's your focus, but not my sole focus nor Google's.  Continuing to argue that Google is doing nothing by pointing at a very small industry that has the highest level of organized spam attempts of which I know is not an argument to which it is worth responding.  Please provide solutions that talk about spam, not about locksmiths.

By the way, it's interesting how you say Google should use other's databases, and then dump on the ALOA afterward.  There are only two reliable databases of which I know, and the ALOA is one of them.  If spammers can get themselves past Google's filters, then they can easily get themselves on third party databases if you make that the requirement.  Even for the two reliable databases, they are also a tool to confirm existence, but not one to show something doesn't exist.
(unknown) 10/24/13 2:02 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/24/13 2:02 PM
I know that you and I have squared off on the issue of the ALOA before, Flash, and I keep coming back to the point that joining the ALOA is not a requirement for running a locksmith business.  A really good dataset for Google to use, however, is the state and federal business license database.  This is something that scammers cannot circumvent.  They don't want to use their legal business name because their work is poor and they don't want their customers to be able to contact them.  If there is a way to identify them, like a UBI number, they can get taken down legally and slapped with multi thousand dollar fines.  It is way harder to spam my state's business license directory.  It also costs a bunch of money.  If google cross referenced with a directory that cost money, even a little money, spam would go down fast, to a manageable number that volunteers like us could clean up.  We'd have all the time in the world to verify the veracity of listings. 
As for my verifications, I hop on my motorcycle once a week and go to all locations I remove.  If there isn't any sign advertising an open business, it is against Google's terms of service.  I am contemplating making a series of short films consisting of interviews with people living/working at the addresses of these spam listings after they are informed that their address is being used by a spammer, and then them asking Google to fix the problem.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 2:20 PM
I tend to be very careful in my use of numbers.  What numbers did I take out of context?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 2:21 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:02:45 UTC-7, LocksmithVigilante wrote:
I know that you and I have squared off on the issue of the ALOA before, Flash, and I keep coming back to the point that joining the ALOA is not a requirement for running a locksmith business.

And you're missing my point.  It is a verifier, not a determiner.  You really need to understand the difference there, as you are pointing to other verifiers and asking why they are not used as determiners.
A really good dataset for Google to use, however, is the state and federal business license database.

Please name the database that you MUST be on or you are spam.  And don't forget that it would need to be one where the copyright has been released for commercial use (federal are, most state ones are not).
If google cross referenced with a directory that cost money, even a little money, spam would go down fast, to a manageable number that volunteers like us could clean up.  We'd have all the time in the world to verify the veracity of listings.

OK, so now you're saying ones that cost money.  Name the database with a reasonable cost that you MUST be on or you're a spammer. 
(unknown) 10/24/13 2:24 PM <This message has been deleted.>
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 2:37 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:02:43 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
I was speaking to Jim.  He was taking my figures out of context.  It makes it very difficult for me to respond to two people at once, if someone responds to a post that wasn't necessarily intended for them.

Then you need to start using the quote system.
(unknown) 10/24/13 2:39 PM <This message has been deleted.>
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 2:44 PM
Virginia is one of only a handful of states that has databases for locksmiths.  The US is one of hundreds of countries in the world.  Locksmiths are a small portion of the businesses on the map.  It's not realistic to use that database.

I'll accept that you might have to consult different databases for different countries, but you want them to get so specific that they'd have to have thousands of databases to cover all the locksmiths in the worlds, and millions of databases to cover all the industries in the world.  You are again being unrealitic.

Also, you misunderstand copyright.  Data cannot be copyrighted, but if someone else collects the data then you need to pay them for the collection of it, otherwise no one would bother.  One cannot just change the formatting of Google's results and use it's data to run your own search engine.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 2:45 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:39:20 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
The numbers I was referring to in my original post, on how long it would take to validate locksmith listings in the US.

So your argument is that Google should only focus on what is bothering you. 

(unknown) 10/24/13 2:47 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 2:48 PM
It seems to me that you are having difficulty understanding our argument because you are so focused on locksmith spam.  I understand why that is, but to understand what Google will prioritize you need to step back and look at the big picture.  The Google search engine would not be a noticeably better tool if all of the locksmith spam in local search was removed from it.  Therefore Google will not put any noticeable resources into fixing that particular problem. 

They do act on spam reports and I have heard that most of the spam listings reported in these threads (there are 2 or 3 others very similar to this one) have been removed.  But, I've also heard that just so many new spam locksmith listings have appeared that the net effect seems to be leaving spam at the same level.

Locksmith spam is part of a larger grouping of SAB spam.  Other industries with similar problems are carpet cleaners, bail bondsmen, and garage door repairers.  Basically any service that is considered a commodity, is used infrequently by most customers, and when the need arises it is often urgent (I think those are the major common elements, but I may be leaving a few out).  Requiring that such businesses hide their address and limiting them to one listing per metropolitan area was one of the techniques Google tried to control the spam (at that time it often took the form of listing every contractor's and employee's address as a business location).  Obviously that hasn't worked out as well as hoped.

SAB spam is part of a larger problem with local search spam.  There are many other industries that tend to spam the search listings too.

Local search spam in turn is part of a much, much larger problem with general website spam.  Google seems to be doing a pretty good job with website spam; but maybe I'm just less sensitive to it.  The Hummingbird changes seem to have actually made local search spam worse; but they probably helped fight general web search spam.  So the net result was search results, overall, got better.

This is the way Google is going to look at the problem.  They will put more effort into spam techniques that combat general search spam than the do in efforts that combat local search spam and that will get more effort than SAB spam, and then we get to Locksmith spam.  Even if locksmiths are the most spammed industry in Google search; it is a tiny, tiny problem relative to the larger groupings of spam.
(unknown) 10/24/13 2:54 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 2:54 PM
Internet rule 43.1 if it exists, there is search spam of it. (I just made that up by the way, but it isn't far from the truth; e.g. Bail Bondsmen often use Police stations a spam addresses and physical trainers often use parks; so even those things are affected by spam).

I think my last post addressed why Google is unlikely to focus on locksmith search spam.  There is so much other spam, that even if the removed every instance of locksmith spam, the overall level of spam would not be noticeably affected.

While I'm not actually privy to Google's spam fighting priorities, it is reasonable to assume that those priorities will be focused in ways that are likely to have the largest effect: General ==> Local ==> SAB ==> Locksmith is one sample branch of that priortization.
(unknown) 10/24/13 2:59 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 3:03 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:47:43 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
That's kind of the whole point of the Places forums.  I would say that most people come here to bring up something that bothers them, or more specifically, bothers their business.  

That's fine.  What Jim and I are pointing out that is yes, there is an issue here; and we're not saying you are wrong to bring it up.  We're just asking you what is a realistic fix.   Google is only going to implement realistic ones, and you can't fault them for that.  A fix that only covers the areas you are worried about is not realistic, this is a world wide map.  A fix that requires a lot of resources to be devoted to a very small industry is not realistic, the improvement to the map will not match the resources spent.  A fix that requires thousands or millions of databases to be purchased is not realistic, neither financially, logistically, and likely the databases largely don't exist.

We're not fighting you that there is an issue, we're pointing out that your solutions are not something that's going to happen in the real world and are asking you to think of solutions that might actually get implemented.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 3:04 PM
Lawyers is another heavily spammed industry.  I don't hear much about restaurants.

Even if Virginia is not charging for the data, they would have to approve its release and use by Google, after which they wouldn't have any control over what Google does with it.  If they wanted to release it for limited use Google probably wouldn't accept it as they don't know how they will want to use it until they start using it.

Google will not use any copyrighted material, or even potentially copyrighted material on the map.  Information used in Maps must be from personal knowledge, based on public sources where the copyright has been clearly released, or based on private sources that have released the copyright to Google (usually for a fee I assume).

Try making some edits in MapMaker citing a public database that doesn't have a clear statement that the copyright has been released.  If the GR is doing their job, they will deny the edit.
(unknown) 10/24/13 3:05 PM <This message has been deleted.>
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 3:07 PM
I'm not saying they don't work.  It is difficult to prove a negative.  But I firmly believe spam would be so bad that Google search would be unusable if Google was not effectively fighting spam.  That doesn't mean spam isn't bad, just that it could be (and has been) a whole lot worse.  There was a time a few years back where over half the pages in most searches were affiliate marketing sites that scraped some text, didn't even bother formatting it into a readable form, and surrounded it with ads just in the hope that you might click on a ad before you escaped their site (think of a poorly executed or
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 3:08 PM
On Thursday, 24 October 2013 14:59:15 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
No, I understand it very well.  Google will prioritize based on their ideology, their resources, how much money they're willing to spend.  

If you understood it then you misrepresented it.  You've switched suddenly from it's free to use to Google should pay for it.

What they don't seem to be prioritizing is effectiveness.  

Says who?  What proof of that do you have?  You're very focused on just one thing, so you really can't use your experience to talk about the overall results.

So what you've just got done saying is that the techniques they've adopted don't work.  That is not reassuring.  

No, you're either not getting it, or are putting words in people's mouths.  There is no one solution.  When solutions are implemented, spammers will come up with new techniques.  It is a constant back and forth battle.  All your solutions keep supposing the spammers have stopped and there is just clean up to do.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/24/13 3:21 PM
I'm not a copyright expert, but my understanding is that validating information you do use with copyrighted material you don't have rights to is a violation of the copyright.

That is true.  If you lie, either by omission or commission, so Google doesn't know that you use a copyrighted source, they will accept at face value your assertion that you mapped from personal knowledge.

Flash knows the rules of MapMaker sourcing far better than I ever will, so he might correct or amplify some of my statements; but I spend a fair amount of time in MapMaker and I'm confident I've got the rules for sourcing information accurately described.

And, yes the reason they avoid using copyrighted material, even the hint of it, is to avoid being sued for copyright infringement.

GRs do make mistakes, but it should be very unusual for an edit citing copyrighted material, or even material that might be copyrighted, to get approved by a GR.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 7:51 AM
And sorry to tag team you, but I think it took two of us to keep up with you.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 3:26 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:11:53 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
The copyrighted material isn't being used on the Map, it's being used for verification of existing listings.  That's perfectly legal.  I've already covered that point.

No it's not.  I already covered that point.  (See, I can play that game too).  However, I went a step further and gave an example of how you cannot just use data found on the web.

And your idea again has humans checking every listing.  Unrealistic.  Google BUYS databases to feed into the system, they don't do queries through web interfaces.  You said that algorithms are easy, that you could do it yourself.  What you are talking about is thousands of lines of code if you're going to take every listing and have it subjected to figuring out it's industry (you can't just look at the categories), where it is, what databases might apply, and then go do a query... all at the same speed as new listings are being created and edited world wide.

That's a legal dodge.  Google isn't overly concerned where the data comes from, so long as you don't cite the source.  That issue has already been covered in the MM forums and the MM Help documentation.  You can't copy the map to such a degree that you're adopting the particular look or feel of the original source.  You can't make a copy.  

And then if the reviewer can't confirm the information using the sources that they are allowed to use, it gets denied.  You really do need to stop claiming to know a lot about Map Maker, everything you've said so far is wrong.

Also, GRs on MM in the past have approved edits regardless of what's sourced or not.  What Google doesn't want is for you to copy a made-up street from TeleAtlas onto their maps, because the damages from that single instance can be pretty significant.

Trusted reviewers use their own resources, ones that have been cleared for use by Google, to confirm items.  It is supposed to be unsourced in almost all cases, as it is supposed to be from the mapper's personal knowledge or from copying the aerials.  Yes, you may see the occasional source quoted and it is still approved, but you will see that the reviewer usually notes that he used one of his allowed resources instead.  Google would have to be able to prove in court that they had those resources in place at the time should someone bring up a copyright lawsuit.  What you don't see is that most of the sourced edits are denied... denials are hidden from view.  So again, since we are much more knowledgeable about Map Maker, you need to accept what we are saying; as casual observation of that complex tool will not produce correct insights.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 3:34 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:26:41 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
Large commercial entities negotiate access to other entities databases.  Some commercial entities can use Google Maps APIs for free, until they hit certain limits.  Some governments will sell you access to their database, such as property records.  Others will give it away for free.  Google has partner relationships with hundreds of data sources, some free, some not.  I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion from a single sentence, much less all my previous posts.

What conclusion?  Please start using the quote system.  But what I do see in your quote is once again a reference to payment.  Your going back and forth between it's free to use and paying for it.  So let's go back again... Google already pays for many databases.  You want more.  Where in the budget does that money come from?  What do you cut, or what new revenues do you get to offset it?  We've both asked the question a few times and you're ignoring it; you just keep saying Google should dump money into it.

Well, gee, I guess because I'm citing Jim Jaggers, TC, who casually mentioned it probably didn't work.  If you don't believe it, why aren't you arguing with him?  

You are?  How am I supposed to know?  You still aren't using the quote system.

I'm not talking about the overall results.  I'm talking about locksmith spam.  What are you talking about?  

We're talking about realistic solutions that might get implemented.

Negative.  I didn't suppose that at all.  I've made mention in other posts that are other ways to deal with the problem, but I don't want to talk about them in a public forum.   Because spammers.  

I have the sense that you're arguing for the sake of arguing, and you're upset that I don't agree with either Google's or someone else's approach.  You ignore all my responses to you, and then jump into someone else's post.  

"responses to you"  No one can tell how you are responding to.   USE THE QUOTE SYSTEM.

But if that was at me, no, I said there's an issue.  So did Jim.  We've both asked you to be realistic.  Your solutions that take a lot of resources and only target a drop in the bucket are not realistic.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Jade W 10/24/13 3:43 PM
Thanks for your continued reports on fraudulent listings. I pass on all these reports to our spam-fighting team, who then work on identifying patterns and taking down listings as appropriate. 
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/24/13 4:01 PM
OK, So I can understand that Google is outnumbered when it comes to spam. I understand it and feel bad for them. really. Based on their report all they made last quarter (Not Annually, but quarterly revenue) is barely $14.7 Billion. In 3 months. My numbers are too shy even to stand in the shadow of this revenue. 

So excuse me if I refuse to finance this company that eventually hurting my business. Google has great responsibility if their action, or lack of actions causing people to close their businesses. And if they cannot handle it, they should quit the game and not offer service that cause more damage.

If you would buy a Philips TV and the TV is good, you go on a forum and the people tells you that you should keep buying these TV's cause the company is doing its best and based on your input they will make better TVs.. will you finance this company? I don't go to my customers, collecting money with a promise to deliver good results "One day...". You can either do the job, or don't. And when you're a global player, a leader in the game and chose to enter the local search with a promise to deliver results - you have to keep your word. At this point, Google is hurting local business owners AND Google users that are being scammed day by day.

True - Locksmith spam is not Google problem. However, in the future these spammers will not open dispatch centers and sell leads, they will offer "SEO" Services competing with the best SEO companies, destroying the market and offering first place in the maps, on the organic results etc. 

Now it's my business, tomorrow it's you guys. The locksmith spam is a pilot. By making $100k weekly they found a way to bypass the authorities and their appetite will only grow bigger. So yes, Locksmith spam SHOULD be a great interest to Google, since it's being done by the best of the best. It's been handled here and in some other countries abroad. 

And the most important thing is that maybe one day, Google will figure out the right way to block them but 2 things will happen by then:
1. No more small businesses will be there to advertise. 
2. Google users will not forget or forgive being scammed by using Google. 

As far as using ALOA, I cancelled my membership because I did not benefit much from it. I should not be paying $200 /year to become a "legit locksmith". 

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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/24/13 4:49 PM
Guys, Google Maps is very important. Locksmith spam is very important. I believe that the organic search will become number two soon, while the Google Maps results, or any other map results in other search engines will become number one.
Just talking for myself, Google is a great search engine, and of course the most powerful one in the world today. If Google will not clean the locksmith spam from the maps, it will cause a few thousands of family owned locksmith businesses to shut down, when some crooks will become millionaires.
There isn’t any way that Google will use an outside private company to verify the business listings unless they end up buying the company. I don’t see them buying Aloa anytime soon.
All of us here on this forum need to start to understand that locksmith spam is important and can be fixed. Nobody needs to try to protect Google or accuse them of anything. We all need to find a solution to remove the spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/24/13 7:23 PM

jim.jagger's idea of banning the spammer's accounts is a great idea, IMV, if it can be implemented. That changes all those figures about 10's of thousands of spams to deal with drastically. In my area, identifying even just one of the 3-4 spammers here would eliminate most of the area's spam. And it's just one of them that makes 75% percent of the spam here.

What about the hundreds of spams in the Denver metro area? Whittle it down if possible to who the spammers are. Might be 9 or 10 guys, and one of them might be much more active than the others. That changes how much Google is "outnumbered" bigtime.


Loads of great ideas to consider in the thread. Jim's just stuck out as one that really intrigued me.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 8:53 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:46:42 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
Flash, no offense, but this isn't a game.  Google's decisions have a multimillion dollar impact on the locksmith industry, and I ask you to consider that in your efforts to convince me that I'm totally wrong, or something.  

I never said it was.  I've devoted hundreds of my own personal hours to deleting locksmith spam specifically, so I don't consider it a game.  But I'm also a realist.  Google is not doing this to you, the spammers are.  Why aren't you demanding action from your government?  Google owes you nothing.  If I get hit by someone out purposely trying to cause a car crash I don't get mad at the city for hosting the roads.  Google perhaps could do more; but you're acting as if they need to spend whatever money is necessary to stop an issue that someone else is causing.

We ask you for realistic solutions, and to not propose unrealistic ones where the a major portion of the total resources goes to just your industry, and just in major US cities; and you keep going back to these unrealistic expectations.  Please consider who is treating this as a game.

I never said that.  Never said that.  Never said that.  I never said that every listing needs to be manually verified.  Most of it can be taken care of through automation.  Please don't say I said something that I didn't say.  It makes it almost impossibly to respond to your posts in a polite way.  

You need to read over what you've written then.  Perhaps the parts where you quote how many man hours it would take.  It's things you did say.

Yes, they get denied now, no, in the past the rule wasn't always consistent, and neither was the moderation.  

In the past it was more consistent, it was always a denied.  Now we have relaxed it a bit in that if we can find it in our acceptable resources; but if you're excessive with your references then we have no choice.  When the rule first came out the review guidelines 

No, I said that the parameters of designing the algorithms are easy, the engineering, nope, probably not, I'm not an engineer.  I don't make myself out to be an engineer, or an expert in lawyer spam either.  I say build a bridge.  Do I do it myself?  Nope.  I contract an engineer.  Makes sense to me. 

"I could also build filters to automatically process spam in a wide range of categories that would take at most, a few hours of preparation"  - No, you said you could make the filters, which is what the engineers do.  And what you said certainly did imply that it was a simple task that wouldn't take long.  To use your bridge analogy, the fact that I can draw one on a napkin does not mean that I should say "I can build a bridge... that would take, at most, a few hours of preparation".

I don't need to accept anything you say.  I'm not a faith-based person.  If it accords with my knowledge and experience, then I'll listen to your input.  But demanding that I somehow listen to a self-proclaimed expert in anything is kind of strange, don't you think?  

You don't to accept anything I say, nor Jim.  However, you sure get upset if others treat you that way.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 8:56 PM
The problem with that is that the typical spammer creates one or tow listings with an account, and then creates a new account.  We get the accounts banned all the time, it's an already existing process. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/24/13 9:07 PM

On Thursday, 24 October 2013 15:59:00 UTC-7, locksmithmonitor wrote:
No, sorry, I won't use the quote system.  Even if you put in ALL CAPS.  I'm not unfamiliar with it, but I'm pretty comfortable with my approach to discussing subjects, even if you disagree with both the subject and format for them.  

I understand your frustration, but you're out-of-line.  You want something else to follow your rules and believe your "insights" on your say-so, and you seem to have a very inflexible approach that doesn't correspond to either my experience or reality in general.  I can at least understand why someone doesn't accept my arguments (and can see plenty of holes in it), but I can also see, from your interactions with other people on the Places forums, why they don't accept your suggestions.  It behooves you to act in a polite, helpful manner, and if you can't do that, you're free to move on.  No one is obligating you to respond to my posts, so I don't know why you feel so compelled to share your special knowledge with me if you don't believe I'm either listening to you or that I'm being unrealistic.  

I understand your frustration, but I also ask you to understand mine.  

That's my last post to you.  You're free to continue on, but I have other things to do, and I've wasted far too much time, as is.  

Thanks for all your input.  I will certainly take it under consideration.  

I also apologize if I was either rude or insensitive to anyone on this forum.  I'm upset about the state of affairs, and many locksmiths feel the same way.  

Your welcome to feel that way, but all I've done is point out realities.  What you complain about in my approach is actually your own failings.  You're upset because I won't agree with you and you're inflexible... thus I'm the inflexible one.  And you state my approach doesn't deal with reality in general, but we've pointed out how your approach is completely unrealistic.

I truly understand that your livelihood is at stake.  It's because of people like you that I've spent a lot of time clearing spam and providing Google information.  But Google didn't create the spam.  I think because they are more visible than the spammers you are focussing on them.  These people are criminals and Google has no power over them.  They can block the latest exploit, but a new one will come along.  Only law enforcement can actually do something about them, so I would direct my anger at the spammers and the legal system that ignores them.

I've done the spam fighting for a number of years.  I was as frustrated as you are at points.  But then you see that they do plug holes, and the spammers just find ore create new ones.  If you want to fight spam, you just have to keep plugging along.  Providing examples of new exploits to Google does get algorithms made that stops them.  No, it's not instantaneous, but I have years of work experience in the tech industry and I can tell you that things take months.  Even once you think you have the answer, you need to test it for quite a while before you unleash it on the production servers.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/24/13 9:33 PM
I wonder if Google is doing anything simple like blocking IP ranges that make more than ~100 Google Places submissions in a week?  I imagine the kingpins have an apartment full of indentured servants from Israel doing spam submissions twelve hours a day.  They probably have a lot of VPN's or some other way to spoof their IP addresses.  I wish somebody from Google would talk to somebody from the phone company, the two main sources used by the spammers to get their contact information to consumers.  The number of phone numbers purchased by the spammers must register interest with the phone company.  Unfortunately, it is probably a similar conflict of interest as may be with Google: they know where the money is coming from, and they don't want to cut it off.  I have exactly one phone number, and if I still had adwords I would pay about $5 per click for "seattle locksmith".  The scammers will pay over $20 for the same search, and will pay for thousands of phone numbers.  Guess who is going to get better service?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 5:46 AM
I post this Google maps news on April 2012. Nothing change since than. We need to get the law enforcement involved,, as we working with Google too.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado gzub 10/25/13 6:59 AM
Not surprisingly the Google Engineer referenced in that piece moved on to a new company, no one ever seems to stay around Maps/Places for too long.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 7:54 AM
I hope nothing I said implied that Google would knowingly accept copyrighted material as a source for a MapMaker edit.  MapMaker edits must be sourced from personal knowledge or materials for which the copyright has been publicly released.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:03 AM
BTW, how do you use the quote system?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:17 AM
To parallel your Phillips TV argument.  Google builds the best TV on the market today.  Yes it has problems, but you are better off using Google's search engine than any other.

I am very opposed to spam and advocate fighting it with every resource available.  I also understand how difficult it is and I don't think throwing focusing on locksmith spam and beating it with brute force manual efforts is an effective way of combating spam overall.

Locksmith spam isn't a pilot or wedge for other spam, it's a business model.  The same techniques are applied to other industries, e.g. garage door opener repair.  And if Google cracked down on locksmith spam, the spammers would just move to another industry.  The problem is spam and spammers.  Locksmith spam is just a small part of that problem, solving that small part will not solve the problem.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:21 AM
I'm not upset.  I have owned small businesses in the past (the ex still owns them).  So I understand how important this is to you.  I just want you to understand why it isn't as important to Google, they are focusing on their business needs too.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 8:31 AM
Google is great company. But if the future of thousand of small business is not important to Google, im asking the locksmiths here, why we are posting anything here? Can someone please explain it to me?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/25/13 8:35 AM

We have all figured out how unimportant it is to Google.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:39 AM
My only point is that while fixing locksmith spam helps you guys, it is such a small part of the spam problem that it won't help Google at all.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:42 AM
Google has very smart people that have dedicated years of their lives to combating spam. I'm quite confident that they've done all of the simple things.  They won't talk about what they've done though as they don't want to provide any information for the spammers to look for exploits.  If you'd like to write up a list of techniques you think would work and post them, I'll pass them on.  And I'm pretty sure someone on the spam team will look at them; they seem quite open to listening to ideas, they just won't discuss them.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/25/13 8:45 AM
Yeah, I think we get it. Google's about itself. Some people would think that's natural. I think it's a disease.

The notion of "got to fix it ALL at once" is weird to me. Wars aren't fought that way. Companies don't grow that way. Almost no complex problems are fixed that way.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 8:48 AM
We have the power of thousands business... We can do something without the help of Google. Why we are asking help here?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:51 AM
Why would Google worry any more about your profitability than you worry about the restaurant down the road whose locks you re-keyed?

One can argue that Google has great power and should take the responsibility associated with that.  I make that argument myself from time to time.

The spam in this thread has been passed on to the spam team.  They have removed the spam in question (I think) and are probably using the examples to build more spam filters too.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of them are following this thread.  The little folks at Google really do care.  But they also understand the obstacles and costs of fixing problems in a one-off fashion.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 8:59 AM
And again, my point is that fixing locksmith spam will not make Google search noticeably better, nor will it contribute towards the broader spam fighting techniques that will make Google search better.

To use your war analogy.  You do have to fight the war one battle at at time, but you need to pick your battles carefully so that you expend your resources in the most productive manner.  At this time Google doesn't appear to think that single industry spam fighting just doesn't contribute to overall victory.

I have proposed that they the Google spam team partner with industry advocates to crowd-source spam fighting to active spam fighters in the most spammed industries.  An idea for which I have no idea of the costs of implementing, how effective it is likely to be, or what other problems the solution might create.  And not one I'm likely to get any useful feedback on (I've never met a group of people so good at talking about a subject without revealing any of their plans).  But, I've advocated on this on many occasions in private communications with Google; so I'm pretty sure the idea has been heard by people that could implement if, if they thought it was a good idea.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/25/13 9:02 AM

Unfortunately, Google does not have the best TV, but has a wide users base that they can do some tests on. Even worst, this kinky game costs us thousands of dollars every month in lost of income and few thousands in advertising just to be able to break even. 
I never doubted the intelligence of Google employees. This is exactly why I'm writing here, trying to grab their attention and make them understand the power that they are holding over small business industry. I think that they also understand the power on local (Recently bought Waze app for $1 Billion (Just about). 

With social and local merged together, Google has the potential of growing bigger by the users. At this point, Google is stepping on the users heads. It's a big different for me. 

There are some great effective ways to fight spam, by the way, that will generate Google billions and lock out the spam fast. It's a matter of decision making. 
Now, last thing - When you said "locksmith spam is a small part of the spam problem that won't help Google at all" - I think that you do not know the players well enough. 

While making tons of money they hire, they create a whole new underground surface that can be financed almost endlessly as long as it lasts. So locksmith scams (Air Duct, Carpet Cleaning, Garage Door Repair, Handy Man or any self monitored industry) is actually a symptom for much bigger problem. 

If Google will find a way to work with us, we can maybe teach them a trick or two on how to identify spam, fight spam and create a better search engine. It a matter of trust, and Google does not like to share or work with other partners - But has no problems digging through our stuff ;)

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/25/13 9:08 AM
I'll tell you why. Because I cycle the money back into my taxes, into my son's daycare and - into that restaurant where I'm going to eat dinner. 
When you have over $800 Billion leaving the country as unreported tax, when the money does not goes back and cycle your community, then Google should worry about my business because once closed, the restaurant will be closed as well and neither me or the restaurant will be back to advertise. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 9:16 AM
I agree that locksmith spam is a symptom of a much bigger problem.  But, I don't think fixing locksmith spam will do anything to fix the larger problem.

If you have some ideas about how fight spam that will generate Google billions of dollars, then sell them the idea.  Get a job there.  Write up a business proposal and sell them on providing some angel investor capital.  Google would definitely be interested in such an idea.

I do think Google should work with industry advocates.  For all I know, they already are.  Or perhaps there are obstacles preventing them from doing so.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 9:19 AM
I really cannot hear that anymore.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 9:21 AM
This is a discussion on locksmith scam
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/25/13 9:21 AM
Now you've hit on one of my pain points.  It makes me furious when multi-national companies play countries off against each other to gain tax advantages that result in them paying little to no tax in the countries where they are generating their revenue.  And Google is one of the biggest offenders.  I was personally affronted when Eric Schmidt testified that Google doesn't write the tax laws and would be foolish not to take advantage of them.  Of course Google writes the tax laws.  They use lobbyists and the promise or threat of relocating facilities; but they definitely have a huge role in writing the tax laws they take advantage of.  In this case GOOGLE IS EVIL.

Another conversation I would love to participate in.  Start a new thread for that one though.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/25/13 9:45 AM
I did not say that Google is evil and help tax fraud. I was misunderstood there. 
All I meant is that the spammers, by hiring "out of country employees" are not paying taxes. Some of them are even collecting sales tax but not reporting :)
It's not Google and as much as I'd like to blame it on someone, this is NOT Google fault. My answer was in reply to your question about the connection between my business and the restaurant down the street. I meant that my money circle back into the community. My taxes build parks, better schools system and yes, Helps other small local businesses to survive. 

Spammers? They take your money and ship it tax free across the world. This is why Google has a problem collecting from them. They are non existing ghosts with no legal entity behind them. A website only connected to a dispatch center. this is why on the first few posts here I asked over and over why won't Google enable an upload field to help verify business info (Sales tax or any state approved documents). 

I don't know much about tax laws so I cannot open a new discussion where I have nothing to contribute :) Sorry about that.. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/25/13 10:13 AM

I came here to the Help forums because Report A Problem wasn't effective anymore the way it was half-a-year or more ago. What I've seen in MapMaker is dismaying, not at all encouraging. The only effective means of spam-reporting I've found recently is reporting it publicly, when it should all be kept totally private. I want to do the investigation myself, because my experience of being mistaken for spam 5 times in the past couple years plus watching the response to reported spams tells me Google employees might be relatively intelligent persons but they suck at detecting the relevant patterns among the spammers, and so really do need our help. I can often discern which spammer does which spam, but a Google employee might not see it's a spam if he's just looking at individual listings. Conversely he might think it is spam when it isn't if he's just glancing at superficialities.

Maybe more of the spams here in Mr. Local's thread will finally, at long last, be removed. Which listings are spam are often so wildly obvious. (And those are the ones that shouldn't need any help but apparently do anyway). I hovered my cursor over the "red dots" on Denver's Map… and yeah, just spam, spam, spam and spam. The very first five I glanced at were all named "Lakewood Locksmith". 

It may take days to get around to investigating a spam report (or, tragically, weeks… "tragically" because the delay is the very incentive to spam) but it does not take more than a few minutes to look at and then remove the spam listing. I have been close-enough to "inside" Google to see it. Google Places can make an edit while you wait on the phone in 30 seconds that shows up instantaneously on the Net. Google Reviewers can blast away listings in Map Maker one after another in minutes (though hopefully they'll slow down to read the listing's history, and not just observe addresses like the one I studied a bit was doing, completely automaton-like).

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 9:59 AM
Guys, we here to talk about locksmith spam. If someone can help us with idea's about how to remove locksmith spam go ahead. No outside companies. We need to find a way to remove locksmith spam from Google maps only with Google tools and Google system.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/25/13 10:59 AM
SpammerKiller, You're my Hero. (No Jokes here).
f you'll scroll ALL THE WAY TO PAGE 18, You can find me too :)

It's not about SEO or being professional anymore, it's about finding the loopholes in Google map system and that's it. 
That's what it seems like. Too bad for Google to be taken down by some kids :)

I really thought that someone over there will care enough to fight spam, leave the trash talk to us. 
Good new are that in few days they will shut down my internet cause I'm not paying the bills, I'm sure that for Google and Jim my problems are none, What is a small business compared to a One 4 Colors Google monster? I wish I can buy me a Google glass and watch the world through their perfect eyes. 

SpammerKiller is right. Google doesn't care. 
AEGs is right, this fight has to move to a different battle. 
Jim, You were almost right - I do have the idea but why should i trust a good idea in the hands of someone who clearly cannot see the potential in it or "outnumbered" by some punks? I think that I will look somewhere else for angel investors.. I'm looking for someone serious, not a joker.

Can we says that this discussion is done? I don't think that we came to a solution after 11 pages of discussion or that we were able to get Google to help. At least when we started we had only 500 results.. now we are scraping the 700... we better stop now and leave it like that.. ;)

Google? Official response? Or maybe they are outnumbered by us.. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 11:53 AM
To the locksmiths all over the US,

Fact - Google is good for our business!

Lets face it, we are on page 11 in this forum. The people who understand better about the Google system explain to us that it is to hard on Google to fight the locksmith spam. Google needs help!

We already know that the locksmith spam is hurting all of us in United State, unless you are a Superman locksmith...

Fact - All of us want to be on the locksmith search in our area on Google, spam free.
We keep using Google forum, Aloa, etc., trying to fix the problem…

Fact - Google has been trying for years, with no success.
Fact - Aloa - Is a great organization for locksmith training, locksmith verification, and it’s a company made to make money.

However, we have a big problem that has been going on for years that cannot be ignored any longer. It’s not about training, it’s not about organizations, it’s about us. The small businesses trying to feed our wives, husbands, and children.

Let us just represent ourselves and no organizations. Just a few small business in each city. Thousands in the country.

Lets call everyone. Lets move to the law enforcement with thousands of signatures. Lets call to the US Attorney General.

Lets help Google and stop complaining to Google, because we need Google on our side.

Lets stop competing against each other. We have bigger problems to deal with that have been going on for years now.

The problems will not go away just by complaining to Google.

Lets make calls to all the locksmith companies in the country.

Do you realize the power we have?! Once we introduce ourselves to the US Attorney General, we can show them the number of small businesses that are getting hurt by the locksmith spam. We can all get together, take a few days off and go meet him at his office.

(unknown) 10/25/13 4:12 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/25/13 4:35 PM
locksmithmonitor, thank you for this info. Please keep posting here
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/25/13 7:52 PM
People have mentioned a number of times that spam listings posted in here will get deleted, which is good because my mapmaker profile got disabled, probably reported as a spammer by the spammers themselves.  So following is a list of spam that I can no longer revert back to parking lots and cafes and then delete myself.  Much of it has been reported well over a month ago.  If anybody from the google spam team wants to help me out while I wait to hear back from mapmaker abuse team, delete all of these!


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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/26/13 12:42 PM

What are the chances Google might require websites in order to get a business listing? That'd improve the quality of search results for users, and also provide Google a way of identifying whomever's listed a spam.

I know there are some legitimate businesses out there so luddistic that they have signed up for a Places listing but don't have a website for their listing. Google users ought to have the tools to do their researching into any business of interest rather than just see a name and number. Just a name and number… that's a junky search result. I think along with a legit address, a website ought to be a minimum expectation of anyone trying to do business on the Net.

It'd also make it more expensive to spam. They might get cut-rate for buying bulk, maybe. But then they have all the web design to do. They'll repeat duplicate websites across many listings, but that will 1) hurt their ranking (I think) and 2) make it easier to make the connections of who's spamming.

Just tossing out another idea…

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado gzub 10/26/13 1:10 PM
Many of the spammers setup websites for their fake businesses and it does not cost them that much as they can have a few IP addresses with multiple DNS entries to create unique hostnames.   Many hosting providers work in this fashion, so as long as they had a few different IPs it likely would not be that detectable.  There are also many companies that offer free web site space as well which is often would be used by these smaller Mom & Pop businesses.  Remember they are buying VOIP numbers for each of these fake locations so they are not afraid of the cost outlay...

The best deterrent would be to require a captcha and approval for a users first edit as well as throttling creation of accounts from the same IP address or range over a certain period of time.  I think the best way to hurt them is to slow down the ability to add fake locations as they are likely working on commission (ie the call center will pay the spam contractor $xxx for yyy fake listings) and not being able to add as many fake businesses in a certain period of time would hurt them and give them less incentive.   

Also the amount of time that a feature has existed on maps should also play a role in how hard it is to edit, this would prevent the number hijacks that also go on where the phone number is changed in a listing so that a spammer can get a referral bonus.


(unknown) 10/26/13 2:58 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/26/13 6:03 PM
From 100% locksmiths in Denver, Google need to remove about 80% of them.. We should just submit the list here..
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/26/13 6:09 PM
(unknown) 10/26/13 6:14 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 10/26/13 9:41 PM
These are all SPAM locksmith listings. SAB's, all same owner. Duplicate phone numbers and websites on most of them. They will not allow me to report a problem from the G+ pages. Please remove:

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/27/13 2:43 AM
Laughing over here at some of the reviews for "Magic Key Locksmith":
"I highly highly highly recommend him to EVERYONE. not just for emergencies, but for all times of the day, week and years."
You would think these idiots would pay the kid down the street to write something that sounds like fluent English instead of this silliness.  
SAB's in my area that are spam, have been reported, yet are not removed:

Also youtube videos boost your SEO apparently, leading to these abortions:
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/27/13 11:22 AM

Why does a Google Reviewer Hari go through removing the reported spam and then a Google Automated Internal Syncer 3 go through re-instating them? Like in this one example:

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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 10/27/13 11:34 AM
You have any luck getting SAB's removed using this thread to report them in the past?

Yeah, "Magic Key" is a real jokester. One of many highly uncreative spammers.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 10/27/13 11:38 AM

On Sunday, 27 October 2013 11:22:46 UTC-7, SpammerKiller wrote:

Why does a Google Reviewer Hari go through removing the reported spam and then a Google Automated Internal Syncer 3 go through re-instating them? Like in this one example:

There are different types of deletions.  "Closed" is different than "Removed", the bot was saying "We actually have a report that it was closed, so the Removed is incorrect, I'll change it to Closed".  In the end it's off the map anyway, so it's not a big deal.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 10/27/13 11:49 AM
Look what hari did here:

He accepted my edits, that the business was Spam...then he didn't remove it, so now I can't even mark it as removed anymore or make further edits. (I don't know how to link to it in Map Maker)

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/27/13 11:49 AM
In the last few days I have noticed a great number of locksmith spam entries actually getting reinstated by Google for some reason, even after Naveen and other Google workers deleted them.  See histories of:
It is all the more frustrating because Google still has not given me mapmaker editing privileges back.  I'm just about ready to give up on fighting spammers myself, and rely on personally educating the public to defend them from spammers instead.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/27/13 11:53 AM
If you are in mapmaker and find the listing you want to link, click on "details" or more info for that listing.  Then click the "gear" icon, and select "link to this page" from the dropdown menu.  Select the url shortening option if you are nice.  
Another spam listing reinstated by Google:
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 10/27/13 12:02 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/27/13 12:12 PM
Ganster!  You forgot the part about shortening the url before copying it.  You click the little box below the url.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/28/13 5:45 PM
859 new locksmith results on Google map, in about a week about 300 locksmith locations has been add
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado SpammerKiller 10/28/13 7:11 PM

Maybe present the problem to your local locksmith association, and enlist the aid of other locksmiths of the area?

1. Ask 'em to submit reports to Google about the spammers of their particular region of the metropolis. That way instead of one or two Denver-area locksmiths reporting 100's of spams in this thread, maybe at least 20 of the area's locksmiths will each report on the spams within their own neighborhoods, where each one will be the most expert "local expert" that there is. 

Print out what you're seeing on Google to impress them with how surrounded they are by cheats. Clue them in to the fact that their old Yellowpages rep isn't going to help them swim in this mess as they transition more completely from phone books to the internet, as they eventually must do. Help them as necessary with how to navigate Google. Maybe the best way for private reports now is the Feedback link, and not "Report A Problem", since many spams are protected from being reported by that means at this time. And give them a link to where they can create their own posts here. (I'd recommend 10-20 links to spam listings at a time, not daunting lists of 100's). All public spam-reporting should be done in an anonymous google account devoted to that one purpose, to maintain complete anonymity in all postings on the Net.

IME, many locksmiths will whine about scammers but do nothing. They just want to do their work then go home and have a beer; peace of mind is had by putting it out of mind. Their income will continue taking big hits if they don't join the activism and make things happen themselves.

2. As per LocksmithVigilante's advice, advocate Mark Baldino of Mark and I had a very long phone conversation. Before that, I had the reaction probably most locksmiths would have to seeing ALOA asking for donations (something to the effect "ugh, there's yet another expense that'll result in nothing" and "where does it go? into ALOA's coffers?"). But talking to him cleared my hesitation up entirely. He's on the track I've long thought is the best strategy: pressure the search engines to be more diligent about what information they publish, just as publishers ought always to be. Directories expect the public to be their own judges, which doesn't very well account for human nature (impulse-driven and compliant-as-hell). Mark's spent more money than any other locksmith on fighting this problem, and he's still very committed to pursuing it and could use help. If we wanted a locksmith who'd take up the torch and actually meet with people, in and out of court, and make things happen, this is the man. $100 contribution from as many locksmiths and other people as possible. For those locksmiths not just yet going out of business, it ain't much to ask for to help fight losing 25% or more of one's income to these spammers and scammers. Even if the Adwords were impossible to clean up, lessening the amount of spam on Maps will still pay off. I will be giving a presentation on this at my regional locksmith association, and will ask the guys to give just 3 hours per month to spam-reporting, and to donate to Baldino's efforts.

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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 10/29/13 6:51 PM
So far in my own observations there hasn't been much evidence of Google helping to rid the maps of fake locksmiths, and NO action to remove scammers from Adwords.  Now I see that we here in Seattle have actually lost ground against the spammers because Google's "Automated Internal Syncer 3" is actually reinstating fake businesses after Google's own spam team has removed the listings.  I have seen about thirty of these in the Seattle area in the last week. is a good example.  Google employees, if you are reading this, it is already a PITA to spend an hour each day removing spam from your products.  It is far more painful to see my hard work undone by your automated sync bots.  Please reprogram them so that once locksmiths are deleted from Google Maps, they stay that way (like my listing stayed deleted.) 
After Google removed my listing from Google Maps, I was told after numerous phone calls and dozens of emails and months of time that it would be impossible to get it and my reviews back.  My eyes are red and glowing seeing these spam listings reinstated, with likely no phone calls or other effort to get their listings back from the people who made them.  Google, why are you making it easy for spammers and hard for real people?
(unknown) 10/29/13 9:50 PM <This message has been deleted.>
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/30/13 5:27 AM
1020 listings
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/30/13 9:28 AM
 Three weeks ago we said here that the list will get to a thousand and over.... And it did. There is 1020 locksmiths listing just in Denver, 90% are fake. Google map again has become useless to local locksmith business in Denver. We have no chance to received calls from Google maps search..
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/30/13 2:37 PM

Fake locksmith listings:

Addresses: Virtual offices, UPS stores, place not exist or it’s not a locksmith


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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 10/30/13 5:21 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/30/13 6:38 PM
1055 And counting
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/30/13 7:10 PM
SpammerKiller - Unfortunately, our local locksmiths' association is not functioning in the spam area. We tried to unite them several times unsuccessfully. 
We tried contacting the department of revenue and even they didn't care much. it's easy to monitor real locksmiths and fine them then actually do some foot work and collect taxes from ghosts... 
After so many years I can tell you that the only solution is in Google hands. 

By doing nothing, Google will witness the fast migration to another product. 
That was happened to the 411 directory. To the Yellow Pages, Super Pages etc. 

Google, with it will to change the world, to connect information to people across the universe did not predict the abuse of it own product. I believe that Google goal "Do no evil" is a true statement. Google did not mean to build products that will drive legit people out of business. t original mean was to connect people to information. To handle information wisely and to index it in a way that was never done before. 

Just like Smith and Wesson did not mean at any point to help people commit crimes. But bad usage of the product by the wrong people can dishonest an honorable goal. Unlike Gun companies, Google does not have the back of the local authorities to enforce violations. 
That being said, Google will have to face the fact that it has to be done "In House" - Self regulated product to ensure excellent user experience (Expensive maintenance in the short term, Endless revenue in the long term) or just invest in the Google AdWords and the other Money Makers (Large revenue in the short term, Lost of revenue in the long term, once the user migration will begin). 

A good example is Facebook, a company that is now in control of the social network. Even after years of trying, Google products cannot compete with FB. Not the Buzz, Talk or G+, simply because there is no migration back to Google, once those users has left (the building..).

Google is good for local business, ONLY if Google will embrace these small businesses and understand the power that they bring. By ignoring them - sure - 10% of the businesses will be closed. However, the other 90% will go somewhere else. With them - the customers. You can see the migration already with Angie's list and Yelp, Service magic that was re-born as HomeAdvisor. There is a HUGE vacuum in this niche and  by not doing anything, Google will lose this crown, for good. 

It's a business decision - do they WANT it bad enough to fight for it or will they keep creating glasses, you tube videos and webmaster tools while assuming that the local market can be disposed? Microsoft, long time ago, assumed that they don't need to create a better browser, Chrome got in and nobody is going back to IE. Same old MS assumed that office will never be accessible online (WHY?!) and 10 years later launched the SkyDrive cloud and the Microsoft Office 360. 

Arrogance has always led to the losing the customers by not investing in the right product. And when more than half of the businesses in the US are home based businesses, Google will lose this market along with the graet revenue that comes with it in AdWords, emails and will become the next Dinosaur (Who remember AOL? Yahoo?). 

Google can keep monitor this forum from far away and laugh, Google can decide to work up a solution or Google can contact us - each and every one of us who's fighting spam and learn what and how it can improve the local products. By counting spam we are doing nothing but throwing out our frustration. We have no way to effect Google decisions unless Google will let us get involved. 

So, Google - It's your call. You want to keep the local market or drop it?

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/30/13 7:17 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 10/30/13 7:23 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 10/31/13 8:12 AM
As best as I can read those reports.  Facebook reported $2.2B in revenue and $425M in profits for Q3.  Google reported $14.9B in revenue and $3B in profits for Q3.  Google's reported numbers put the users of Google+ at about 350M, while Facebook reports about 750M users, and number three twitter reports about 250M users (note, the services are used vastly differently, so the direct comparison of the absolute numbers may not be all that useful).  So Google is doing just fine in taking care of business.

Google is monitoring this thread.  At least partly because the TCs keep calling it and the issue it discusses to their attention.  I've never been in a Hangout or other meeting with Googlers where we didn't bring the subject of spam up, and Locksmiths are often our example of just how bad spam can get.  We really do understand what you are telling us about the extent of the problem with Locksmith spam; and we don't like to see it either as it offends our sense of fair play.

Can you understand why Google is unlikely to dedicate a team of people just to review local listings for locksmiths and delete the ones that look like spam?  They do have manual reviewers, we call them quality reviewers.  Some of you guys may even have had listings deleted by them. 

But, they can't staff quality reviewers at the level that would be required to locate and remove a noticeable percentage of spam listings.  My best estimates are that it would cost somewhere around $300M a year to staff an organization that could hope to review the spam listings fast enough to stay ahead of the spammers.  Keep in mind that this is just local, which is maybe 10% of Google's search volume.  There is simply no practical way for Google to handle this problem with simple solutions, short of banning whole categories of local listings.

Not to say that there aren't solutions.  I think what you guys are doing is great and I am advocating that the spam team would reach out to you directly so that you have a direct reporting channel.  Reviewing and removing what other folks report may be a more affordable proposition.  Making some rather broad assumptions, I think they might be able to monitor the most spammed categories for as little as $50M a year if they use industry advocates as an initial filtering mechanism.  Predicting human nature is not my forte; I have no idea what pitfalls and potential for abuse might be inherent to this "industry advocates" approach.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/1/13 7:29 AM
The numbers you cite are for one category of business in one country.  The numbers I cite are for all businesses in Google Local search.  If you assume that there are 50,000 locksmith listings in the US, then your experienced cost of $100,000 per year is consistent with my estimate of $300M per year to provide the same level of manual spam fighting to the 100,000,000 local search listings.

Google, as a policy, won't talk about ranking or spam fighting techniques.  They won't even talk about it with me in private.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/1/13 7:52 AM
There is 1100 locksmith listings in Denver.
I spoke in private with locksmiths in town. Everyone believes that talk is meaningless here

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/1/13 9:06 AM
I understand the sentiment, and occasionally share it.  Spam waxes and wanes and it can be frustrating during a waxing period.

Spam has a huge upside and very little downside to fly-by-nighters that don't care about their reputations.  Until that situation chances the benefit-risk balance is so weighted towards the benefit side, that I don't see any way to really control spam.  As you've pointed out, some industries have more spam listings than legitimate ones.

I've been advocating against spam for a couple of years or so now myself.   My proposed solutions vary over time.  Right now I am suggesting two possible solutions to the Googlers, whenever it seems appropriate to do so.

1. Penalize the spammers by doing more than removing their listings.  If we can't get enforced legal or civil penalties in place, then Google should create its own penalties by refusing service to accounts, computers, and domains that are suspected of repeated spam attempts.  Akin to the lifetime ban for abusers of AdSense.

2. Give up and remove all local search listings associated with the most scammed categories.  This would probably remove all Service Area Businesses from the search results.

A third option, which has been advocated in this thread is to manually review and validate every local search listing within a week of it being created or edited and revisiting each listing  once or twice a year.  I suppose this could be funded with a $10 annual fee for every local search listing.  I'll consider adding this approach to my advocacy.

I really am open to any suggestions for solutions.  I'm even open to the idea of manual reviews.  I just hope you understand that Google is not likely to give up a large chunk of operating profit in order to do this; I suppose it is just possible that we could convince them to do so to protect the continued value of the search product or even as a social good.  I've made the "with great power, comes great responsibility" argument to them before; I get a few head nods, but no action that I can see.

Please feel free to offer up other solutions or create an argument that I can use for convincing Google that one of the possible solutions I've already proposed should be used.  I do have a direct line to Google and I regularly use it to advocate for better spam filters (review filters are my other pet peeve).
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/1/13 10:57 AM
I'm not trying to say it in a negative way. As today, Google become useless for legit locksmiths, it is what it is and we want to say the true... We have a list of 1100 locksmith listings. More than 1000 fake. Most of us have only one listing. Denver is a small town. What is our chances to get clients from Google maps... Nothing good happen on Google maps and the locksmiths ....
Because most of the emergency calls coming from smart phones... because Google as today is the search engine on most of the smart phones.. The spammers will get rich when legit locksmiths will shut down.
Maybe to remove all the locksmiths from Google maps is the answer. At least that way we will know, people do not experience a hard time when they call for locksmith service from Google maps
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/1/13 12:13 PM
You could probably reasonably scale down my proposals.  Say spammed categories can be identified as 10% of the 100,000,000 listings.  That still puts your cost at $30M.

My numbers are for incremental costs, though they may be a bit pessimistic.  The example you cited was $100,000 for a year of spam fighting in the locksmith category.  What do you think it would cost to scale that up to 10,000,000 listings?  Do you think the problem is smaller than that?

And yes, I imagine spam listings are a problem in many parts of the world; local searches happen all over the world.

Google's approach is automated.  They do use the listings you find to identify patterns of spam behavior that they can write algorithms to detect.  Google's approach is very heavily, and explicitly, focused on algorithmic solutions.

They will fix the problems with RAP, they like community sourcing information too.

Bots are algorithms, you shouldn't advocate for the use of algorithms and mock them at same time.  Though I suppose your point is more that manual processes are needed to supplement the algorithms.  True, and they do have such manual processes with quality reviewers and the teams that work RAP.  Maybe they should have more.  I suppose most of your remember the great SAB debacle of  two years ago; that was basically a greatly expanded quality reviewer team.

I am sympathetic to the difficulties of small businesses and have tried to advocate for them.  I think industry representatives could contribute a lot to spam fighting efforts and have suggested it a bit often of late.  It doesn't appear to have borne much fruit; but such industry representatives would probably be more effective if they weren't known.

If nothing else, I think posting lists of URLs to spam listings here and asking that they be passed on will help identify and prevent spam patterns.  The listings posted will get removed within a few weeks and many of the patterns subject to filters and additional scrutiny within months.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/1/13 12:44 PM
Option 6 may be viable.  I don't ever talk to anyone about AdWords as the advertising and search sides of the house are segregated at Google and I haven't had a need of my own to work with AdWords.

Option 7 is largely what I think Google already does. They do have people dedicated to fighting spam.  Engineers trying to identify patterns of spam and write algorithms to prevent them.  Quality Reviewers, Map Makers, RAP response teams, and community volunteers.  As to speed of development; Google's search engine is a big, often uncontrollable beast; I think part of the problem with local search spam today is due to a change in how local search queries work that was introduced by the Hummingbird update, which was intended to make semantic searches more effective.  Even as good as Google is, it takes a long time for most ideas to work their way from concept to production code.

Option 5 covers a bit of territory.  The difficulty with using MM on SABs is that they need to display their address, and many do not want to for safety reasons.  I suppose Google could change their policy on this; but that is the reason hidden address listings were removed from MM.  This had the unintended consequence of breaking RAP, because at about the same time hidden address listings were removed from MM, the editing interface for RAPs was changed to use the MM interface.

You'd be better off talking to Flash about why the Locksmith category was locked in MM.  My memory is that it was supposed to reduce MM abuse in the category; but it also seems to me I have heard that the spammers have found ways to continue to use MM for locksmith spam.

I do think Google will fix RAP.  Maybe when they finish the new Dashboard roll-out.

I have heard about problems with new MM editors getting too easily approved.  Again, Flash or someone else in MM probably knows more about the problem and what is being done to address it than I do.

I don't know if easy to destroy is a good idea.  The spammers do use negative techniques (removing or de-ranking other listings) too.

I like your ideas about,
1. scanning company names for know spam words
2. extra scrutiny given to a listing that changes or adds a category that is spammy to a listing that previously had only non-spammy categories

They aren't new, you can probably find people advocating for both in threads here.  I'm rather hopful that Google might be implementing one or both of those ideas into the new Dashboard.

I'll accept your dismissal of Options 1 and 2.

Option 3, I think the quality reviewers already do a number of checks for validity before removing the business.  We've already discussed cost, and most of your proposals seem like they would add time to the process of removing potential spam listings, and hence cost.

I'm also in favor of Option 4.  I'd like to see more enforcement of deceptive trade practice laws for on-line business listings and reviews.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/1/13 1:00 PM
I don't think any of us have anything to teach Google about the effective design and implementation of algorithms.  They really are better at it than anybody else.  Maybe we could question the priority that some ideas are given for conversion to algorithms.  But you do have to broaden your argument beyond metropolitan, US locksmiths in order to make it effective.

I really don't know if the problem is 1,000,000 or 10,000,000 listings.  So maybe my cost arguments aren't justified.  I'm really just trying to make the point that Google's spam problem is much bigger than yours, and they aren't likely to focus much energy on a solution designed to address your problem alone.

Google didn't flip the hard to create, easy to destroy paradigm on its head, the internet and computers did that; Google is a result, not a cause.  They do take full advantage of that paradigm shift though.  They are immensely effective at collecting and organizing data and they are becoming better at letting other people create content that they can organize and present; selling the data that they collect and organize is their business model.  I don't think that is going to change.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/1/13 1:44 PM
Again, you start your argument from the perspective of locksmiths.  If you want Google to change its rules, you need a broader argument that is scalable.

While most states consider Private Mail Boxes addresses the equivalent of a physical address, Google doesn't want them any more than the want PO Boxes.

I do remember people complaining that their address was visible in MapMaker after they had hidden it in Places.  I don't remember the industries right off hand, but there seem to be many industries that might legitimately not want their address on a publicly searchable map.  I'm sure some examples will come to me eventually.  You do need to give Google a legit address for verification; but you can hide it from the broader public.

Removing all SABs from the Map does seem a reasonable approach to me.  The suggestion was not considered such a good idea by Google.  Others have made the argument against putting things on the map that are not tied to a specific location.

Why ask me how the spam got on the map?  I don't know.  I'm not very good at work-arounds that violate the intent of a system.  I'm much better at explaining and figuring out how to work within systems.

I don't have an opinion on the policy decision to remove hidden address listings from MM.  I understand why people that complained didn't want their addresses displayed in MapMaker.  I understand the problem Google was attempting to correct when they decided certain categories of business should not list their address on the map (though it doesn't seem to have worked out as the folks spamming the listing with displayed addresses seem to be pretty good at spamming them with hidden addresses).  I understand why you, and a lot of other spam fighting MM editors want the addresses back.  There is no perfect solution and I'm happy to accept the one Google has currently settled on, though I do lean towards displaying the addresses on Maps and MapMaker.

The effectiveness of Google's search algorithms seems self-evident to me.  I have a Google search window open most any time I'm on a computer.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/1/13 3:52 PM
Jim - Please don't advocate to remove local listings for difficult categories, because this will kill our businesses completely. 
When it comes to organic results and AdWords, we are losing the battle before it started. We don't have the funds to keep the adwords account alive at all month or pay $1000/mo to any SEO company to be on the first page, Simply because we collect fair fee for our job ($55-$75 to unlock car/house in compare to the $200 - $850 when it comes to spammers). We had HUGE hopes when Google got into the local market, assuming that a company this big will know how to handle this product. 

I mean, we're not talking on hacking attempts to Google servers from Russia or China.. we're talking about 2-3 kids who are spamming the maps and selling leads all across the US. So when you say that Google is outnumbered or cannot handle spam but fully aware of the problem.. I find it hard to believe. I think that a company this big has a liability when releasing new products, especially if this product is in charge of shutting down people businesses and basically destroying families. 

I don't know why won't Google try to file a complaint with the FBI about it, Why won't they issue budget to solve it in house if they refuse to get an outside help or why does the customers let them control over 90% of the search traffic if more than 90% eventually is the wrong results for a basic query.. 

It feels like we are talking and talking, and expect of being "concerned" Google does not helping to find a permanent solution. 

Now don't get me wrong here! I'm one of the biggest Google fans. I was waiting for my Gmail invitation for months and once connected, never looked back. 
I don't think that if Facebook, Yelp or any other company will take over the local search it will be better. These spammers will follow the biggest company and abuse it resources. We will face this exact same problem 2 years from now with a different product, unless the company who will run it understand the power that is has and beside being "concerned" will actively do something to fight back and protect it. 
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/1/13 9:45 PM
LocksmithMonitor - All is true, but "A Google user" is an old review (I have some on my page, 2 years old) I can guarantee it wasn't me, my friend, employee or any other associate. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/3/13 5:51 PM
966 locksmiths... please post here the list of the fake listings
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/3/13 5:53 PM
The "A Google user" is sometimes changed with a user name or not. Most be something with the system
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/4/13 8:16 AM
If you are paying $1,000 a month for local search optimization for a single location, you are being robbed.

I don't really advocate for removing SABs, it is something I have suggested out of my frustration with the proliferation of spam in SABs, despite all of Google's attempts to fight it.  The spammers are the problem; not Google's lack of effort in combating the spam.  My advocacy gets listened to at Google, and may help them generate ideas, but it doesn't carry much weight.

A single person with knowledge and skill can be a very powerful force on the internet.  It does not take a large organization to find ways to exploit Google, or any other on-line system.  The value is the exploit, not the resources required to run it.  If lots of people are trying to find ways around an on-line system; some of them will find a way and share it, and the exploit will be taken advantage of until the exploit is discovered by the good guys too and ways to combat it are designed and built.

I too don't know why law enforcement isn't interested in local search and review spam.  I know a few lawyers I can ask, but none are criminal.  Do you know anyone you can ask why law enforcement doesn't seem to be interested in this problem.  I'll start the conversation with my Google contacts too.

We are just talking.  I'll bet Jade, or Google Community Manager, tries to keep up with the conversation to see what ideas she can mine from it.  We probably aren't going to solve the spam problem in this conversation.  If we're lucky, we might contribute a little.

Yep, Google is a victim of its own success  Spam is worse on Google, because it is more valuable to the spammers than most anywhere else they can put their efforts.  Google really does actively fight spam.  I doubt I'll ever get any hard numbers for the effort from Google.  But I have met a lot of people that have worked on anti-spam teams.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 11/4/13 8:25 AM
If you are paying $1,000 a month for local search optimization for a single location, you are being robbed.

Jim, I wouldn't necessarily agree. I've seen some cases where it requires tons of hours of work each month to get the listing where it should be.  For example, personal injury attorneys all have big SEO firms they work with and all pay money to rank and it's one of the most insane, competitive industries out there.  If they purchase a package that's less than $500/month there is no way they would catch up to their competitors.  

The locksmith industry isn't quite as bad. If a locksmith's main concern is ranking well on on a computer search for locksmith + city than they'd probably be looking at a $200-400/month package.  However, the mobile situation for locksmiths just plain sucks.

I actually have 1 locksmith client in Wisconsin who pays about $199/month and ranks just fine.  It took us about 8 months to get him where he's at due to his listing being pending but once he got there it has been pretty steady.  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/4/13 8:30 AM
The prohibition of PMBs and PO Boxes is an example of an anti-spam technique that affects spam methods used by both Lawyer and Locksmith spammers.

Any potential spam solution will get resources dedicated towards in it proportion to its likely effect.  In my opinion, any solution targeting spam in one industry, affecting 5,000 listings, is not likely to get many resources.

I can't speak to the difficulty of programming your solution.  Very few things are designed, developed, tested, and released in one month in any IT shop I have every worked with.  Six months is often considered an aggressive timeline from concept to release.  Production development that has to be integrated into an existing code base and be maintainable after the developers are no longer available is 10 times, or more, as complex as one person sitting down and writing code to do one job.

Ok, so the prohibition of listings on Maps is restricted from SABs to SABs that are unwilling to have their address displayed in MM.  I am frustrated enough with spam to even consider supporting that.  Try the argument with Flash; he things a lot about spam and MM and will have more of a sense of its viability.  And he is just as vocal as the rest of the TCs about advocating for his pet ideas, and Flash hates spam.

Spammers by definition, don't honor the rules.  And Google's inconsistent enforcement of the rules frustrates me too.  Understanding their difficulty in broad enforcement does nothing to mitigate the sense of frustration I feel when cheaters win and innocents are punished.  Treating small business owners fairly, including consistent and fair enforcement of spam rules, is pretty much my area of advocacy.  All of the TCs have one or more areas that they feel strongly about; and Google asks for our opinions regularly.

Spam is bad and, in local search, getting worse.  Just my opinion, but no one seems to be arguing against it.

I do want solutions that can be applied broadly.  Creating a few thousand solutions, each of which only addresses a few thousand listings, does not seem, to me, to be an effective way to fight spam.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/4/13 8:33 AM
I have seen the name on a review that was made with a Profile that was subsequently deleted be changed from a name to "A Google User".  This is a bug as the review is supposed to be deleted with the profile.  If you see it happen, you can report it to support, or flag it as inappropriate, and they will manually delete it.

The old reviews attributed to "A Google User", basically anything prior to June 2012, can be from people that never had a profile.  Google currently plans on leaving those up.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/4/13 8:44 AM
At $1,000 a month, they should get a website and organic SEO too.  You need some website development, and organic SEO, for local too.  But once you get the website configured, I would think most of the on-going expense of Local is citation and social management.  $200-$400 a month is probably reasonable for an aggressive campaign of managing citations  and creating social content.  For $1,000 a month ... I don't know, maybe SEM management too?

The initial setup for any local listing could easily run $1,000 - $5,000; more if their online presence is meant to qualify and convert customers.  Then a monthly charge, if they are in a search space requiring regular monitoring.  A lot of local businesses won't need much monitoring or any active citation or social media management.  Those folks still need the initial spend to get started, but the monthly charge should be a nominal retainer that gets them notices when something, somewhere has changed and they might need more attention, and more cost to go with it.

Keep in mind, this is just my opinion, and I've never received a dollar for managing someone's local presence.  Joy actually makes a living at this.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/4/13 9:10 AM
I think such an approach is likely to be fruitful.  If you post the spam url lists here, we will pass them on to Google, and they will review and delete them.

Don't add names or commentary, it just adds work for you and makes the list less focused for the spam team that will review them.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/4/13 3:17 PM
The URLs copy/paste with the name attached?  I guess I can see that.  You are probably copying from the names in the left-hand search result of a maps search.

Then that is fine too.  Do whatever works best for you.  I think the Googlers will be happy to get the information, in whatever form it takes.  And you should take as little time out of your day as you can generating the lists.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/4/13 7:05 PM
I was trying to edit/delete using MM. My user is blocked - can anyone help unblocking it? I'm trying to remove the spam (or flag it for removal) as it shows up. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/4/13 7:22 PM
Wow... Google bot is so smart...

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/4/13 7:23 PM
At this point, I'm not asking if Google can fight spam. Let's start with the basics...
Can Google spell SPAM??
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/4/13 7:32 PM
Anyway... with Google being outnumbered by these jokers.. here is how it's done:
(And if you tell me that Google cannot remove "Parking lot" category or remove the option to change the category.. than you must be kidding me! It's not "Locksmith spam" - it's a simple loophole in the system that Google can easily block. No 2000 programmers.. maybe 20 hours by one great skilled programmer). 

Now.. I've been thinking a lot if post it or not, but I thought that with Google scanning books under the deceleration that it purpose is to connect people to information across the universe.. this information is my small but generous contribution. You'll thank me later. 

Now what if everyone will start using this information to spam the maps? THEN they will care? because clearly, as I've read here before, one category is not enough. One industry is rarely important to effect the whole. What if you'll start seeing plumbers? car dealers? insurance companies? private equity investors? doctors? at what point will the liability move from the spammer to Google?

Create a new Google account.  

Get a new VOIP forwarding number (you can use this for multiple listings).  

Go into Map Maker and create a new listing.  Anything will do.  The most common spam types are Gym, Cafe, and Parking Lot.  Just feel free to make it up!  

Wait for it to be published.  Sometimes this will publish instantly.  Sometimes later.  

Claim the Place page.  

Add the Locksmith category to the listing.  

Wait for phone call verification.  

Repeat up to three times(?) per telephone number or account.  

Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/4/13 7:53 PM

You can just see it, but nobody cares

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/4/13 8:08 PM
Google automated internal syncer 4 problems?

Someone needs to report this user as spam...
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/4/13 8:15 PM
There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 11/5/13 7:04 AM

Create a new Google account.  

Get a new VOIP forwarding number (you can use this for multiple listings).  

Go into Map Maker and create a new listing.  Anything will do.  The most common spam types are Gym, Cafe, and Parking Lot.  Just feel free to make it up!  

Wait for it to be published.  Sometimes this will publish instantly.  Sometimes later.  

Claim the Place page.  

Add the Locksmith category to the listing.  

Wait for phone call verification.  

Repeat up to three times(?) per telephone number or account.  

Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.  

I agree - I see this all the time. It "seems" easy enough to stop but I'm forwarding this to Google. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/5/13 7:51 AM
You don't need to have a budget, you don't need to have years..

You want to make fake locksmith business?

    Make parking lot map listings
    Approve it.
    Change it to locksmith!
    You done!

Make over 1000 locksmith listings in Denver!

There is a loophole in the system!!

All we need is a person in Google to block it!!

We need to stop being politicians. Or protect Google. That's all the discussion here does!!

No one is accusing anyone!!

Please continue this discussion just about this trick we found.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/5/13 8:39 AM
What's the point in reporting them? You can possibly remove three listings from 10, they do not stop to add more. What will wake up Google to this issue? Before we can fight on removing them. We have to block this tricks they using.
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/5/13 10:21 AM
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 11/5/13 12:29 PM
Some good points there, but just to clear up so Map Maker items.
  • If you try to delete them in MM, the Locksmith category is locked.  Using the Report this button doesn't work, because the reports are ignored.
All reports are looked at, there is no ignoring of them.  It is not a instant turn around thing, however; reporting in MM is meant to largely be for corrupt data.  There is no team sitting there waiting for your report so they can jump on it; it's not equivalent to a call centre.  Part of the problem, however, is that the people that do see them then send them on to the appropriate team.  If it is claimed, then it will often be sent on to the Places employees, and once they have it since it is claimed they put more stock in that than your report.
  •  Many of them can't be reported at all, because of yet another bug in MM for POIs that have no history--there's no 'report this' menu item at all.
There is not a bug.  When you search in MM, you are shown both what is in MM and what is in Local but has yet to be passed over to MM.  What you have found is one that has yet to be synced over to MM.  Make an edit.. any sort of edit, and that will trigger the system to sync it over right away as you can't edit something until it is in the MM database.

  • You can undo the Locksmith category change, but then you have to wait for approval before marking it for deletion again.  Frequently, the edit is denied by Google Listing Editors, who apparently believe that a Cafe Locksmith that exists in the middle of the woods is a real place, or that Locksmith' Gym, with no street address, situated in the middle of a 4 lane intersection, must also be real.
LE's are the Places staff.  It's claimed... so that's what they go with.  Hit the "I object" button and politely state what you know about it.  Since LEs don't get the I Objects, it will be reviewed by a MM employee, though it might take a few weeks, but at least someone that follows the guidelines will then get to it.
  • If you use Issue Tracker in MM to report spam, they ignore those, also, and the issues are frequently never addressed, or never updated, or declared fixed when they're not.
Please don't do that, it was never presented that the Issue Tracker was to report individual pieces of SPAM.
  • This portion of the process is largely moderated by people.  Algorithms play little part in this, unlike the creation of spam.  No matter how high your trust rating, you still get moderated by people.  No matter how many spam deletions you approve, or get approvals for from other experienced mappers, someone at Google or a RER (regional expert reviewer) still has to step in to approve the deletions.  
Not so.  This just means you trust rating is not high enough.  A significant portion of my deletions are approved instantly or later by the mod bot.  But the trust bar is intentionally high, would you like someone to be able to just delete your listing?
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 11/5/13 1:12 PM

On Tuesday, 5 November 2013 12:57:19 UTC-8, locksmithmonitor wrote:
  • You can obviously delete claimed listings in MM and get approval by GMM, but GMM is apparently not allowed to do that on your behalf, even if you report them.  Sending it to another team on Places is weirdly inefficient.  I wasn't expecting an instant turn around, but if I use MM to report other issues (not related to spam), I can get a turnaround of about a week or less, and I get a report back indicating that something was done, or nothing can be done.  Not so with spam reports.  They just disappear.  I don't send a lot of them, just a few.  If I check the history of the POIs later, some are still up weeks after they've been reported.  It seems the kink here in the process is not allowing GMM to act, and passing it off to a team that doesn't know spam from ham.  
No, having more than one team look at a certain type of feature would be highly inefficient.  This is pretty normal in most large businesses; work is divided into teams and when you see stuff that belongs to another team you send it to them.
  • You can't trigger the POI to copy over to MM, because the listing itself is locked because of the locksmith category.  I can't edit it.  Can you?  Here's one I can't report or delete:  Camarillo Locksmith  Another:  Top Locksmiths Services  
Ah, I see what you mean.  But again, this is not a bug... this feature does not exist in Map Maker.  This has been created in and only exists within Places.  That is why you can't report it; as I stated reporting is for corrupt data on the MM database, and this does not exist on the MM database.  If it did, you would not have a CID in the URL.
  • There's already another issue in the monthly bug report and issue tracker regarding GLEs.  It just seems that they don't do the same quality checks that the GRs do, which is very frustrating, and represents a lot of wasted effort.  This seems like a workflow issue that hasn't been corrected.  Noted on the I object option.
It's something MM wants to fix, but it's difficult to fix when they are Places employees and they a different tool.
  • Regarding the Issue Tracker, there are many discussions on the Map Maker forums regarding problems with the Issue Tracker by a mapper named Rich.  I don't use it to report spam, I just star issues that are related to locksmith spam so I can get updates.  It's not always consistently updated by GMM, and it's not always clear if issues are resolved (some that are marked as fixed aren't, and many that are fixed are not marked as fixed).  There are forum updates (monthly bug fixes) that are helpful, but even that is not always clear, especially if the problem persists.
Rich isn't using the issue tracker correctly then.  I'm afraid that starring inappropriate reports is not going to help. Items that get closed without action are likely more things that are not appropriate for the issue tracker.
  • You're an RER on MM, who are treated differently.  Your trust rating is already very high.  The mappers I'm talking about are not RERs.  They're just people who delete spam, even if they have a high edit count and 100% rating.  There's also an on-going issue both on the MM forums and issue tracker regarding this problem (it was marked as fixed, but apparently not), so it's not isolated to just a few mappers.  

RERs are not treated differently when it comes to edits.  All that we have different is a heightened trust level when we review. My edit trust level comes completely from my editing history... I've earned it solely based via my editing.  There is no ongoing issue, again this would be someone putting something inappropriate on the Issue Tracker and thus it was closed.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/5/13 8:34 PM
LocksmithMonitor - If you're SURE that Google had known about this a while ago, then maybe it's not a bug or a security issue at all. I think that you may be over-reacting. Maybe it's the way that the system SHOULD work and as told before, what good for the goose is good for the gander... so maybe WE are the spammers, keeping Google monitoring 15 pages of nonsense, staying up at night removing listings, when all we need is to sit by the computer 12 minutes and spam our way to the top. I mean, fight our way to the top. 

If it's legal and within Google's guidelines, so why are we wasting our time here? I think my business just expanded ;)

Froum Boulder to Castle Rock, and anywhere in between.. if that's the way.. than let be it. Hey.. I may even re-start my AdWords campaign soon. I was looking at Google all wrong all this time.. 
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/5/13 9:02 PM
All I was saying, using myself as a metaphor, is that I won't play dirty, as hard as it gets, but I know that there are many people who will eventually have to cross the lines and will justify it by blaming Google. When this will happen, I can see a huge wave or legit locksmiths and spammers working their way to the top, trying to make minimum wage.

At that point, 1200 fake listings in Denver will be nothing compares to 120000 in the US only. I guess it will make Google shut down the maps (At least for few categories), only because of untreated bug..

It's like the small hole in the boat that nobody cares about, but with the water level reaching high enough.. there goes the boat.

I couldn't figure it out by myself (I admit I had great help from an old time friend who cracked it for me), but if we could figure it out, spammers clearly did... it's a matter of time right now until this small hole will sink this industry.  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/5/13 9:04 PM
Besides.. why won;t they care enough to fix it. I mean.. I'm just a user, by it THEIR product.. 
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Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 11/5/13 10:55 PM

On Tuesday, 5 November 2013 20:42:00 UTC-8, locksmithmonitor wrote:
I understand your points, but again, nope, I don't necessarily agree with you. 

My points are as someone that has worked with Map Maker for years.  You can't just start poking around and figure out the way everything works; Map Maker is much more complex than that.  You've made a bunch of assumptions.

  • Google Reviewers look at many features (you could call them a jack-of-all-trades), and if you use Report this, not infrequently the Googlers reading that report (who, incidentally, work for GMM and not Places) will fix the issue for you, if they can.
And you came to this conclusion how?  How do you know the person that worked on the issue is the original person that opened your report?  How do you know their work processes?  My knowledge comes from what Googlers have told me.  Your's appears to be assumptions.
  •  Startling enough, I've seen the work they do after they send me the "It's fixed" report.  It's obvious that claimed listings are treated differently according to whether the POIs are edited or reported, and the type of feature.  It would be far more efficient for them to delete the spam in the first place then it send it on to another team.  Not sure why doubling the virtual paperwork is more efficient, but it's not beyond the scope of their ability to delete the listing, because they're using similar tools to the ones we have as volunteer mappers, and they're using the same resources that other GRs use to verify listings.
That may be your feeling of how it should work, but that would mean that the people that open the reports would need to be cross-trained in every department's work processes.  That is not at all efficient.  You're again assuming that the solution to spam it just to have people manually delete it.  It would be funnelled to the right team so that at the same time that the delete it, they also record aspects of it so that data from thousands of spam examinations can be analyzed towards algorithm tweaks.  When I send items directly to the senior GRs, they fix basic items where it is just a permissions issue or something similar; but they forward most things to the appropriate teams.  I know this because they email me to tell me if they personally fixed it or if they sent it onward.  Nothing gets fixed in the overall if everyone just makes bandaid fixes on each item.
  • Yep, still a bug.  You can't pull the data in using the trick you suggested, because it's not fully imported.  A "trick" in MM parlance is just a workaround to bugs.  Normally the Google Automated Copier bot pulls the data in (I've used the workaround you suggested myself), but the data itself can't be 'activated' until you edit it, and you can't edit it--it's catch-22.  You say ketchup, I say catsup.  
Ok, I can see you are not really a computer type and don't understand what is a bug.  If it doesn't work the way you want, that's not the definition of bug.  But I understand better now that i know that you just mean "That's didn't do what I want it to do."
  • Not necessarily.  Rich has worked on MM for a long time before MM came to Canada and the US, certainly long before either of us worked on it, according to the dates on his posts.
Yes, you are relatively new to Map Maker.  Do not assume that I have as little experience as you.  I have been working with it longer than Rich, unless he too started the day it was announced.
  • He has some keen insight on programming workflows, geo issues, and MM mechanics.  You should read some of this posts on Facebook and the old MM forums--you might learn something.  I think it's more about Google prioritizing certain issues over others, based on their own product development plans, what they can or can't fix, and the occasional bone throw to the mappers, to induce them to keep making edits and keep providing feedback.  I haven't starred any 'inappropriate' issues, which is more of a subjective opinion than a objective analysis, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.  
I am well aware of Rich's posts and views.  Rich does not keep himself up to date on everything to do with Map Maker, something you should consider when using him as a knowledge source..  This is quite understandable as he maps in remote regions where moderation is not needed.  Remember, this is the person that does not understand how to use the issue tracker properly; even though the current channels to use for each type of issue were published 1 1/2 years ago in the forums.  As for his Facebook contributions; the last time he made a definitive statement about the working of MM was when he said that Google stated that the issue of dates not showing was fixed, but they are wrong as it is not working where he maps.  He made this post in direct response to the announcement of the feature addition, which contains the statement "This is currently enabled only in selected regions, but we are in-process of updating more Map Maker countries and territories."   In addition, this was not an "issue" as he states, and issue is something that is broken.  It was a feature request.  My experience is that Rich makes very few statements about the workings of Map Maker, and the ones he makes are not necessarily reliable.
  • I can only say what I observe and experience.  Your experience may be true, but the RERs profiles that I've looked at in comparison to the non-RERs making similar edits leads me to believe that my assessment is also true.  Yes, there's an on-going issue, it's in the Issue Tracker.  I found several:  4458 and 4553 so I think a few experienced mappers disagree with your assessment.  I read that it was fixed in the forums, but it's obviously not for the spammers, who are still able to auto-publish with impunity.  
RERs were picked for their proven knowledge of the guidelines, as shown in their edits being consistently correct.  We had earned a high trust rating before we were even selected as RERs, so yes, you will see us having higher success rates with our edits; we were getting that before we became RERs.  Google has many a time made the statement that RERs have no extra editing trust.  Often it's in response to the RERs complaining that they don't seem to have any extra trust.  With regards to the issues you quote, neither are about RERs having any different edit trust levels than other equally experienced mappers.

If I have enough information, I'm willing to change my perspective, but the idea that there's some sort of absolute right/wrong in your mind just because you see it that way is kinda not true.  

Unlike yourself, I don't create absolutes in my mind based on a bunch of assumptions.  I have worked with Map Maker for years, and if something is not spelled out then I get me facts directly from Google.  At any given time I probably have about 30 open inquries with Googlers.  Part of an RER and TCs position is to share items that are provided to them; we are hear to be an information source.  If I don't know about something, I'll tell you that I will inquire and find out.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/6/13 7:20 AM
I come to work this morning.
There are 859 competitors around me .....!!
90% are not real - crooks... telling customers that the "service call" is $ 15.
So I am willing to donate work hours help a business that is not mine "Google"!
But they are not responding to us!
Google says, "Do not count all your business on Google, Google makes changes all the time"...
But in our business, Google takes away all the customers from us, without any exception!

Google for months did not respond or take actions, and that is a fact.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/6/13 10:24 AM

What this mean exactly? "Continue with the entered name"
(unknown) 11/6/13 6:58 PM <This message has been deleted.>
(unknown) 11/6/13 7:00 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/6/13 7:58 PM
wow!!! OK so if you guys are getting a divorce, I'm going with LocksmithMonitor
Second... I don't think that you guys should ever meet at the parking lot. By the time you'll get there it's gonna be a locksmith shop. However, If you are there, please take a minute to remove it from the map. 


Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 11/6/13 8:26 PM
Not to derail, but here is a list of Seattle locksmith-categorized business listings from MM that are known spam, have been checked out and cross referenced against this database, and have no presence at the listed address (may as well keep this in one high profile thread):

Farther south (but still spam)
duplicate entry: Brincken Safe & Lock

straight spam
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/7/13 8:17 AM
I think Google is just surrendered in the war against the spammers.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 11/7/13 8:36 AM
I've made as good an argument as I can with the knowledge I have about why Google can't fight spam.  Either you buy it or you don't.  Nothing else I can say will convince you that Google wants to control spam and has done everything they can to do so.

The fault lies with the spammers for abusing the system.  Not Google for creating it.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/7/13 9:28 AM
I can see on MM how they create parking lot listings than change it to locksmiths. I am trying to be involved, helping "Google" system by reporting them... but the new fake listing is locked. So Google don't remove them and don't let us do the reports...
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/7/13 9:54 AM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/9/13 8:42 AM
to Google search customers!!! DO NOT SEARCH FOR LOCKSMITHS ON GOOGLE local maps!!!  Google+ or whatever "Google" want to call it this days... There is about 700 locksmiths addresses with FAKE location and the phone the number is forwarding to a different country!!! Google know about this and don't remove them!! If you a locksmith please join us on Facebook.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/9/13 10:06 AM
Im done here, im out from this forum.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 11/9/13 10:12 AM
I am still seeing all of these SAB listings are live.

They are Spam. Duplicate photos, phone numbers, web addresses, reviews...and even business name. I am not able to report them.

Please remove:

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/9/13 9:39 PM
Well, I've decided to take it to the next level. I'm going to our local attorney general this week and will ask for their point of view. 
If you're telling me that it's a small problem and it's only an industry level and not big enough to handle.. I understand. All I need to do then is just to present the problem in a nationwide multi-industry level? right?

So I think that I will ask the AG to investigate if Google is a monopoly in the search and if is, what is it responsibility as far as consumer protection. I understand that they are outnumbered, we are not big enough and do no evil part. I also understand that Google dominates the online search and by not showing my business or enabling spam to stay online after we posted it here and even posted the way they do it and asked to block it and still everything is the same, then I think that there must be another thing to do. 

Jim, Flash, Joy and everyone else! I appreciate your input but I think that for the sake of my business, I would like to have a second opinion. 

At this point, with my business almost shut down completely, I can't take no for an answer. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/10/13 10:26 AM
There is away i can remove myself for the  history on this forum? I don't want to be here. Can Google block me or something?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/10/13 10:31 AM
And Mr. Local. "When you want to shoot - shoot! don't talk"!!!!. Stop using this forum. And please contact me in person
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/10/13 10:39 AM

We we are Jews, don't forget! "Dies with the Philistines" Or don't forget our "david shields"

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 11/10/13 8:27 PM
Big problem. This guy has the system beat! All of these listings popped up today, just in my zip code. Nothing can be done in MM...not even to report abuse (they were not created there). He figured out some way to get listings live, without postcards, AND not through MM. These are being created from somewhere else, maybe Maps. They need to be removed (same phone numbers, pictures ,etc.) but even better, I wish Google could figure out how it is being done. This is even a bigger loophole than MM, since at least in MM the problems can be reported.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/10/13 9:54 PM
Spaminator, this is the same guy who's running the listings in Denver. 
Please contact me outside of this forum we are putting an end to this. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LisaSouthBeachLocksmith 11/10/13 10:15 PM
Let me know how to contact you.

Also, have some fun with this. I called one of the local numbers and it rang about 15 times...then a guy from NY called me back: 646-894-6799

This may be the big owner out of NY!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/10/13 10:17 PM
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Lock guy 11/12/13 10:46 PM
What did you guys find out?  Are you guys still using this forum?  I just found this thread but I've been a locksmith for a long time here in co too.  My whole family has been in the business in some way for fifty years now.   Lately my business sucks!  Is this a problem with other fields besides ours?  Like electricians?  What ever happened with getting locksmiths licensed here in colorado?  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 11/12/13 11:07 PM
Daunting though it may seem, much about the state of affairs of the locksmith industry and how the internet is affecting it can be gleaned from reading these pages of discussion. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Lock guy 11/12/13 11:17 PM
I'm glad I found this thread at least so I know I'm not alone...other locksmiths I talk to,  my dad included,  don't seem to care about internet advertising too much,  like it's some crazy new tech they don't worry about.    "Phone books good enough for me".    Somewhere in some state some locksmith has solved this same problem,  I know it.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/12/13 11:20 PM
Lock Guy - licensing is not an option yet, unfortunately, the ALOA meeting was basically a meeting in which we were asked to finance a lobbyist (starting bid was about $60k if I remember it right) so I don't see licensing here soon unless our congress people will put it on their list..

We fount out that Google is fighting spam but not as fast as the spammers fighting Google...

Lock Guy - please contact me outside of the forum if you may.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/12/13 11:20 PM
new spam

"Parking lot locksmith" in Minneapolis area on maps:


Searching this phone number on maps: (651) 212-4508

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/12/13 11:24 PM
I think that the only state that solved the problem was Virginia, since they have the state troopers enforcing the licensing. All other states that has licensing are not really enforcing it - but I might be wrong. 
I think that targeting Denver & Florida is a test drive for now and they will recruit more "technicians" soon and open the spam party in more states.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Lock guy 11/12/13 11:27 PM
I'll call you tomorrow thanks for the reply
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Lock guy 11/12/13 11:50 PM
I know they've been targeting denver for a long time now because eight years ago I got a call from a guy in New York who offered more car openings for me,  the deal then was that I opened cars then paid him ninety dollars per car I opened,  anything above ninety is what I would make.  He said I can charge the customer whatever I felt like.  I heard that in Oklahoma they enforce the licensing pretty well,   That that's how they took care of the spammers there.  
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/13/13 12:04 AM
Do what I did. Suspend your AdWords account and leave it to the spammers. 
I have no problem competing against you (and your dad) on a fair market.. I think that competition is food for businesses to keep us alert to our customers needs. However, it's hard to me to compete when 9 out of 10 adsd are "$15 Locksmith" / "$19 Locksmith" etc & most of them are now redirecting to spammy websites or a fake Google page with 2 or more fake reviews (Found some that actually copied reviews from my page..)

So my best advice for you is to stop paying (assuming that you are using AdWords) and if Google wants our business, let them make some room for us. At this point I feel that I'm actually paying to build a company that will destroy my business.. makes no sense ;)

As far as local products, I'm hoping that they will build a local team to fight the spam, I hope that this team will contact us directly and work with us so we can help them help us - But for a company that has no phone number, I find it pretty hard to believe. 

I'll be expecting your call tomorrow we are working on another solution that may be slower, but permanent. They may have their guidelines, we have the Hulk ;)
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 11/16/13 11:26 AM
Jim, I think the list of laws they are breaking are tax dodging and price gouging, some of them operating without business license or contractor's license, and this is just speculation from me but the reason they aren't prosecuted are that customers don't usually file complaints with regulators, are unable to provide license plate numbers or other forms of identification, and are probably embarrassed to come forward.  Of course because they obscure their real identities the only real way to get them is with sting operations.  It seems like sting operations would be inexpensive for a police force to pull off and it would bring in $1000 per violation.  In Seattle, you could nail probably ten or fifteen different guys in one day.  Of course, the scammers would all call each other and probably stop answering the phone for a week if the police did do this.  So much the better.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 11/17/13 10:59 AM
I am having difficulty with reverting some spam listings.  My requests are being denied.  Offending examples:
and this
and this
and this

the supporting reasons for denying me this edit were:
" Thanks for using Google Maps . Our resources have confirmed the information on this feature was more accurate before your edit. Unfortunately, this means that we’re unable to accept your edit.
Denial Reason - Has wrong information
by Google Reviewer Tanuja"
So, the google reviewers noticed that there isn't a gym or other fake business there, but don't understand the process of removing a fake locksmith first requires reverting the listing back to its non-locked state? 
Also, this listing and this has been around for almost a month since I reported it.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/19/13 3:58 PM
Hi again, 

We are under spam attack.. again. Almost 800 listings here, 4 new listings per hour since yesterday morning. we need help. We are working on a solution at our side but need help in the meanwhile so we can go on. Please advise. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/19/13 4:11 PM
Google is better to let them scam, fraud, Google customers from trying to remove them.... We on page 17 here. Google will not help us remove them!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/19/13 6:26 PM
Another question - Can someone contact Google to help me lock my business page so no one will be able to hijack it or make modifications?

It used to be locked, I moved to the new G+ dashboard and now it's vulnerable again. It used to be taken down all the time and I had to start over every time, building reputation and collecting review. 

As a personal favor, and without anything that has been discussed in this forum, I would really appreciate it. 


Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado treebles 11/19/13 6:47 PM
What makes you think it is not locked on Map Maker, I get the message that editing of the feature is not allowed.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 11/19/13 6:53 PM
On the main Google page, when you see my listings, you can click on "Are you the business owner?"

And let you send a postcard to hijack the listing. 
And me fighting spam.. makes me a nice target.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado treebles 11/19/13 9:42 PM
It does not send a postcard to the hijacker to verify your listing, but it collects information from the person wishing to take control of the listing and contacts you to see if you approve of the transfer of ownership.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/20/13 9:52 AM
Running the locksmith form a different country Fox Detroit News
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 11/24/13 1:17 PM
Google, I reported these to you over two weeks ago!  What is going on?  These are all still up!

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 11/25/13 7:08 PM
Today I see the new version of Google Mapmaker obscures all edits, making it impossible to roll back changes the scammers like to make such as from a gym to a locksmith shop, or a coffee shop to a locksmith.  What is the new procedure to remove these scum-soaked rodentia?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 11/26/13 1:17 PM
Google maps just become playground for the spammers, i call this one Asked them if they talk Hebrew... they said yes. Than i just asked them for work, they said sure... We located in Florida but you can just contact this man.... at this number..... for work in Denver. He have many Israelis working for him....
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 12/3/13 8:20 AM
1500 locksmiths in Denver... Google is a big & not so funny joke. 

Sit down and remove that spam. 
He edited 3000 places in 2 weeks. All of them are "Parking Lots". All of them are being converted to "Locksmiths". 

So is Google that DUMB of a company and cannot identify spam? can't see a f**** pattern??

I wish Google will be fined by the US attorney general so small businesses can come a collect damages. The spam is not the problem, corruption is anywhere. Google is the problem. A greedy company who enjoys getting money from AdWords so they are not really motivated to remove that spam. 

Google, you are no longer a do no evil company.. your just a joke. And the joke is on us. 
Yeah, I don't expect you to remove that spam. I guess it will hit 2000 by tonight. 

But I think that the public should know... The public should know that you don;t care and should know NOT to use this product to do search. It's a commercial product ran by AdWords, not a search engine. 

Yup. I've lost my customers, wonder if you know how it feels.. geez.. let's make some calls and find out. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 12/3/13 9:58 AM
I too have become fed up with Google's inability to control locksmith spam.

But on what basis would they be fined by the US Attorney's office?  Keep in mind Google is not condoning the spam listings, the bad actors here are the folks abusing the system, not the builder of the system.  Google is just as much the victim in this situation as you are.

I too think the US Attorney's office should act, but against the spammers, not against Google.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/3/13 11:20 AM
1500 parking lots in Denver changing to Locksmith business in a day??. I have one listing VS 1400 fake listings around me. We talking about the food for my 2 years old!!! We will not leave it alone. We will not back off. We will not wait. We calling everywhere. Everyday!!!! We are the public voice!!!! We will fine anyone responsible for our loss. You will see our action soon. Google map spam will be stop!!!!!!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/3/13 11:26 AM
The true is... I cannot wait for the 2000 hit.... I wish it will get to the 10,000!!!!
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/3/13 11:29 AM
If anyone thinks that because we do not continue here, we just give up on the subject. I have news for him. We just gave up on Google.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 12/3/13 12:12 PM
I don't know what the answer is either.  We have identified the problem and called it clearly to Google's attention.  The next steps are theirs.  I continue to harangue them from time to time, and I encourage you guys to continue with these milestone announcements here.  Local search bloggers read this forum too and they are always looking for a good story.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado JoyHawkins (RL) 12/3/13 12:27 PM
I blogged about it.  It got read by a lot of people and reshared a bunch.  Unfortunately I guess it needs more mass attention. I would try a journalist @ the New York Times or Wall Street Journal etc.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/3/13 12:27 PM
Jim, We greatly appreciate the involvement of all of you here. We will update at the appropriate time
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 12/3/13 8:32 PM
Can someone notify Google? Can Google contact us directly to get a list of spam? I do not want to spend the next 4 hours building a list that will never be removed. Can Google care enough to contact us and get a list of spam with a guarantee to remove it?....

Google employees, when all of you get your big paycheck and buy gifts for your family and celebrate Christmas, a lot of us will think how to come up with money to pay the electric bill because you have becam a monopoly in the online search, and you are abusing your power by ignoring us and by refusing to issue a fast solution. 

That being said, you are not as bad as the spammers, you are stepping up to be worst then them. They maybe manipulating the system, you just play god. 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/3/13 9:16 PM
Google decided to leave you in the dark. I'll bet you a thousand dollars that you will not receive a response from them. Concentrate in a different direction....
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/3/13 9:23 PM
We said everything here, we on page 17. I'm sorry ... But the answer is not here
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Gary D. 12/3/13 11:24 PM
Hi Guys.
I am sure most of you know me from MM.

I have been fighting spam for the last 2 years. and have more then 10,000 edits.

After a long time of trying to help locksmiths, all around the US, and with the great help of Dan, and some other good people who care, i am giving up.

The problem here is Google.
If they wanted the could have blocked all this spam, just like they did a year ago and 2 years ago.
When someone would try to add the categoty "Locksmith" or add "Lock" or "Locksmith" to his name it would be pendingand only go on the map after manual approval.

Google is the Spammer.
This may be my last word, i am sure my account will be blocked after that,
But locksmiths, please wake up. You have to do more then sitting and hitting your keyboards.

I marked "Googplex" - Google main offices as spam.
I reported it for abuse.

And if you care, do the same, or approve my edit.

--Google is the mother of all spam--

Bless you.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/4/13 5:04 AM
Gary D.
We've opened a different direction out of the forum here, someone like you can help us in the explanation of what Google does and what they can do. The question why Google does not respond to us coming from all directions in different offices. Please contact me or Mr. local.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 12/4/13 8:12 AM
Gary, I left a message under your removal request for Google plex but an error message popped up saying it was sensitive and would have to be reviewed, so I'll post it here as well.
"A locksmith here, seconding Gary's opinion.  We are giving up on fighting spam for Google because Google refuses to do anything about it.  Do no evil my @ss.  Ten years ago Google was a company that could have programmed an algorithm  to not only remove locksmith spam, but prevent it in the first place.  I guess now the people who would've written that algorithm are making phones for Google or something, because the new version of Mapmaker is even worse for removing spam.  Spammers are adding parking lot listings and changing to locksmith listings within a few hours."
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Gary D. 12/4/13 9:49 AM
MR "AEGe",
Wish i could join your fight,
But i am warn out.
I just gave up.
Back in the day, we would fight spam, and google would help us, help remove, help control, help in anyway they could.

The problem is google.

What made me give up was also how "ALOA" seem to not care, and just ignore the problem.

If you want to go on a legal fight against google, that would be your best shoot.
If you need real experts to help you, you need to contact Dan A, and Mark B (Baldino), They are the smartest, most knowledgeable people in the spam fighting arena.

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 12/4/13 6:27 PM
In light of the recent changes to Mapmaker that Google has made, and their general sluggishness in fixing the locksmith spam problem, I believe a different tact is required by those who want to see this problem fixed.  Some of us have figured out the probable methods used by the spammers to spam Google Maps/Mapmaker.  Since Google has not shut this vulnerability in the last mapmaker update, I believe that the vulnerability and how it is performed should be made public. 
Google is well acquainted with this model in the software world, where bug hunters are paid handsomely for finding vulnerabilities in Google's and other companies' software.  The unwritten agreement has worked well in the software world and it is this: when somebody finds a vulnerability allowing a bad guy to take control of another computer or do something considered bad, they report it to the author of the software.  If the author does not issue a patch for client software (or close the vulnerability if it is server-side) in a reasonable period of time, it is the responsibility of the guy who discovered the vulnerability to publicize that vulnerability.  This is because bad guys have a big incentive to find that vulnerability, and the company knows now that this pattern has been established that they had better close the loophole/vulnerability fast or the problem will be disclosed to the public and their problems will multiply.  If the problem is not disclosed to the public, the criminals may be using the vulnerability to hurt people as long as they want.  At least if the public knows, then they can be aware of the problem, and the pressure is on the author of the software to fix the problem.
The situation is a little different here because the spammers have found the vulnerabilities in Google Mapmaker/Maps long ago.  That doesn't mean that it is pointless to disclose the vulnerabilities of Mapmaker, however.  If the methods of circumvention became well known, no doubt more people would start using them, and things would get bad for awhile, but then Google would have to fix it.  They would have to fix it because Google Maps is one of Google's flagship products; Android phones depend on it, so they would bring some of their "A" team over from the Android Dev team and Adwords (or wherever their smartest are right now) and stop up the holes. 
Therefore, I ask everybody who has figured out how the spammers do this to publicize this information.  Make a parking lot listing, add a locksmith business with the same address to or whatever the spammers do, wait for the Google Internal Syncer 3 to copy it over, and take ownership of it.  There are probably some steps missing here.  Fill them in.  Open the flood gates of spam.  If Google values Google Maps then they will also have to value its utility, and if every business model is flooded with spam (imagine every corner on Google Maps with a pizza joint, a locksmith, a carpet cleaner, a garage door repair place, movers, etc) then Google will probably devote the resources to fixing it that they should have long ago.  Otherwise Google Maps will be rendered useless by spam in every category that has lots of competition.  If they won't fix their stuff of their own accord, give them a reason to fix it: their bottom line.  They have known the problems for a long time, all they need is a kick in the pants to show some initiative.  Like your 19 year old living in your basement, things have grown too comfortable for Google, drawing in easy dirty money from locksmith scammers in Adwords.  They stopped following their screed of "Do no evil", so they need to see the same incentive it has taken other businesses to want to change: a threat to their bottom line.
Watching the spam build up fast here in Seattle....
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 12/4/13 6:51 PM
Oh that's easy. 
Once they make the listing on MapMaker they log in using a different account and claim the listing. Google then requires quick phone verification based on the same phone number and address. 
You answer the phone, enter then pin code and the listing are shown under "Verified local business" and you guys cannot edit them anymore in map maker since they are locked in the new dashboard. 

When it's in the dashboard they can add categories, pictures, fake reviews and make Google the most stupid company in the world. 

Google can easily block it by flagging all "Parking lots" that changed into "Locksmiths" and automatically remove them within one hour. 
Google can also block future activity. 
If they want to be really smart, they can block the user IP for 96 hours and leave him a message "Dear spammer, please think about what you do and come back in 4 days"..

But Google is enjoying the spammers money in their AdWords. 

However, if any of you has valuable information, please contact me privately. We have found so far 2 different AG who are looking into this activity and I believe that in the next 2 weeks we will have about 6 more. 

I don't know if I was misunderstood before, but let me be clear about that. I'm not quitting my business. I may be late on my bills but I'll keep working on paying them. We have traced the spammers and have enough information in hand to shut them down. We will keep working on it until the spam will be stopped. 

I was hoping to get Google on board, thought they they may care more about the end user then their ad money... but the only reason why a company will allow it is if they are making tons of money from these spammers and they don't really want them to stop advertise. This is why they are sending us to litigate, they are stalling. And that's fine. 

History full with stupid quotes. People who said that CD is the future and we moved to Cloud storage, Microsoft who claimed that nobody will use office online and 10 years later announced "Office 365"..., Bill gates who made fun of Steve Jobs back in 1998, when Microsoft was worth $250 billion and Apple only $6 Billion.. 

Oh.. and my favorite quote "Solving big problems is easier than solving little problems" (Sergey Brin)... so.. Maybe Google tactic is just to wait until they'll have a big problem. No worries Google, we are working on that for you. You'll thank me later. 

They did what they need to do, we will do what we need to do. 
Again, any useful information, please contact me in person
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 12/4/13 8:04 PM
Oi, one last thing. 

We are not spammers and will never be. We kinda hoped that Google share the same ideals as we when we've started. I think that more then anything.. we are disappointed. I guess we saw Google as we wanted to see it. 
As far as spamming back or spreading this info around.. We will not be a part of it. 

I think that when Sony insisted on sticking to the walkman instead of MP3 players.. they've lost the market for good. Google is about to lose it biggest market because people are not dumb. They eventually move out to another product and history shows that they will never look back. 

People migrate from Microsoft to Google, From MySpace to Facebook, From ICQ to MSN Messenger etc. Once the migration process starts it's un-stoppable. When we started that discussion, we hoped that Google care about their users as we care about our customers. We thought that we are on the same side here, nothing more. 

anyway.. If you have a connection to Google, please ask them to work with us instead work against us. I mean there is a reason why Yelp is so successful.. right?
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 12/4/13 8:04 PM
Ok, great.  Now that this information is public in a language other than Hebrew, I hope the number of Parking Lot Loc'k'smithz goes up tenfold.  People will stop using Google Maps to search for locksmiths if every city has a ratio of one locksmith per resident!  Off to Yelp they will go, where they will read of my astounding reputation and then call me.  And now for some keywords: "How to put fake listings on Google Maps", "Circumvent Google Algorithms", SEO, Locksmith, etc etc.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 12/4/13 8:08 PM
Yelp is full with spam too... The bad thing is that the new iOS and Yelp are integrated ... so yeah... the future is full with spam unless Google will fight it.. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 12/4/13 10:53 PM
Yelp is full of spam but they are way better about keeping fake reviews out.  It will be interesting to see how this pans out if Yelp takes a more prominent role in customers' search for businesses.  Maybe the spammers will focus more of their efforts on Yelp's spam detection algorithm and circumvention. 
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Mr. Local 12/4/13 11:09 PM
Yeah and that's the funny thing. Google has a lifetime opportunity to almost perfect their product using local businesses, that what I though is that forum is all about. 
Instead we've got bunch of local businesses who are shutting down soon because of Google and Google taking zero action.. All we hear is to take legal action against Google to solve a solvable situation..  

So yeah.. sad but true my friend... Yelp seems to be the future of the search, supported by Facebook and Bing technology. To be honest? I thought Google will take us seriously. I was highly disappointed to find out that you guys had reported this to Google a while ago and that Joy and Jim escalated our reports to Google and they've chose to ignore it. 

But.. I guess everyone gets what they deserve. We've got zero business today, during a snow storm which supposed to be one of our busiest days ever, the spammers got rewarded for abusing the system, and Google?.. Google got Yelp and FB as an alternative. 

Hope you all will have a nice Christmas, and most of all I hope that the next time Google employee will look for a locksmith using a Google product they will find the biggest scammer out there, and when they'll search again they will find another one. 

Good night from Denver. Seems like we've lost this battle... 

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/6/13 6:39 AM
With today's economy, what gets me is how the FBI, police, Denver news, and in general people with a bit of a power to stop the scammers, just don't stop them. Just let the scammers abuse innocent people. I think people do not appreciate the amount of damage. My estimate that close to 60-80 people a day in Denver are been damaged from using Google Plus just by simply ordering an emergency locksmith services.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/8/13 5:47 AM

  1. Go to
  2. Search "locksmith denver"
  3. than click on the map picture from the right
  4. then scroll down on the left to see the results
  5. To see the real results from smart phone hit again the search button

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado LocksmithVigilante 12/8/13 4:20 PM
aege, what does this accomplish?
(unknown) 12/8/13 4:40 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/8/13 4:57 PM
I can't answer this here
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/9/13 11:25 PM
Fake locksmith list on Google Plus:<span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;backg

Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/16/13 9:53 AM
Fake locksmith listings on Google<span style="font-size:15px;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;bac

(unknown) 12/16/13 2:10 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Anonymous LocalSEO 12/18/13 7:09 AM
I do Local SEO professionally, and I can help all of these small business owners.

What you folks need to do is to learn a bit more about the algorithm, how it works, and why.  I won't go into great detail, here due to time & space constraints.  But I'll give you the minimum you'll need to understand what you can do to help yourselves.

Most small businesses look at Google Places/Google+ Local as a "standalone" entity, and when they see a fake, spammy business out-ranking them in the search results, they get mad, blame Google and assume that the situation is out of their hands, and it is not.  There is plenty that they can do.


Google's Local Search results are competitive.  If fake, spammy listing are outranking you, it is not due to some invisible reason that only Google understands, in fact the reasons are external to Google and small business owners have a great amount of control and influence they can exercise, if they only knew what I'm about to mention, which are citations.

There is a heirarchy of factors that Google's algorithm (a series of rules) that Google uses to decide who ranks A, B, C for a particular search term in a particular geography, and of those dozens, hundreds of factors, citations are easily the most important and the most influential.

What are citations?

Good question.  If you want to out-rank the spam, and out-rank your less-informed competitors, go spend some time doing Google searches of the keyword "citations" with other modifiers such as "local" "search" etc...

In general, citations are used by Google as online directories (you can think of them as old-school white pages, or yellow pages) and cumulatively they either add or reduce the credibility of a particular business's listing.  All other things being equal, the business with more citations will out-rank a business with less citations in the local search results.

Some names of citations:
bing local
yahoo local
angies list

Once you spend some time doing some research, this will all start to make sense.  Google's mission is to deliver relevant search results.  In order to understand what that means, you have to think about what the person using Google is looking for when using Google to find a (for example) bakery.

Imagine they are driving down the road, using their mobile device to find a bakery.  They search for "<city name> bakery", find the closets result and spend 10 minutes driving to get there.  When they arrive they:

A)  Find the bakery, go inside, buy some donuts and go on about their day, or
B)  Get to the location and discover that the bakery listed went out of business, or moved, 3 months ago.  Next time they use Bing or Yahoo.

"B" is Google's worst nightmare.  In order to avoid that situation, Google needs to know that the information is current, accurate and the business is really where Google says it is.  All of these local citations are indicators to Google as to how accurate the information is, or is not.  More citations are better than less citations, but also having 100% consistent business information on your citations is better than having some citations with one address, other citations with another.  Inconsistent Phone Numbers also has the effect of lowering your rank in the Local Search results.

Next step:  Research NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency.

My overall point here is that you are not victims, you are not helpless and that Google is not the evil demon some wailing business owners would like to make it out to be.  True, entrepreneurial business owners will read this words here, take the initiative, verify that everything I've posted is accurate, and continue learning about how they can help themselves, and at the end of that process, THOSE small business owners will have a competitive advantage over their less-informed competitors.

It's 2013, and many businesses success and failure is determined by their online presence.  You can either hire someone to do your Local SEO for you, or you can learn how to do it yourself.  Most people can do "B", it's not that difficult.  However some businesses generate enough revenue to justify hiring someone else, and from a management perspective that might be the best option for them.  Local SEO can be learned and practiced by most small business owners (or their staff).
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/18/13 8:44 AM
You yourself becoming spam when you post your business here. I think I speak for everyone, no one is looking for services here. We are talking about an important issue for us all with Google. Bit unprofessional from your side. Not a good start already.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado Flash (RL) 12/18/13 9:14 AM
AEGe - He went out of his way to be completely anonymous and in no way promote his own business.  Everything he says about how to get your own business ranking better is completely valid.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado jim.jaggers 12/18/13 9:18 AM
I don't see any direct self-promotion in Anonymous LocalSEO's post.  His advice is a better articulated version of advice I had offered earlier in this thread.  Namely that the way to beat spammers is to have a better optimized listing.  You, or one of the other protagonists, in this thread raised rather reasonable objections due to:

1. The hyper-local nature of locksmith searches.  In that many of them are based on the location of a mobile phone and for such searches the location of the business being searched upon carries greater relative weight.  That is, you are more likely to see a poorly optimized local search page that is very close to your current location than you are a well optimized one that is half-way across the city.

2. The spammers have taken over the map.  There may be as many as 100 spam listings for every legitimate listing.  In such a sea of spam it can be difficult for even a well optimized local search page to consistently rank near the top.  Despite many SEO's assertions, there is a certain element of chance (luck if you will) to search ranking.

I considered making such an argument to address LocalSEO's post; but I thought I might better leave it to an actual protagonist involved as i have, mostly, surrendered in may attempt to get Google action regarding local search spam.
Re: Locksmith Spam in Denver, Colorado AEGe 12/18/13 11:19 AM
Thank you for pointing this out to me, it was totally my mistake...
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