Uppereast Responds to ‘Mapspam’ Post

I was contacted in email by the CEO of Uppereast.com Steve Georghakis who took exception to my post and characterization of his site’s appearance on Google as “spam.” I offered him the opportunity to write a post explaining the situation and offering his perspective. Instead, he gave me permission to excerpt part of his email.

Here’s the explanatory chunk of the email:

We did nothing inappropriate.  Google is the company controlling the way their data is displayed.  We have been a successful hyperlocal company for quite some time and have many revenue streams.  We do leverage affiliate relationships where is makes sense, as I believe pay-for-performance relationships are appropriate.  We run a clean, upstanding business and literally have hundreds of local advertising customers that love us.  Our site traffic from end users has increased steadily and we remain the most trusted source of hyperlocal business and local living information for the Upper East Side available anywhere.  We literally have people that walk the streets and manage the data.  This costs me money, but it’s worth it to our end users.  I had viewed Google’s Local Maps display of our information as beneficial to end users, because I know our data is more accurate than the data that is typically bought from big data service providers.  The links, where possible, brought the end user deep into a page which was presumably relevant to what they are after (e.g. hotels listings brought them right to a reservations page).  I can understand, however, that some people would rather be brought to a hotel’s URL, rather than ours.  This is not something we can control.  Google needs a process to ensure that they display the business owner’s information over a trusted source like ours (and also need to figure out how to leverage us over the business owners’ information for business closings).  It’s a complex business process, resulting in a complex technical challenge.

My characterization of the Uppereast links (all 10 results on Google.com for the query “New York Hotels”) as “mapspam” was perhaps premature and unfair. I didn’t reach out to Uppereast. However I did ask Google for a comment though I haven’t yet heard back. Yet the concentration of links from a single site certainly appeared irregular and to break with Google’s apparent policy to put “first party” content front and center in local.

As the quoted text above indicates, however, perhaps Google is relying heavily on third party content in selected situations. Here are two related posts on the subject:

4 Responses to “Uppereast Responds to ‘Mapspam’ Post”

  1. Sinbad Says:

    The issue here is that these links replaced legitimate official company websites? These hotels had their official websites replaced by Uppereast.com editing Google local results. Now it may be true that Uppereast feels that their affiliate realtionship with hotels.com is more accurate than any given hotels own website. But that does not give them the right to go in and edit someone elses listing. “I can understand, however, that some people would rather be brought to a hotel’s URL, rather than ours.” ?? How about “I can understand, however, that some people would rather be brought to a restaurant’s URL, rather than ours.” Or “I can understand, however, that some people would rather be brought to a Doctor’s URL, rather than ours.”

    Or, once Goog owns the internet, “I can understand, however, that some people would rather be brought to a website’s URL, rather than ours.”

    give me a break. this is simply disingenuous greed.

  2. Sinbad Says:

    Clarification: official websites exist for all of these hotel properties and Google local used to display them in their results. Over a period of about three weeks they all mysteriously had their official websites replaced with uppereast.com URLs. Was this driven by poor algorithmic weighting on Goog’s part? Or was this driven by Uppereast editing google local listings? That’s where I am confused. It would appear to me more likely that Uppereast edited the listings, but I may be wrong. If wrong, my apologies to uppereast.

  3. Google Mapspam Hits Too Close To Home Says:

    […] have been following the recent mapspam sitings with great interest. Location is a key factor in local search, so it’s no wonder that […]

  4. Ben Robinson Says:

    I wrote a bit about this company earlier and the really corny part is, they were also showing for parking garages and restaurants. At the end of the Google Mapspam story.

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