Greg Sterling and a few others note of a new Interwebz spammer called biglocal.com on a Search Engine Land post.
Many have noticed local (map) results on Google when doing a local search query. If you do a common one such as “pizza in Minneapolis” you’ll see something like this.
The above results are pretty slick and very relevant, appear above the natural results, and the algorithm is separate from the natural results as well.
Now you can do a search for “internet consulting in Minneapolis” and you find a bunch of fake ones from biglocal.com.
Clever indeed, although it’s obviously search engine manipulation and will be deleted once Google finds out what’s going on. Some notes…
1) They’re not local to Minneapolis which is considered essential for Google in these results.
2) Everytime you call their number, you suddenly get a “Due to the high volume of calls, we cannot answer. Please try again later”. On a Saturday? Right. This is noted by others as well.
3) The domain is registered by proxy, which basically means you can’t find out who they are. Domains by proxy are primarily used by those who don’t want themselves to be known.
4) Their “about us” page leads you to a broken page and they don’t show a physical address on their contact page, or anywhere else on the site.
5) The listing addresses they use for themselves are fake. Not just in Minneapolis, but in Seattle, Los Angeles, and pretty much any city across the country.
Although it appears they want to be anonymous, they do have a SuperPages profile and a Yahoo Local listing complete with a five-star “review” and matching physical addresses and Salt Lake City local phone numbers.
It does seem strange that the phrase they’re targeting is “Internet consulting + YourCity”. So many more people search for terms such as “Internet marketing”, “Web marketing”, “Internet advertising”, or “search engine marketing”. The free WordTracker tool isn’t perfect, but see for yourself.
The person or people submitting their listings are pretty clever though, and apparently pretty horny as well. The first Minneapolis listing shows an address of 307 3rd St S. This is about a block from what Google considers the city center and is also arguably one of the main factors Google considers in their local (maps) algorithm.
If you do a “street view” map search, there is no such address, but 308 and 316 3rd St S. shows you none other than this.
That’s right folks. Rick’s Cabaret, a well-known gentleman’s club. Maybe this photo was taken in the morning and these two gentleman shown are waiting outside for the club to open?
In addition to Greg from Search Engine Land, others have written about this too including Mike from the Blumenthals blog, Stephen from I’mNotADoctor (I believe he was the first to find this), and Greg’s article was even Sphunn on Sphinn.