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Possible "Masking" of Competitors

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I was contact by two different businesses that are in the same industry and am stumped. I'm hoping someone in this forum can help. 

They were contacted by an individual (via a private number) that said he'd been asked by a local competitor in our region to mask three specific companies that were ranking higher in Google Maps.  He named the company that made the request and the three companies that were masked.  Though this anonymous individual said he did not accept the blackhat request, someone else in our region did.

 

I viewed the listing, using a private tab. The results flash and the offending company is indeed listed on top, along with two of their colleagues.  I clicked to get more listings and the results changed to show the masked businesses on top of the page, then the page flashed again and the listing changed to the favor of the offending company.  I've never seen a Google Maps listing change in this manner.

 

After some research, discovered some articles from 2014 that mentioned security holes that allowed faked listings to be added, but the same article indicated that those security holes had been since closed.  I know Google has been doing a massive modification to Google Adwords and Analytics interfaces and it stands to reason, this is also being done to Google My Business.  Did this open a security hole that is allowing masking of competitors? 

 

Is anyone aware of anything like this?  How do the masked businesses prove that they're victims so that they can submit a formal complaint to Google?

1 Expert replyverified_user

Possible "Masking" of Competitors

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

I never heard about this and never saw such behavior

And I hesitate to ask Google about it as you missed being specifically enough

_________________________________________________________________________
Helmut Geissler, Google My Business Top Contributor   |  my G+ profile

Possible "Masking" of Competitors

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

That's the problem. We need to understand "what" they did so that we can prove the issue in order to report it. 

I've never seen this behavior in Google Maps either.

 

Experts in the Topic
Helmut Geissler