If you read (or at least scan) every single post in the Google Places forum every day, like I do you see patterns develop. When numerous users all seem to be having the same problem then it’s usually poor GP documentation that gives users incorrect info which happens often OR it’s a GP bug or tech problem which happens even more often.

Google Places can be a problem-filled mine field for small businesses to try to navigate. When they can’t get their listing to show or their edits to take effect, some users out of desperation end up at the forum. The Google Places “HELP” forum can be a huge time and energy suck! Some users beg and plead over and over for help yet go unanswered. This WASTES a business owner’s time and time is money.

Some users will get a volunteer who tries their best to guess at an answer, since Google seldom shares info about support problems. This WASTES the volunteer’s time and the business owners time. (double suck!) Many times the volunteer guesses are WRONG which leads to speculation and conspiracy theories – when oftentimes it’s NOT some algo change or unwritten rule change causing the problem, but simply a BUG! A bug Google KNOWS about, is WORKING on and just does not communicate about!

GOOGLE – I HAVE A SOLUTION TO PART OF THE PROBLEM

Google please start a known issues section in the Google Places help forum. When you have a KNOWN bug, tech problem, glitch, UI malfunction or whatever SHARE THE INFO and help everyone save their precious time and money! This will help Google’s rep a little too. Nothing is worse than a bunch of frustrated business owners that have problems that affect their livelihood!

CASE IN POINT

How many complaints have there been in the forum lately about new listings not showing up, verified listings that say they still need to be verified even though they recently were or business owners getting the “do not support this location” error messages, or edits not going live?

There are TONS of complaints like this, yet buried in one lowly business owners plea for help is some VERY IMPORTANT INFO THAT COULD HELP LOTS OF USERS – but it will be overlooked because it’s hidden in one of MANY threads about these same problems. Just check the sidebar in that post for a few of the related posts, but there are TONS more!

Google Places Forum COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR HELP

Joel H, a Google Employee replies:

There’s an issue right now: Listings appear with “active” status in Google Places for business, but aren’t actually appearing on Google. The status, instead of active, should read “Pending” for all your listings. It generally takes multiple weeks per the email sent upon verification. I’ve copied the text of the email below, with my emphasis:

“We’ve marked the submitted locations as verified. Please make sure to keep the information up-to-date. If there are changes that don’t comply with our listing quality guidelines, the account may become unverified. Please note that verification should allow your listings to appear on Google Maps with the information submitted. It should take a few weeks before you notice verified listings appearing on Google. Until then, the listings will appear with the ‘Pending’ status message.”

Thanks for being patient as we work through this UI issue. Note that, those listings that do have the incorrect ‘active’ status, do appear on Google through other data sources and without information you submitted to Google Places for business. So, if you search for the location, you’ll find a listing, but not necessarily with the information you submitted.

So many are having problems related to this issue. Yet only 1 reply explaining it AND where no one else will see it so it can help everyone else???

Joel could have taken the same amount of time and posted that in the new KNOWN ISSUES forum I’m proposing, where lots of other users could see it. Then I and other volunteers that are trying to help folks would not have to make wild guesses as to what’s wrong, we could point them to the “official explanation” and let them know it’s a temporary problem that is being worked on! Then Google could post an update when the problem has been fixed.

A known issues or current problems section of the forum would help so many business owners AND help Google too.

/endrant