Map Maker has suffered many problems with spam since it was introduced in June, 2008. It was even shut down temporarily in May, 2015, for racism. Google has finally decided it is unable to cope with the incidents that plague the service. It has announced it will shut down Map Maker for good in March, 2017. On the surface this may sound like a step in the right direction in the fight against spam, but it is actually terrible news for small and mid-size businesses.
Why the Shut Down Does Little to Stop Spam
Removing Map Maker only cuts off one channel of spam. There are still plenty of other ways for spammers to edit business listings. With Map Maker gone, more will likely turn to Google Maps to use the “suggest an edit” feature on listings. In fact, this is a better option for spammers because, unlike Map Maker, no user names are connected with edits. This means Google Maps offers total anonymity for spammers.
Why This Will Hurt SMBs
Threads on the Google My Business forum about legitimate listings being removed are already on the increase. Expect to see this trend continue as spammers attack more business on Google Maps when the option to use Map Maker disappears. If you are a small or mid-size business, you will need to pay closer attention to your listing to ensure it does not become a target of a spam attack.