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Unethical Business Practices using Google Maps API

Well friends, it’s like Gulliver’s Travels, and I happened to be walking in  Gulliver’s footsteps this past week on the net Maps, Big Business with a huge hole in the bottom.

Before I digg into this one, some standard Internet practices are a must out on the net, with so much Spam and Malware present today. If that does not take up enough time, illegitimate Hackers and Spamers can and will.   Most of know we should never open an email no matter it being placed in inbox or junk folder, unless we know the person, or have requested information from that person. For those who are new to the net and or didn’t know, this basic tip is very important, to others it could be profound.

Most common sites with these debilitating bugs;

  • adult
  • gambling
  • porn sites that many contain these system bugs that will take your computer down in a matter of minutes, especially if your not running some kind of anti-virus and or spy-ware.

CPU can slow down your P/C just the same;

Not having the proper filters intact such as MySpace.   Similar to contain same viscous system bugs that can lock your computer down, MySpace can cause your computer’s CPU to skyrocket, which would appear the same. CPU (Computer Processor Usage) can be found in your Windows Task Manager, hitting Alt, Control, and Delete simultaneously. Anything over 3%, you had better see what is open, and start shutting down programs open, which will cause your computer to operate much slower. Thinking MySpace uses a considerable amount of CPU for one’s desktop. Yes, I have  a MySpace account, but rarely visit it just because of this ongoing problem, even though I have quite the Ram and Disk space.

Basic Do’s and Don’ts;

Having a Google account for several years now, Google has taken many steps to insure everyone’s account is safe and secure, spending untold dollars behind the scenes doing so, making Google that much more respected in the Online Community. Always reminding googlers never giving your login information and user passwords out.  If known Spammers and Hackers can have a hay-day with your accounts. Either a Google account, email address, web site, or private banking information. The information thus far given is pretty redundant, and I apologize, but leads us to the other avenue of dishonesty I’ve discovered.

Google Map Listing;

Having a Google account also allows a business owner to have free listing on Google Maps. Wow, how great is that?! Free advertising? I’ll take it! When someone types in a relevant keyword associated with City and State’s abbreviation, Google Map pops up for that particular town. Normally 7-10 businesses are listed in alphabetically right of the Map. It’s Free, so why Not?!

Google gives Special API for Map Listing Companies;

Also knowing Google is not the only entity having the ability to change a companies information on Google Maps, Google allows a selected few authorized internet companies doing this for them, having a Google Map API.  Having this special authorization, allows a selected Internet company to promote building Google Map Listings for any and all companies on the web. I confirmed this with a second Local Search Company who called me today, asking them if they could change my map listing without user names & passwords, which they concurred, but flat out said they would not “Hack a Map Listing” in hopes of gaining a new customer.

Protecting the Public;

The chief reason for this article is not out of despise or hatred what a company has done to me, but warn the general public of a small number of dishonest heathens that still exist in our near perfect Internet world we live. If nothing is said, these no-good for nothings will still lurk on unsuspecting victims, and also not getting their hands slapped by our all time favorite search engine, Google.

Map Listing has been Hacked;

Knowing a single Map Listing is not very important to a large number, but is information of any particular company should not be changed unless proper authorization has been given. If it gets changed without prior approval, the term we all are too familiar with is Hacking. In this case Hacking, for business gain was the most likely scenario. On Friday February 27, 2010 I recieve a call from Local Spot Listing, David Chang is calling.  On the phone for over an hour, getting time for dinner, I asked for him to call back next week.  Monday morning, David calling me, asking for a credit card. Holding off, listening, still not budging, needing to check company out, still no sale. Tuesday same thing. Wednesday morning same ol’ song and dance. Thursday March 4th.  a call from David stating that my Map is not even close to being right! What? Wrong url, Wrong phone #, Wrong suffix with Company name, he was very quick to mention he could fix it all, for price mentioned $329.00 for 5 Map Listings in 5 different towns, $625.00 for 10.

Google has strict guidelines;

For having only 1 Map listing for a company in his or her’s home town. Knowing this, any company that claims they can get you listed in multiple towns is dishonest and in my view, a HACKER/SPAMMER as Matt Cutts, senior Google engineer  explains in video. Also explains Google has ways of finding when and who made any changes, which should have David and Local Spot Listings shaking in their boots.

Another senior comment;

If you have made to the top of Google, you have to be aware that hackers target highly ranked sites to bring them down – or to spread malware since they know you will get lots of traffic – at least, you will until your website becomes publicly known for installing malware and people stop coming.  You need security and privacy for you and your visitors.

Imagine, working so hard to get top rankings in Google and other major search engines only to come to a  hacker’ because you have made it easy for them to plant their malicious programs in your site. Be smart! If needed, hire professionals to check your website’s security. Don’t let your site get hacked and infect your customer or lose your rankings due to reports of suspicious activity in your name.

We want our users to feel safe when they search the web, and we’re continuously working to identify dangerous pages and to increase protection for our users. Google uses automatic algorithms and user feedback to compile lists of sites that may be dangerous.

Little does David know;

My Map Listing was not hacked the first day he called on 02/26/10. viewing it that very day. Have no proof David or his company hacked my Map Listing, but seems very coincidental_, that a Map Listing is:

1) Free, and

2) Suddenly multiple problems, an unsuspecting business owner may/would jump to the company that could fix it very quickly, and for multiple towns. A Snake in the Grass! David still contends it is Ok to purchase mulitple Fictitious PO Boxes for Fictitious addresses, stating they don’t mind doing so, and would not be in profit until several months later. BS! when PO Boxes only cost $30.00 a month. Would be interesting to see how many clients have PO Boxes, and how many have multiple Map Listings for 1 business location. :?:

3) After making this same post Thursday night to Google’s Map Help Forum, my url is now changed to correct listing. I don’t know What to think. My only hope is that Matt Cutt’s department finds and investigates Local Spot Listings with any and all of their so called 1900 Map Customers, making sure everything is above board.

4) These type companies have the integrate and authority to go in and change any Map Listing they choose, as stated above.

Therefore, my conclusion is “If it looks like Spam, and then raises it’s ugly head smelling like Spam, it probably has the internals of the dreaded meat”.

Who ever is responsible is Not only a Hacker, but Con Artist

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