Yes I’m going to pout here but I’m not throwing a tantrum either.
I recently contacted Google My Business (https://www.google.com/business/ and [email protected]) because I had two duplicate listings for Everardo Keeme Photography (EKP) on Google Maps, here and here. A by-product of already having a listing that someone else had created and me creating a listing in Google My Business and not catching it there. So I had two listings on Google Maps that each had positive 5-star reviews, like these from Bruce, Katrina and Kyle
Any small business owner knows that online reviews are so valuable! I didn’t want to lose my reviews, I simply wanted both listings with reviews to be together on the same listing. So I contacted Google with a request to merge those duplicate listings, no biggie, they do that often for other businesses.
Then the nightmare began, Google DELETED my business! Yup, they didn’t merge the duplicate listings they deactivated me, removed the business, black-balled me?
Why? According to Google
“Your business Everardo Keeme Photography isn’t eligible to display on Google Maps per our quality guidelines.”
But why? Because according to Google’s policy you are not allowed to have two businesses share a location. Co-working spaces are increasing in popularity. so what do those businesses do? In this situation, they are supposed to just suck-it-up. Businesses start in co-working spaces for a variety of reasons, like, when a business either can’t afford or doesn’t want their own space. In my case, I never wanted Everardo Keeme Photography to be a home-based business. I started Everardo Keeme Photography back in 2010 working in a co-working office because it was a good business decision. I then moved into Photo Fusion Studio as a co-op member in 2014, became part owner, and now sole owner of the studio in 2017. I still kept the businesses separate though because they are separate businesses.
Hold on a second, aren’t there other businesses sharing spaces but still listed on Google Maps? Why yes, yes there are, but they are not small businesses, they are very large corporations, which Google loves to support. Google doesn’t want to help small businesses.
I wrote my contact back at Google with the following examples.
Google allows businesses to use share and use same address ALL the time!Safeway grocery store https://goo.gl/maps/
GoGfDCSmnbM2 & Starbucks coffee https://goo.gl/maps/ Fc5tApjJi7C2 are at the same address and share the same spaceSafeway grocery store https://goo.gl/maps/ eawQbDo4kqP2 & Starbucks coffee https://goo.gl/maps/ cpUQcU65h8Q2 are at the same address and share the same spaceSafeway and Starbucks are SEPARATE corporations but still use and share the same space and address and are allowed on Google maps. The same goes for banks inside of grocery stores.
Google wrote back saying they still wouldn’t budge on the maps issue but as a consolation prize they would transfer my reviews from EKP to my other business, Photo Fusion Studio (PFS) but here’s the catch:
Kindly remove Everardo Keeme Photography from your account by following these steps :Under “Close or remove this listing,” click Remove listing. You may be asked to sign in to your Google account.Click Delete account to permanently remove the location and all of its data from your account.Once the page are deleted from your account please reply on this email we will escalate it further to our technical team to remove the other pages as well. after that, only one page will go live that is Photo Fusion.
…you must redirect your website (www.everardokeeme.com) to Photo Fusion (www.photofusionstudio.com) website …
Wait what??? Not only did they remove EKP from Google Maps, now they want to me to combine my websites!? But they are two different business models and legally they are seperate businesses and LLC’s
So here was my plead to Google:
Please restore Everardo Keeme Photography and the reviews for that business.Everardo Keeme Photography and Photo Fusion Studio are separate businesses and the websites CANNOT be forwarded (see attached) **This is when I attached copies of LLC filings and bank statement headers from separate banks mind you
Everardo Keeme Photography is a photographer and offers photography services to b2b and b2c clients
Photo Fusion Studio is a rental space for people to rent hourly and daily
Your business isn’t eligible to display on Google Maps per our quality guidelines.
OK so I’m not getting anywhere via email and I found a way to get on the phone with a live person. Perhaps I could explain the situation better over the phone, and beg and plead for help with this. I got on the phone with a ‘supervisor’ at Google, explained my case and was told the same thing. That my business was not eligible to be listed on Google Maps. I responded with the examples of Safeway and Starbucks and the rep said, “Yes they are allowed to”. Try as politely as I might, the supervisor wouldn’t budge. So I asked to speak with his supervisor and here’s where the responses got funny
Google customer service specialist “I cannot transfer you to my manager, I don’t have one”
Really? so you’re the head cheese at Google?
Google customer service specialist “No I cannot transfer you. Besides, they are more strict than me so they would not help you”
So here’s the point where I just got snarky back
Me, “So you’re telling me that Google will allow large corporations to share space and have multiple listings on Google Maps? Why do you hate small business?”
Google customer service specialist “No we don’t love all corporations. That’s why we don’t allow Amazon to list on Google Maps. It would be a conflict of interest”
Me “Huh? Amazon doesn’t have storefronts, they don’t NEED a Google Maps listing. They have warehouses that customers are not allowed in”
Google customer service specialist “Yes, that’s correct, we don’t allow Amazon on Google Maps”
Me “So why are large corporations like Starbucks, US Bank, Bank of America, Kroger, Safeway and others allowed to share space and have listings on Google Maps with the same address?”
Google customer service specialist “Because they are allowed to.”
OK so now there’s just a language barrier or I’m being mocked. So I stated that his example wasn’t even relevant and meanwhile found more examples of grocery stores, banks, coffee shops, and dozen of other examples of businesses sharing spaces and still allowed to list on Google Maps.
We went back and forth for a while more until we both just kept saying to each other “You’re not listening to me” and then…….the Google customer service specialist hung up on me! To be fair, we were just going in circles and both us of raising our voices so it’s not like it was going to get resolved on this call. But damn, tyring to call Google and get a real person on the phone is tough enough.
Now I kind of feel like that restaurant owner who fought back on Yelp for getting fake reviews. That restaurant tried to fight it, Yelp wouldn’t remove the fake reviews, so instead the restaurant just asked everyone to leave them 1-star reviews. OK so it’s not really the same but now what do I do? So there you have it. Everardo Keeme Photography is no longer allowed on Google Maps. But yes I’m still open for business and you can find me on Bing 😛
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