http://blumenthals.com/blog/2009/05/28/google-maps-guidelines-what-has-changed/ I just came across this on my Twitter account, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about these new changes to Google Maps! In fact if you could have been in the room when I read this article, you would have had to plug your ears due to my screaming and whooping!

Now if you haven’t had the unpleasure ( is that a word) of having a business, a brand, a reputation, something that you have put your life’s work into, maybe you won’t be as excited as me and other’s like me. This is the best news for small business, since Google began!

Let me recap it…life for me and thousands of other small business owners like me, had only one way to compete with large competitors, it was called an advertising budget. When we began, we had one, but it was small.  What can I say..smalll business, small ad budget.  Then came Google with their unique algorithms ( don’t ask me to explain, as I have no idea, how it works  cuz that is their job) but suddenly, people started becoming aware of our small family business across the world! How can you argue with a premise like that?

Until recently, it has worked amazing! I have been one of their biggest fans, since my girlfriend in California sent me a ” hey join this unknown gmail thing” when I  asked her why,  she said, because my brother works there and it is cool! I trust her, so I accepted her invitation to join gmail.

I’ve never been disappointed in Google until recently…  I really even hate saying that out loud.  But this new move by Google makes me so happy that they have found a solution to the problem that exists out there in Google maps land that I had to share it!  And thanks to the twitter buddy who shared it with me!

You can read the article above, and I won’t waste your time recapping it, but  I will share with you how it will impact me  and other small business owners like me immediately and why I am excited.

I have recently been a target of a competitor, and I am not alone in this quest, actually it has been happening for quite a while.  I think the economic downturn has helped all of us analyze our business plans, so we have been  looking at things we didn’t normally look at.  Recently,  I decided to Google my company name, and boy was I surprised!  I spent most of one evening looking well into the search results, maybe 40 or more  pages into the Google search results and I’m talking about spending the most of one evening looking at the results.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered tons of my business listings, with bogus phone numbers, bogus addresses, bad information, etc.. I just couldn’t figure out how this happened.  To make the long story shorter, let’s just say that I found out that a few competitors were going onto Google maps ( tech savvy ) folks, and changing business listings, and redirecting business to themselves with bogus numbers, websites and address listings.  One of my competitors even went into Safeway Stores listing and used the Safeway address ( so she could have a legitimate address in my city ) and changed their name to hers and the phone number to hers! Can you believe it!?  So she suddenly looks legitimate because she is in Kirkland, and she does have a business by the name she is using and the phone works.  This new effort by Google Maps is going to fix many of the problems and help the with the  internet integrity issues and I am so excited!

Google gets a HUGE applause from me and I am sure small business owners across this country and the world! I can tell you that Google has been the only person to act on the problem.  I know so many small business owners who have spent  tens of thousands of dollars in Attorney fees , sent numerous compaints to the State Attorney Generals, contacted state and local officials, even the local police.  Not one thing has happened until TODAY!  Google deserves a BIG APPLAUSE for stepping up to the plate to be the first to take a stand on the problem.

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