Here’s the real deal with Google Places. People like me that deal with it every day realize that the product is so buggy that it should be called BETA and should NOT be a self-service product with ZERO support! (See the list of MAJOR bugs below. I know solutions to some of these problems or have posted G updates to bugs if available.)

Small business owners have no idea how buggy Google Places is! So when they hit a roadblock they think it’s just an isolated incident a tech at Google should be able to help them with. They think a company as big as Google should have a number to call or support email at least. But, there is NO SUPPORT! Zilch! Only the forum, where volunteer labor (like yours truly) tries to help.

When things are broken at Google Places… when there are bugs, gremlins, system errors and all type of problems that volunteer advice can’t solve, it takes Google engineers to fix them.

WHERE ARE THE GOOGLE PLACES ENGINEERS??? Google is putting so much emphasis on local, mobile, hotpot etc. Where are the resources to make the CORE service, the FOUNDATION of it all – Google Places work? My feeling is that there are SO many problems right now that they are CRIPPLED! How long can they let these serious technical issues build up and multiply???

Below are some of the primary technical issues right now – so you know you are not alone. So you can read and find possible solutions or maybe if you are VERY VERY lucky an actual Google employee will post an update on the forum so you know what’s going on.
Click here to view full sizeSYSTEM ERROR BUG
Desperate to get solution to System Error issue.
80 posts so far in this thread and at least 40 individual other threads. Problem started in FEB. Basically if your listing is wrong and you try to edit or if you are trying to set up a new listing, when you try to save your changes you hit the system error and are just stuck. Feb 17 G employee posted “I’ve escalated this to the engineering team. Thanks for your patience while we look into this.” Monday or so 3/7 the problem started re-appearing again and mass numbers of users are begging for a solution. 3/8 G employee posted “I’m re-escalating this issue. Thank you all for your reports.”

UPDATE March 11 – I believe this issue has now been resolved.

Mike posted about this yesterday too. Google Places Dashboard: Widespread Reports of System Error

USER SENTIMENT RE THE SYSTEM ERROR BUG – From PRMotorsPH

This is the most frustrating experience I’ve had in quite a while!  When did it become the case that people were OK with such piss-poor service, such as what we are all apparently experiencing from Google on this?

With all of the massive amounts of revenue Google is making off this whole new revenue stream, you’d think they’d have the courtesy to fix problems like this!  Somehow my competitors are able to get their listings set up with no problems.  How did that happen, Google?  Is there a “bribe Google” button link somewhere that I missed?  If so, could someone let me know where that is???

MISSING STATS BUG Dashboard statistics Tons of users have been reporting missing stats since 2/18. For a long time it appeared everyone’s stats were stuck on that date. G employee finally started a thread 3/4 “We are aware that dashboard statistics for listings have not been updated since February 18. We are actively working to re-populate data for dates since February 18.” I’ve seen some reports saying their stats now display through 2/21. Not sure if that’s a fluke or if stats are trying to get caught up. IF THEY WOULD TELL PEOPLE it would cut down on the frustration and we volunteers could point to the thread or let users know the status. As a pro, I’ve never had much faith in Places stats anyway. There have been so many ongoing stats bugs. However for SMBs, whether the stats are right or not, they just need to see activity reports. Business owners FREAK when their stats are missing, frozen or say 0 impressions and 50 actions which is another on-going issue that comes up often.

PENDING REVIEW BUG All my listings are “Pending” Being Reviewed!!! HELP!!! This problem started beginning of May. (confusing to read this thread because there are different types of pending.) The BUG was that new listings created in January all automatically seemed to be getting the pending review error warning. Google admitted it was a bug and fixed it a few days later. BUT NOW IT’S BACK. Skip down to the posts from today 3/9. Agencies that manage lots of accounts are having most that were created in Jan/Feb go pending. Waiting to get an update from Google.

UPDATE March 11 – I believe this issue has now been resolved.

Mike posted about the review bug – more info here: Google Places: Pending Status Showing Up Erroneously?

MISSING REVIEWS BUG – MAJOR ON-GOING PROBLEM SINCE OCTOBER 2010!!! Sorry now the Google FORUM CRASHED and I can’t get to it to give you stats. But last I check there were pages and pages of complaints.

OTHER ISSUES – no time to give feedback on all these but in a nutshell, between Google’s badly broken scraping algo which creates duplicate problems and their incorrect instructions for how to create a new listing AND incorrect update messages in the dashboard, all kinds of user problems and confusion are created. THIS COULD ALL BE CORRECTED if they would listen to the pros in the forum who have told them over and over what needs to happen to fix these problems.

OK, SEE THE SERVICE ERROR IMAGE ABOVE??? I got that when the Google Places support forum timed out and crashed. Probably from too many visits from so many LIVID users. So I guess I can’t finish this post and REALLY need to get to work anyway.

Thank God Google stopped me before I started to talk about ALL the duplicate problems and how broken the scraping algo is… 😉 STOP ME BEFORE I WRITE MORE! 😉

SUMMARY Just wanted to mention that usually when things go south at Google Places and lots of errors show up, it means that they are doing an update. If that’s he case now then it may be a MAJOR update, because it’s much worse than usual. Google if you are doing an update PLEASE make it an UPGRADE THAT FIXES THINGS – Don’t just give us more new half baked features that cause new problems!

If you can get to the forum or read any updates from Google saying any of the above problems have been fixed, please post in comments and I’ll update this post.