August 10, 2022
Google Maps fake listings

Google Maps Fake Listings Crackdown Continues

The Google Maps fake listings crackdown continues to identify bad actors on the platform, reducing the number of fraudulent listings by 70 percent…

Google released new data detailing its fight against Google Maps fake listings. The search engine states it continues to work hard to identify fraudulent listings on its services.

Google Maps Fake Listings Policing Reducing Fakes

The search giant claims it’s fight now results in a 70 percent reduction in fakes, from its previous all-time high, which occurred in June 2015.

The company understands rampant abuse exists across Maps, Google My Business, and search. “Unfortunately, some actors attempt to abuse this service to register fake listings in order to defraud legitimate business owners, or to charge exorbitant service fees for services. Over a year ago, we teamed up with the University of California, San Diego to research the actors behind fake listings, in order to improve our products and keep our users safe,” Doug Grundman, Maps Anti-Abuse, and Kurt Thomas, Security & Anti-Abuse Research, explain.

In a joint effort with the University of California, San Diego, Google commissioned a study to help improve its policing efforts. About 2 out of 5 fake listings pose as local locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, and other trades. After identifying fakes, the search giant removes such listings, only for fraudsters to recreate new ones.

Another study data point reveals about 1 out of 10 listings actually belongs to legitimate businesses, which bad actors claim unlawful ownership. Here’s how Google combats fake Maps listing, quoted directly from its official blog:

  • We detect and disable 85% of fake listings before they even appear on Google Maps.
  • We’ve reduced the number of abusive listings by 70% from its peak back in June 2015.
  • We’ve also reduced the number of impressions to abusive listings by 70%.

Google just released a similar items mobile images schema for developers and webmasters. The search engine also introduced a new “Submit URL to Google” option for direct index inclusion.

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