Another week and another report of a restaurants Google Business listing being hijacked. The culprit this time is not by Beyond Menu, although they play a part, but by a restaurant online ordering system and web developers.
The problem was posted in the Google My Business forum as a hijacked listing by Beyond Menu, Here.
The main target, Asian restaurants, but there is more to this then meets the eye.
Targeting Asian Restaurants
Diving into the results which we list later, it would seem that Asian restaurant seem to be the main target for this, my best guess is the language and the offer.
The Offer or Hook
“Our restaurant online ordering system is unique. Other companies will not guarantee you online orders, we will. If you do not get orders, we will not get paid!”
This sounds like a fantastic offer, I get another free website (even though I have one) and I only pay a 5% commission if I get orders.
The Listing Hijack
The hijack part of this comes in, because the current Google My Business listing is claimed and verified by the 3rd party. Sadly too few restaurants have claimed and verified their business listings leaving them easy to 3rd party manipulators.
Once the listing is verified, the new website is added to the google business listing and the actual businesses website is removed. I doubt many restaurant would even notice the change, they don’t have access to the account dashboard and who checks their website link.
The telephone still rings, people can still find me, but all of a sudden I have an increase in online orders coming from Beyond Menu which is used by this 3rd party.
The scam however is the fact that these were my customers already, this company has done nothing else other then to funnel the customers to the new website and ordering online through Beyond Menu integration.
The business is now paying a commission to beyond menu and an additional 5% for the “sales” which were theirs in the first instance.
Running a baclink audit on the main domain shows 33,000 links back to the site. Given the average site they build is 6 pages, there are around 5,500 sites out there.
If Your Restaurant Listing Has Been Hijacked
Your first step is to request ownership of the Google business listing. As in the original reported case, there was no reply and in some Beyond Menu cases, the current owner adds you as a Communications Manager which allows no editorial powers which are required to change the linked website or menu link.
Then To remove the “Order Online” button from your Business Profile on Google Search, Maps or the Assistant, use the opt out form.
Update: You can now Op-Out from having 3rd party menu sites displayed on you restaurants business listing.