Google Bans UPS Store Locations for Google Maps Listings

The UPS Store

I knew this was coming at some point, and perhaps we all knew that Google has been starting to crack down on local businesses who have their Google Maps listing using a UPS Store as their location. Now I have what I would call official notification from Google that this is not just a policy but something they’re starting to enforce: Google has rejected a new local business listing that has their address set up at a UPS Store.

This local company is based in Tucson Arizona, and does business nationwide, but only online. The whole entire business model is based on visibility from their website and the owners of the business work from their home. Customers do not come to their location.

Google Places for Business

This local business owner set up a Google Plus account, verified Google Authorship, and set up the Google Local / Google Maps listing. Going through the steps that Google provides for entering the data into your business listing on Google Maps, the business owner entered his business address, which they’ve been using for years: the local UPS store, with a suite number. After all, it’s their official business address, registered with the State, and they receive all their mail there. No harm, right?

Wrong.

Google has decided that this legitimate local business is not allowed to be listed in Google maps. Here’s the letter this local business received from Google, after signing up for a Google Places for Business listing. The business owner:

Entered all the requested data
Went through the verification process and requested a postcard.
Waited two weeks.
The postcard never showed up.
Requested another postcard.
The postcard never showed up.
Filled out the form saying they never got a postcard.

Shortly thereafter, the business owner got the following email, which he forwarded to me:

From: local-help@google.com
Date: March 25, 2013 3:46:40 PM MST
To: XXXXX@XXXXXXXXX.com
Subject: RE: [8-XXXXXXXXXXXXXX] Google Places for Business Help

Hey,

Thanks for contacting the Google+ Local Team. We’ve looked at your account and it looks like your business is not eligible for display on Google Maps per our quality guidelines.

Specifically, do not create a listing or place your pin marker at a location where the business does not physically exist. P.O. Boxes are not considered accurate physical locations.

Check out our quality guidelines at this link to see what types of businesses we’re looking for on Google Maps: http://www.google.com/support/places/bin/answer.py?answer=107528

Thanks for your understanding. If you have any further questions or concerns I’d be happy to help.

Have a Good One,

Bruce
The Google+ Local Team

So, why, Google–do you let someone go through the entire Google Places for Business listing process, wait two weeks for verification, receive no postcard, and then tell the business owner, nearly a month later, that their business is not eligible for listing in Google Places for Business?

I’m sorry, that’s just flat out wrong. Google should not let someone sign up without any warning whatsoever that the location they entered includes an address that may not be accepted. It’s pretty simple to deal with this. If someone enters an address with a suite number or a pound sign, display a warning and a link to the policy.

I realize that there’s all sorts of businesses already listed in Google Maps with a local UPS Store as their address:

UPS Store Fort Lauderdale

In the screen capture above, I picked a random UPS Store location, in Fort Lauderdale Florida. And, guess what? There are 19 local businesses in Google Maps listed. All use this same address as their location. And they’re listed in Google Places for Business, Google Maps, with no issues whatsoever.

How hypocritical is this policy? Seriously, Google. If you’re going to ban businesses from using a UPS Store as their business address, then you absolutely must do this across the board, for all UPS Store locations–ban them all.

Comments

  1. Fat Lester (real name: Peter Egan) says

    What I’d like to know is how they’ll handle local businesses who transact primarily online, but maintain a local presence, even if the bulk of the company’s inventory is stored elsewhere.

  2. Fat Lester (real name: Peter Egan) says

    What I’d really like to know is how they’ll handle a company that does maintain a local presence, but whose transactions primarily take place online, with the local presence accounting for a small portion of overall revenue.

  3. says

    Hi Bill,

    This is bad news, but not unexpected. Unfortunately for online businesses and bloggers, Google IS likely to ban them across the board. They just haven’t gotten around to all of them – YET!

    Savvy commercial business owners should be offering virtual office space to online businesses and bloggers. We would gladly rent a business location. Someone in Dallas should be offering us what we need right now. Anyone with a large commercial space could make this happen.

  4. says

    An ecommerce store that ships products themselves COULD use their warehouse address, but then they’re identifying the location of the inventory and making it a target. I wonder how many realize that the majority of ecommerce sellers do NOT have warehouses because they use drop-shippers? They have no address to map.

    I strongly recommend against using your home address. There have been death threats against prominent bloggers in the past, and depending on where you live that could get you in hot water for running a business in a residential neighborhood (even though obviously no one is visiting your business).

    The control grid keeps tightening, but the wise will find ways to fly under the radar. They need to figure out a way to get a mailing address from an existing business, commercial property, or strip mall. That is what wealthy business owners do.

    Another option is to set up trust as a legal entity and have the trust manager provide a business address, tax ID number, and banking account in the trust’s name. Eventually some who create trusts are going to realize the unmet demand for their services. The most detail I’ve seen on this concept is in Grant Hall’s Privacy Crisis ebook.

  5. Phil Richards says

    I was disappointed when I read this as it appears that even Google is now conspiring against small business owners and online business when they need all the breaks they can get.

    Running a business offline or online is really hard work and the guys at Google local need to realize this. I can see a whole raft of virtual addresses being made available to rent similar to shared office spaces which can provide you a mailing address.

    Another option would be to use your accountants premises.