How to bankrupt a company using Google Maps
Rene Bertagna is the owner of the Serbian Crown restaurant near Washington. More precisely, the former owner. In April 2014, he had to close the business. He does not blame bankruptcy for anyone, but Google Maps. The businessman even filed a lawsuit against Google in the federal court of Virginia.
The restaurant has been working properly for 40 years, but in the last few years the number of customers has fallen by 75%. According to the owner, someone edited the information record in the Google Maps service and indicated that the institution does not work on weekends, although it was on weekends that most visitors came here to try French and Russian dishes.
Unfortunately, Rene Bertagna too late found out the reason why people stopped coming. Even worse, Google refused to immediately correct the entry on the Serbian Crown page. This became the basis for the lawsuit.
Probably, Bertagni's chances of winning the court can be considered scanty. Google lawyers in a preliminary statement called his claims "ridiculous." But the fact is that the problem of spam on Google Maps has long been known. It is connected with the fact that the service works partially according to the crowdsourcing model, so anyone can edit the content.
For example, in the spring of this year, network engineer Bryan Seely repeatedly contacted Google with a request to improve the moderation of ads and even opened an account on Twitter with the publication of examples , but to no avail. Then the resourceful engineer came up with a way to draw attention to himself .
He posted some fake ads on Google Maps, listing the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service, but his own phone numbers. When people called these numbers, Brian directed the call to the real numbers of the special services - and turned on the audio recording. After recording a couple of conversations for evidence, he went with them to the local branch of the Secret Service. The agents twisted the “spy”: they laid him face down on the floor, read out the rights and took him to the interrogation room, but in the end everything ended well.
After this story, Google reacted quickly and removed some of the fake ads, although in fact the problem remained, which we see in the example of the unlucky restaurant owner.