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Vulnerable Addicts at The Mercy Of Rehab Spam in Google

Vulnerable addicts are being left at the mercy of increased Rehab Spam in the UK. This rehab spam comes in the form of lead gen rehab listings where the rehabilitation centre displayed is not an actual treatment centre, rather a referrer to a rehab clinic which may or may not be registered with the Care Quality Commission.

The next from of rehab spam is from “home based” rehab referrer centres, sounds scary, it is. These new types of treatment businesses will help you detox, receive treatment at home from a registered practitioner. In this case the business does not need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission only the registered practitioner that provides the home based “supervised detox”.

Even non spam listing on Google when checked via the Care Quality Commissions Website could make a user think twice about using their service, would a vulnerable addict be of sound mind in the time of crisis to check their chosen providers results?

Spam is not new to Google and they have taken large steps in combating this in the US, but the time has come to step up their game in the UK. Difficult? – not really and I provide some easy to implement ideas for the Google Spam Team reading this, but firstly lets take a look at some of this rehab spam, how to spot it and avoid.

Note: All spam listings have been escalated to the Google Team as of 3rd Sept 2019


Rehab Spam Business Listings

The majority of rehab spam are from referrers or lead gen rehab businesses.


Rehab Spam Business Listings in Google - Online Ownership


All of the above locations are lead gen spam listings and they will recommend the patient to a treatment centre for a commission of course.


Why is this Spam?

Google My Business Guidelines State:

  1. In order to qualify for a Google My Business listing, a business must make in-person contact with customers during its stated hours. – In this case these businesses are not at these locations and a customer can not find help at the address.
  2. Your name should reflect your business’ real-world name, as used consistently on your shop front, website, stationery and as known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online. – Most rehab listings stuff their names with keywords for better visibility.

In the above listings for Which Rehab their website uses a known virtual office address that I report at least twice a year to Google – Kemp House, City Rd, London EC1V 2NX


Rehab Spam Listings in Google - Online Ownership


Google My Business guidelines again state >> If your business rents a temporary, “virtual” office at a different address from your primary business, do not create a page for that location unless it is staffed during your normal business hours by your business staff.


Checking Rehab Spam

Some simple steps can keep you safe from rehab spammers and scammers.


1. Check Street View Image

Check the street view image – a rehabilitation centre will not be in an industrial estate and check for signage outside the property – if you cant see it, leave it!


Checking for Rehab Map Spam in Google - Online Ownership


2. Check Address with Care Quality Commission

Search for the postcode via the Care Quality Commission Site:


Check for Rehab via Care Quality Commission - Online Ownership


Their name as their listing should appear within the first few results – if not listed on 1st page then they are not a provider, leave it!


3. Check their Rating

If you have confirmed that they do exist, do yourself or your loved one a favour – check their rating!


Check Rehab Evaluation via CQC - Online Ownership


The good thing is this rehab clinic is registered but it has not been evaluated yet and their sister treatment centre requires improvement.


4. Ask your GP

I asked the care quality commission about spam on Google and how a vulnerable addict could be safe when searching online:

  1. Search for postcode listed
  2. If in doubt ask your GP


Google My Business Spam Team

Some simple steps for you that already exist within the product.

  • Rehabilitation Centre Category to be marked as a spam vertical – listing auto suspends and user has to contact business support for extra checks
  • User has to provide a link to their Care Quality Commission listing – exact name would also be good


Why not take user safety to the next level:

  • Link to their CQC page to be displayed in listing – like restaurant menus
  • Speak to the CQC and pull through their evaluation results and display in KP


Lets do this for some of the most vulnerable people in society!

Online Ownership provides a Google My Business Consulting Service. If you are a legitimate business trying to compete in a spam filled world, give us a call for a no obligation chat.

You can also report spam business listings direct to the GMB spam team.

Stay Safe Online!