Google Places & the New Postcard-Only Validation Process

A little new, a little well-known. The newer information is courtesy of Mike Blumenthal letting folks know that Google Places has been tightening up their verification process for new businesses.

I really like this, even though it can (and has) take more time to get listed. About a month ago, a company with a new location caused Google to allow only the postcard option. It looked something like this. Notice there’s no phone option?

In early 2007 and before, the postcard option was it and often took a lot more than 2-3 weeks to receive. This time, it took about 1-1/2 weeks. However, it took another 2 weeks for the listing to show after I confirmed the listing. This is from a business that’s been trusted in Google Maps Places for years. Another new location just this week also gave the postcard only option.

I still welcome this. If Google is indeed tightening up like this, it would sure be harder for those who want to artificially manipulate local results.

With this said, there are a few tips to make sure the postcard option is working. These aren’t new tips, maybe more of a refresher and communications is key.

  • Call and then send an email to your contact(s) including whoever is responsible for receiving mail. In the email, explain exactly what you’re doing.
  • Include an image like the one above
  • Explain how important it is to not throw away the postcard and to call or email you back with the 5 digit confirmation code provided
  • For good measure, copy and paste the image below to show what the actual direct mail piece will look like (not the best quality image, sorry)

Having the phone option with almost immediate results is sure nice and definitely preferred. Having the postcard only doesn’t have to be bad. Maybe it can at least be another communications opportunity.

Have you seen Google’s new process for new business locations? Let us know of your experiences…. Good or bad.

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12 Responses to Google Places & the New Postcard-Only Validation Process

  1. Ed Kohler says:

    The higher bar will certainly slow down spammers. One challenge for me is working on behalf of clients who have offices all over North America who don’t realize how important those postcards are when they show up at their office locations.

  2. Paul Jahn says:

    You raise a good point, Ed. In your situation it’s probably near impossible to communicate with everyone who receives the postcards.

    In the above situation, it’s admittedly easier for me. I call and/or email folks who already know me.

  3. Ed Kohler says:

    Paul, in some ways it may be easier for me. Sure, the postcards are tedious, but they are for everyone else too, which may keep competitors from bothering to go through the pain.

  4. One thing I have done is scan the actual front,back and inside of the post card and include in my email to the client. The customer can see how non-descript that it is and be on the look out or have his staff be on the lookout.

  5. Paul Jahn says:

    Great advice as always, Mike! Thank you and their card is definitely non-descript.

  6. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Jahn, Chris Darling. Chris Darling said: Google Places & the New Postcard-Only Validation Process – http://ow.ly/3LFlq [...]

  7. Maelle says:

    “One thing I have done is scan the actual front,back and inside of the post card and include in my email to the client. The customer can see how non-descript that it is and be on the look out or have his staff be on the lookout.”

    Honestly, doesn’t it sound appalling to you that we have to take very special measures to get this done? It’s think the whole process in incredibly non user-friendly… I would expect better from the big G, personally…

    Anyway, back to it…

  8. Interesting tactic Google is taking. It might be frustrating to wait to verify, but it’s good to know that Google is taking steps to try and eliminate local results that aren’t valid. Good tips for someone going through the process.

  9. Paul Jahn says:

    @Maelle, It’s not appalling to me, but you’re right. It’s non user friendly and would agree that G could do better.

    @Nick, that’s for stopping by. I hear you guys do some cool things in local search.

  10. Abhishek says:

    In my case it was worse to face all this, since i had tried numerous times but had never revived any postcard from Google.

  11. Great tips in the post and comments. I am adding a listing now and the address is a shipping address (wharehouse) but mail goes to a p.o box in the same city. Am I suppose to enter that in the “contact name” field?

    • Follow-up… If you have a similar situation with a shipping address and a P.O box you can add the p.o box number to the second line of the street address fields. I found the answer in the help pages.

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