Google Maps is the most popular app in the field of directions. Google used to consider it as the “sleepy” business sector with low-profits, but recently, Google Maps has significantly increased advertising.
A typical story,
One evening in August, Nancy Carter, a retired federal official, searched help from Google. But then she wished she hadn’t done so.
The garage door of Mrs. Carter house was broken. This 67-years-old woman searched on Google and found the phone number of a nearby repair service she had used. She immediately called a repair worker to the house.
Google has over 2 billion regular users every month. However, the Google Maps app – which was born to meet the needs as Mrs. Carter – filled in the millions of false addresses and fake names. This was shared by advertising agencies, searching tool specialists, and employees who had worked for Google.
In Mrs. Carter case, a man came to her home in a small truck without the company logo. He told her that he was outsourced, but the truth is not so. After fixing the garage door, the man demanded a 728 USD fee – twice as high as the previous times. He also asked to pay with cash or personal checks. So Mrs. Carter refused to pay.
This worker stole the business name on Google Maps and replaced it with his phone number. Later he went back to Mrs. Carter’s home several times to ask for money.
How did Google act?
Three years later, it seems that Google has not been able to delete such scams. In these cases, Google is benefited while consumers and genuine businesses are suffering.
Anas Abuhazim, who is in the old car sales business on the outskirts of Chicago, knows this defective better than anyone else. His two companies, Smart Tow Inc. and Cash for Junk Cars LLC, buy used cars from customers who call them to find people to throw away the cars. These cars are no longer usable, and Abuhazim’s company will pay about $ 300 for each. Therefore, Abuhazim relies heavily on Google. He used to buy ads on Yellow Pages.
But last year a marketing company came to meet him and offered advertising services on Google Maps for a few tens of thousands of dollars. He agreed to sign the contract. However, in March, this company forced him to pay half of the revenue if he did not want the name of his company to be “buried” under hundreds of competitors. Abuhazim refused and was badly played by that advertising company. In one time driving to an old car park on the outskirts of Chicago, Abuhazim searched Google and found that his companies had no longer appeared on the front page of search results. Besides, more than half of the results on the first page were fake numbers phone. The number of incoming calls halved, and he was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Efforts to increase revenue from advertising
Last year Google handled more than 90% of online searches in all the world, and advertising revenue from this segment amounted to $ 116 billion. In recent years, Google has increasingly dominated the field of searching for local addresses. Users use Google to find everything, from night food delivery services to the best repairmen near them.
However, despite being backed by super-powerful algorithms and leading software engineers, Google has not been able to resist scams on Google Maps yet. Google themselves said they removed more than 3 million fake addresses in 2018. Trying searching for “plumber” in New York City on Google Maps, there are 13 fake addresses in the top 20 in the Search Results list.
Google Maps is the most popular business in the field of direction. Google has ever considered Google Maps as the “sleepy” business sector, low-profits; but recently, this app has increased advertising significantly. It is also a part of efforts to increase profits for the advertising sector, which has been viewed as no more growth.
Fake addresses help companies fool customers by setting up branches throughout the city. Or, as in Mrs. Carter’s case, users are connected to unscrupulous competitors of the genuine company. According to industry experts, every month, there are hundreds of thousands of fake addresses arising on Google Maps.
The Wall Street Journal said the US Department of Justice is preparing to open an investigation of violating monopoly rights. This will aim to Google, and the pressing issue is its online advertising market dominance. Competitors complained to lawmakers that Google’s expansion on Google Maps is an example of the monopoly.
According to eMarketer, although Facebook, Amazon, and other companies are gaining market share; Google is still accounting for a 37% market share in the US online advertising market.