Thursday, November 3, 2011
GO GOOGLE YOURSELF
A few years ago, the City of Florence built a beautiful sports complex costing millions of dollars. Virtually every weekend, we have out-of-town visitors coming to spend their time and money in our town. That would be wonderful except for the fact that we are sending them to Muscle Shoals instead.
You see, many people simply Google the name of a place and blindly follow their GPS or printed map to wherever it guides them. The problem is that when you Google “Florence Sports Complex,” it delivers the address “1 Sportsplex Drive, Florence, AL.” Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, Google places the destination marker miles away just north of the fairgrounds in Muscle Shoals. So, weekend after weekend, visitors to our area coming to play various sports find themselves scratching their heads in a vacant parking lot in Muscle Shoals instead of a sports complex in Florence.
At one time, Google had my computer service business in Florence located about a block down from my actual location and had an additional location miles away that never existed. This same thing can happen to your business or organization or even your home address. So, are you unknowingly sending people to the wrong place? If you are a business owner, are you sending people to your competitor? Or worse, has some miscreant claimed your business as their own and spreading false information? I suggest you simply Google your organization and see where it is on the map. If the location is wrong, it is really easy to claim your space on Google and make a correction and it’s 100% free.
The first step is to Google your business or your address on Maps.Google.com. Take note of the location of the marker. If it is correct, you are good to go. If it is incorrect, there are a few things you can do to correct it. If there is a phone number associated with the address, you can have Google instantly verify that you are the owner of that address. They do this because they don't want your competitor to unjustly move you out of the picture. If there is no phone number associated with it, Google can send you a free postcard with a code on it. When you receive the card, simply go back to your organization's map marker, claim the business and enter the code from the postcard. You can them move the map marker wherever you want. Once you “claim” your business, you can also enter information such as store hours, pictures and other details.
And, hey, Florence? I fixed that issue for you. Despite informing some city officials of the problem over the years, it was never rectified. So I took it upon myself to contact Google for you. I simply clicked on “Report a problem with this address” and 1 week later the marker is exactly where it is supposed to be. You’re welcome!