Google appears to be crowdsourcing website verification on Place pages now. Hope a competitor can’t nuke your website as easily as they can mark your business as permanently closed.

Just noticed this today. On many Place Pages, if you click the link to the web site and then go back to the Place page, there will be a yellow box asking “Is this the right website for this Place?” The answers are Yes, No, Don’t Know. (See screenshot below).

I tested it out on the Place page below, because it’s breaking the rules. Didn’t know what would happen when I clicked the no box and didn’t want to cause a problem for someone playing by the rules. (Check out that stuffed category section. Surprised Google even allows you to cram that much in. Isn’t there a character limit or something? Seems like an easy fix.) Plus I picked this Place page because it does not link to the Dentist’s site, but to a subdomain at the AGD. So I clicked No and simply got a “Thanks” message at the top of the screen. Not sure what would happen if additional people did the same thing.

Click image to view full size

(Ignore phone number weirdness. That’s just a Skype plug-in)

In light of the New York Times story I was quoted in this week, about all the problems that occurred due to Google crowdsourcing the option to mark a business as closed, I certainly hope this crowdsourcing attempt, won’t lead to more competitive abuse.

Mike Blumenthal proved by closing Google on it’s own Place Page, that it only took 2 people hitting the “report business as closed” button, to mark a business as permanently closed. Sure hope a couple attempts at reporting someone’s website as incorrect, is not enough to delete or change the site on their claimed Place page.

Anyone have a throw away or test Place page we can test this out on? ;-)