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Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goods

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# 1
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After a few years of a clients GMB page being suspended and reinstated, multiple times, we are now being told something that makes no logical sense at all.

 

The nutshell is this. The specialist team is stating that any company that sells guns in a storefront or sells tobacco, alcohol, fireworks, or other regulated goods (they mentioned strip clubs too) Are NOT allowed to be on Google Maps. As such, eventually, they will all end up being removed from Google Maps.

 

We are being told that companies get away with placement by verifying with a pin code, but once they are reported then the specialist team removes them from Maps. And, that Google is actively seeking to remove all businesses like this from maps.

 

Here is what makes no sense.

 

1. The GMB G+ page does not encourage the sale of guns, it is an information/entertainment page only.

2. I asked if we removed the website URL on the GMB listing if this would resolve the issue, I was told no, they sell guns at the physical location, so they do not qualify.

3. All posts, comments and related comments are moderated painstakingly to ensure no links or mentions of buying firearms are made.

4. Does this mean that a gas station is not eligible? They sell tobacco and liquor.

5. We were encouraged to report other local locations (competitors), so they can remove them from maps.

6. We were told that the content on the G+ page was not in violation of guidelines. It was the business type "Gun Shop".

 

The case ID is 1-9232000010765 for anyone that can elevate this to someone.

 

Below is the final response from GMB.

 

Thank you for contacting Google My Business.
This email is in regards to the Business page for “Just Guns”. https://goo.gl/SZ04WJ


As per our conversation and as communicated to you earlier through emails by the last representative, the Business is not eligible to be on Google maps as all those Business that include posts, comments or photos that promote the sale of pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goods and services do not qualify for having a local listing.


Please note that we do not allow contents that promote regulated goods or services on Google+ as per Google My Business Policy. You can also go through the link for more information and understanding on "User Content and Conduct Policy" which shows about promoting regulated goods and services is a violation to the Google policy. You can also check out our quality guidelines at this link to see what types of businesses we're looking for on Google Maps.


Also, if there are any Business listings with the same category/same Business type, we would also be taking them down by the time they are reviewed as those businesses would also not be eligible for Google Maps.

 

While I understand that this can be frustrating, we want to make sure that your business identity is accurately represented on Google, for which I suggest you to have a brand page created for the same.

 

2016-03-24_11-46-54.png

 

 

Ben Fisher, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

[ Edited ]
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# 2
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Hi @Ben F

 

I can ask my CM to double check this, but i just did a quick search and there are 000's of Gun  Shops

 

Will let you know when I hear back, probably after Easter now



Tim Capper, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 3
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Hi @Ben F

 

 

Just heard back

 

Could you please set your Audience and then file an appeal please.

 

screencapture (28).png



Tim Capper, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Tim operates a bespoke Local SEO Consultancy in the UK, Online Ownership

Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 4
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@Tim Capper oh yea this was done a long time ago ;) 

 

2016-03-24_13-51-05.png

Ben Fisher, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 5
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Great.

File an appeal and we are trying to get some better clarification on the issue also.



Tim Capper, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

[ Edited ]
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# 6
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Thanks so much @Tim Capper for escalating.

 

I asked Ben to post here so I could escalate for him, but I was tied up and you beat me to it.

 

One thing Ben said to me which I think has validity...  If Google maps is here in part to help people find local businesses with physical locations in their city...  If someone is searching for a liquor store, tobacco store or gun store and Bing/Yahoo show 10 businesses in that city, but Google shows the user zero local results, is that a good search experience? (If that's what the user was searching for?)

Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 7
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Oh and @Ben F  I just put my 2 cents into the escalation as well.  Basically saying what I said above.

 

Our CM is double checking with the policy team.

Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 8
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Hi @Linda Buquet

 

This is the discombobulation that we are waiting for clarification on.

 

I understand the Audience restriction within G+ but it cannot be exported to a Local business, because the Audience restriction is not filtered or used in Maps.

 

I just logged in with my daughters account ( 16yrs old ) and everything is available on Maps, not that I thought it would be empty, but i had to test : )

 

The kicker, is on liquor stores, there are even Menu item links in the maps display.

 

I don't see how it can be applicable to a business page when it is not applicable in Maps.

 

Need clarification

 

 

 

 



Tim Capper, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Tim operates a bespoke Local SEO Consultancy in the UK, Online Ownership

Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 9
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The real issue at hand here is not the age restriction, it is the fact that someone somewhere, made a human decision to say that having a gun store on maps is basically immoral. And, my client should suffer for it. And, we were encouraged to report other gun stores...

Isn't it Google's responsibility to help people find places of business, no matter what they do, as long as it is a legal business.

The company also, put a huge amount of effort into their G+ page and did not violate any guidelines, I would think that this would be a good thing. #frustrated

Thanks so much Tim and Linda :)
Ben Fisher, Google My Business Top Contributor
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Re: Google's Stance on pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, weapons, or other regulated goo

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# 10
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I just wanted to chime in. I have a client who is a legal medical marijuana doctor in California and although everything she does with her business is completely legal, she is no longer allowed to advertise in AdWords as of last year. They basically made it so anything related to her industry is not allowed. So I can safely say that Google won't be basing all their policies and decisions around whether or not what a business does is legal or not (apples vs oranges).

Joy Hawkins, Google My Business Top Contributor
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