Yahoo Local Swamped With Mapspam?

    September 7, 2007

As time goes by, we’re more and more likely to turn to online resources instead of paper phonebooks.  The reliability of those resources has come into question, however, after the discovery of some florist-related mapspam on Yahoo Local.

Yahoo Local Swamped With Mapspam?
Yahoo Local Swamped With Mapspam?

Credit for the main exposé goes to Mike Blumenthal (though he, in turn, gives nods to several other sources), and Blumenthal notes that some florists “will fabricate an address that is close to the city center (gaining ranking cred), provide a very relevant fabricated business title with City + Florist in the title (gaining more ranking cred) and adding a number of reviews (gaining still more ranking cred) to jump to the top of the local rankings . . .”

This makes honest competitors much less likely to get business from Yahoo Local, which would be frustrating enough.  Some misguided spam-fighting measures appear to have made the situation worse, though, and prevented at least one company from updating its listing.

“After editing the hours, and adding categories for wedding invitations (we now have the largest selection in town), and wedding accessories, an updated listing was created and sent for review,” reports The Bloomery Florist Boutique.  “A few days later, we received a response from Yahoo! Local stating that we did not have a local presence . . .”  The Bloomery then supplies a few pictures of its van and its shop that seem appear to conclusively prove its presence in Butler, Pennsylvania.

And while, to be honest, most of us might not get too worked up over flowers, it’s hard to say how widespread these problems might be in Yahoo Local.  It’s also very hard, it seems, to say what Yahoo is doing about them.  Don’t throw away those phonebooks just yet.