Healthy businesses across the country recently have been listed as closed on Google Places — sometimes for hours, other times for weeks — when in fact, they’re alive and kicking, reports The New York Times.
The problem results from the crowd-sourced feature that lets regular people indicate if a business is closed, which normally would be a good way to keep the service accurate in case a business doesn’t update its listing when it closes.
But what if competitor does does it out of spite?
A typical Google Places listing includes things like the business address, description and reviews but also includes an area where people can “Report a Problem” and list the business as permanently closed. If enough people click on it, Google labels the the business “reportedly closed” and later, after a review by Google, “permanently closed.” A business owner or customers can click on a button marked “not true,” which appears by all “reportedly closed” and “permanently closed” listings. Sometimes a business will “open” shortly thereafter, but some business owners say the button doesn’t work, or that it takes a week to have any effect.
Google says it’s working on changes which will be adopted in coming days to prevent malicious or incorrect labeling.
Read more at The New York Times.