People may think your business is a porn shop

I was new to the Boise area when my beagle developed a cough -- so I did what any normal person would -- I typed “vet” in the search bar on Google Maps and went looking for help. I started with the locations nearest to me and found a couple of excellently reviewed clinics.

Then I got the “XXX Vet Clinic”.

Now, it’s not what you think (I’ll let your imagination go wild) -- it was a hijacked Google Maps account leading to a porn site instead of the small business’ homepage (which I’m assuming they didn’t have).

This is more common than you may think. With approximately one billion searches a day, Google maps is one of the most used websites in the world and an attractive target to hackers. All it takes is for your business not to be claimed and for someone (occasionally with good intentions) to go in and change your hours, leave a negative review, or even close your location.

Kevin Poulsen wrote a telling article for Wired.com about a business owner suing Google over having his business listing be hacked. His words of warning: “...if you ignore your Google Maps listing, you’re inviting trouble.”

Don’t be the next XXX Vet Clinic.

You can set this up yourself: www.google.com/business. Or you can contact me. I'd be happy to help.

Topics

Online Neighborhood