When Google Makes a Mistake
What do you do when Google is wrong? This is a question that has plagued one man in Northern British Columbia for over two years.
On June 9, CBC Daybreak North aired a story about Pete Stoner, who owns a ranch in Northern British Columbia. For the past few years, Stoner has had hundreds of people show up at his front door looking to hike and enjoy beautiful Fort George Canyon Provincial Park.
The problem is that Stoner’s property is not, as Google Maps suggests, the entrance to the park. In fact, were the hikers to try and enter through Stoner’s property, they would be met with a cliff and river blocking them from their destination.
Over the years, Stoner has made several attempts to contact Google and have the issue resolved. Unfortunately, Google Maps never responded to any of Mr. Stoner’s complaints. Google’s contact page only offers a mailing address and no direct phone number.
Why Did This Happen?
Why would Google Maps direct eager hikers to a private residence rather than the actual park entrance? The quickest answer is that they are not. Google does a lot of its mapping using algorithms. Google creates a “listing” for a business or a place using data it pulls from the web, as well as, their own research.
When a business or place does not have a traditional address, Google’s algorithms will sometimes pull in the address of the next nearest location.
In the case of Pete Stoner and his ranch, Google’s algorithms had a much more annoying consequence than is the norm.
Unfortunately, improper Google listings are more common than one would think – especially in rural areas without traditional street addresses. Google is trying to map the entire planet, and is working with a lot of data at once.
If Google Is Wrong, How Do You Fix It?
On each Google support pages, they suggest to “report a problem” if you notice something is wrong with a map listing. A user can also “suggest an edit” to a listing, but Google needs to receive at least a few of the same suggestions before they will implement them.
For Stoner, however, his complaints seemed to go nowhere. What does an individual do, if they have no common recourse for dealing with Google?
When we came across this article, as an agency, we knew what the solution was. We deal with Google Maps and Google My Business on a near daily basis.
In this particular case, the easiest course of action would have been for BC Parks to “claim” the Fort George Provincial Park map listing.
After the listing has been claimed, the owner can either verify by phone or have a post card sent to the location. Once that has been done, you can update the address and move the pin marker.
Thankfully for Pete Stoner, the CBC Daybreak North story brought a lot of attention to his plight and the map error was fixed within the day.
As a Google Partner and Digital Marketing Agency, we deal with Google every day. We help solve similar situations for the businesses that we work with. If you have are having a problem with a Google listing that is negatively affecting your life, drop us a line. We may be able to help you problem solve.