Should the Post Office Acknowledge Google Places

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.

Koloa Post Office Kauai Hawaii photo by Linda Sherman

Koloa Post Office

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.

papalani gelato google plus local listing local button

Google Place reached from edit business detail image

What do you think?

About Linda Sherman

International, multicultural marketing pro, Linda brings a distinguished background of international subsidiary CEO/CMO to her Social Marketing expertise. These include CEO Club Med Japan, Barilla Japan and CMO Wal-Mart Japan. Linda Sherman has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The New York Times, Christian Monitor and other leading publications. She devised and implemented an innovative guerrilla-marketing plan for ZIMA in Japan that produced a lasting, profitable success. Linda has hands-on technical skills in building and search optimizing WordPress websites and an influential on-line presence. Linda teaches social marketing for business at the University of Hawaii. Her company, The Courage Group, provides websites, digital film, branding and social marketing strategy and training.

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4 comments
LindaSherman
LindaSherman moderator

For those of you on Google Plus, there is an interesting discussion responding to this article on my wall at: https://plus.google.com/113317921416869474972/posts/QBFBLTGTYkw 

 

I am teaching social media for business at a University of Hawaii extension on Kauai. The administrator for my program had this suggestion: Why couldn't Google accept an EIN or business tax number? Hopefully that ID number is attached to a physical business address and so the simple transmittal of the number to Google would be enough to verify the business address without depending on the post office. 

Tinu
Tinu like.author.displayName 1 Like

I started out in an extended stay motel I was living in. I never claimed to have more than one location, or to be other than what I was. I've seen people do it though and by FAR it's not just the internet marketers. It's all kinds of folks - consultants, network marketers, publications. 

 

 

The reason I never did isn't that I'm some kind of angel, though I do think it's partly an issue of personal integrity. But back when I was young and dumb, I expected that people would and could do their due diligence. It's fairly easy to tell from Google maps if someone's office is a Mailboxes etc. The real issue to me is - can a person I find on the web, location or not, do the work? So I think it would be great for the Post Office to recognize any actual business. But I think the test should be a business license and/or incorporation papers at a specific location. 

LindaSherman
LindaSherman moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Tinu Thank you for sharing your own story @Tinu. I love it. 

 

Your idea to have Google demand a business license and/or incorporation papers at the the specific location is very interesting. That could certainly be the alternative for businesses that have the post office issue of getting mail delivery.

 

Yelp and others have similar issues. Of course there needs to be a realistically efficient way to transmit that business ownership information while maintaining its intergrity. Businesses are registered in states so states (in their various conditions of being broke) would need to support it, wouldn't they? However, state governments should like it because it assists taxation. 

 

We are doing business in a different world today and systems need to first acknowledge the need to address them and adapt appropriately.