Google has created a public interface for Google Places called Google Plus Local listings. These Google Plus Local listings are being integrated with the scoring systems of Google’s recent purchases of Zagat and Frommers. Local search was important when it was just Google Places. Now these local search markers are even more important. Eventually, the Google Plus Local listing will tie to that business’ Google Plus business page.
I applaud Google for requiring the receipt of a post card at a physical address in order to verify the owner has a real world brick and mortar location for their operations in order to be able to claim their Google Place online. We understand that Google needs to combat the internet marketers working out of basements attempting to appear as if they have locations all over the country.
Here is the real world problem.
The U.S. Post Office is not willing to deliver to every actual business address.
I have two clients who have been told by their local Post Office that they must receive their mail in a USPS box because it is inconvenient for them to make physical delivery.
I certainly do wish the U.S. Post Office were in better financial shape. I am part of the system of doing business on-line that is hurting them. I regret this because I love them when they deliver packages. I especially love USPS flat-rate packages. I want them to stick around.
There is an issue though when my clients who have legitimate office locations, with clients visiting them there, cannot verify their Google Local Place.
One of my clients is a non-profit child care organization in Sullivan County New York. The USPS makes them pick up their mail at a Post Office box in another city. Their mailing address is in a different zipcode than their office!
Another client has a legitimate non-residential acupuncture facility near the Koloa Post Office in Old Koloa Town on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The U.S. Post Office there refuses to deliver on the grounds that her Old Koloa Town facility is too close to the Post Office! So they force her to take her mail at a Post Office Box.
In case, you don’t know where to find Google Plus Local listings, you get to them through Google search, or from within Google Plus by clicking on the Local button on the left of your Google Plus dashboard illustrated below. When you click on that button it will give you recommended places for your area. You can also put in a specific location and get a Google Plus local listing result. If you then click on “Edit business details” you are taken to the Google Place for this business.
If you are the business owner that has set up this Google Place, of course you can also reach it and manage it directly from the Google account you set it up with. As with your Facebook Brand Page set up, I recommend that this be an account that you have control over. Given the importance of Google Plus, and other platforms connected to this business Google account such as YouTube, the choice of Google account for setting up a Google Place is not a trivial matter.
What do you think?