Nyagoslav Zhekov of the Whitespark blog recently conducted an interesting interview with Dan Austin about Google Maps. According to Austin, a vocal critic of Google maps, Google is not doing a very good job of protecting Google Maps from spammers. Google Maps for the Secret Service and the FBI were purposefully hijacked by Bryan Seely, a Google Maps enthusiast, to prove how vulnerable Maps is and hopefully show Google that improvement in security is desperately needed. The experiment did cause Google to make some immediate changes, but since that time, things seem to be just as they were before.
According to Dan Austin, there are numerous problems with Google Maps, but these are the main problems:
- Google Maps only requires 30 seconds for verification
- Google is oblivious to spam
- “Report a Spam” does not work
- Hiding service area businesses from Map Maker has only proven to hide spammers
- Map Maker has too many bugs to be effective
- Locking some business categories is proving to be ineffective
- “Report This” on MM doesn’t work
- Spam algorithms don’t work
Austin points out that Google needs to realize that they are allowing criminal behavior because they won’t step up to the spam on their pages. In fact, he feels so strongly about this that he believes that the jobs of people who are over Google Maps should be terminated because they refuse to step up to the challenge of the spammers. Austin goes on to say that while Google doesn’t seem to understand people and why spammers do what they do, they were quick to make some changes when they received a call from the Secret Service asking why their Google Maps were hijacked. Stay tuned in upcoming months to see if Google makes any long-term changes to Google Maps that might actually keep the spammers at bay.