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Closed, Says Google, but Shops' Signs Say Open

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NY Times: Many small business owners have recently been complaining that Google Places listed their shops as "closed permanently" when, in fact, they were open. In some cases, the misinformation was posted for weeks, during which time it turned away many potential customers.

Google Places relies on crowdsourcing for information about closed businesses--if enough users report that a business is closed, the site will also report that the business is closed. Some speculate that competitors may be listing other businesses as closed in order to drive up their market share. “I’d say that it was in June that we started to see a big uptick in complaints about this in online forums,” said Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing. “It might be that a number of consultants are now offering services like ‘nuke your competitor’ in Google Places. But it could just be a competitor, acting alone.”

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