Google Maps announced that you could now find Holiday Lets on Google Maps (they have been working on this since 2017). What is particularly scary about these revenue spam listings is that there is no way to police them, either through “Suggest Edit” or via the Google My Business Spam report.
— Tim Capper (@GuideTwit) 29 March 2019
You cant create these types of listing via Google My Business because holiday lets are still listed as Ineligible in Google My Business guidelines:
“Rental or for-sale properties, such as holiday homes, show homes or vacant apartments. Sales or leasing offices, however, are eligible for verification”
So what the heck is going on here?
Holiday Let Revenue Spam Listings
These listings are created by Google Maps via OTA (Online Travel Agents) APIs and the only way to Book them is via an OTA – who happens to pay for the privilege via Hotel Ads.
Because these are not legitimate business the first thing you will notice is the glaringly obvious “Name Spam” – or should we just call it what it is, a “Product Description”
These “names” are how they have been listed within the OTA site which is fed direct to Google Maps.
The above studio apartment even has a Spanish tel number listed!
These are all unclaimed, unverified listings because these are ineligible within the Google My Business product. There are reports that owners who have attempted to claim the listing gets suspended via GMB, however they are API’d back into the system to appear once again as these unclaimed revenue listings.
Two Fingered Salute to the Hospitality Industry
Its no secret my disdain for how Google Exploits the Hospitality Industry and how they throttle this industries ability to market their businesses via Google Maps and Google My Business products.
By allowing these holiday let listings to exist is another slap in the face of the hospitality industry that is squeezed for every penny by Google and OTAs. Its equally abhorrent to all other business who have to follow guidelines in listing their business on Google Maps.
These holiday lets are unregulated, don’t pay business rates, possible pay tax on the revenue and push up local housing costs. Hundreds of cities around the world have brought in short term let laws to regulate holidays lets (London allows 90 nights) and airbnb works with local authorities now to list these accordingly. Google Maps on the other hand just throws these up and local laws be damned … its all about the money!
Lets call this what its is – Revenue Spam created by Google Maps for Google Ads.