Hotel Affiliate Site Hijacking Hotels GMB Listings


Hotel Affiliate site tophotelsnearme.net is currently hijacking hotels Google My Business listings and replacing their official website URL with their own links. I was alerted to this by Craig Harkins and the #StopCrapOnTheMap hashtag that the Local SEO community uses to alert each other of local shenanigans.

 

 

The Hijack

This affiliate site uses “Suggest Edit” in Google Maps to suggest their own URL, a few more account then select the edit as correct and hey presto the edit is approved.

I have been looking though some of the hotels listed on their site and a large chunk are un-verified listings which makes it even easier because the listings owner is not alerted to pending edits.

Hotel Google My Business Listings that have been Hijacked and their website changed - Online Ownership

 

Hijacked Verified Listings

They have even managed to hijack and change verified hotel business listings.

 

Verified hotels google my business listings have their website removed and replaced - Online Ownership

 

Verified listings should be more difficult as the owner account is notified of changes made and to accept or deny the edits. However suggested edits can still be brute forced through with multiple accounts saying the edit is correct.

 

Glaring Vulnerabilities

This just shows how weak and susceptible the Google My Business ecosystem is. The sooner Google starts to trust businesses over users, the sooner some of these vulnerabilities will be closed. It is also a very timely reminder why business must claim and verify their Google Business listings and monitor them.

I have escalated this issue to the GMB team.

 

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