Google MapSpam in the Legal Marketing Community

Google MapSpam has been around for awhile. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s manipulating Google local (maps) listings by adding fake information about your company, often including made-up addresses to give you more exposure.

Mike Blumenthal provides a great example on how this happens in the legal community regarding a recent train accident catastrophe in Chatsworth, California which took 25 lives.

He targets one personal injury firm doing some MapSpamming, and there are others who have done similar things through Google’s paid search platform. Google up “Chatsworth train accident attorney” (without the quotes) and you’ll see what I mean.

I understand that personal injury attorneys need to be aggressive, but this is a bit much.

Back in January 2008, I wrote a piece for Search Engine Guide on the basics of utilizing local search. It personalizes you and gets your word out, it lets people rate you, and helps you to establish a brand without resorting to ambulance-chasing tactics.

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6 Responses to Google MapSpam in the Legal Marketing Community

  1. Hi Paul-

    To read a dissenting decision…..these folks seem proud that lawyers are savvy enough to play this marketing space and use it as proof that lawyers are not luddites.

    Mike

  2. Julie Kosbab says:

    It’s also California. For whatever reason, the LA area is a hotbed of spam. Everyone does it, so everyone else decides they have to do it. I’m convinced if Google dropped all spam from LA, there would be no results.

  3. Paul Jahn says:

    Thanks Mike and Jooolie… and Jooolie, you may be right on regarding that LA thing.

  4. […] So, we’re updating her Google Maps and Yahoo Local profiles to make sure we include Madison in the mix. We could, but will not do the Google MapSpam thing because people who do that suck. […]

  5. Mapspam most definitely takes its “highest form” in LA and seems to get pushed there ahead of most other geographies.

    Google cleaned up the lawyer and plastic surgery mapspam there but it has returned and panzermike, who was banned by Google, seems to seeking redemption by rolling over on the lot of them.

    I wonder if it is just the general competitive & ethical climate that leads to the situation be more obvious there or whether it is precipitated by one or two less than principled search marketers who continue to make money from it and are playing the lawyers for fools.

    Regardless as Julie points out, its like steroids in the bike racing arena or nuclear bombs in diplomacy, once one has it, they all need it and it is very difficult to stand down.

    Google’s obvious policy of only removing blatant & publicly highlighted listings as opposed to striving for accuracy in local listings, adds to the problem.

    Mike

  6. Paul Jahn says:

    Thanks Mike! Jooolie, you may or may not share this belief… in the legal field, I’m guessing a lot of LA MapSpam comes from aggressive sales reps who know just enough about search to be dangerous. Three years ago (probably even today) legal sites came out with ridiculous footer on every page.

    Picture a footer in tiny font that reads “XYZ firm accepts clients in Anaheim, Bakersfield, Burbank,” and 100 other suburbs.

    It was really fugly and I’m guessing LA legal MapSpam is a continuation of that.

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