Be Careful Who You Work With: A Google Maps Horror Story

Jeff Berman
January 7, 2011

scream.jpgOne of our current clients had hired a company to perform Google Maps search optimization prior to coming on board with AttorneySync.  The company had been working with our client for 6 months or so prior to the start of our relationship.

According to the firm, the results from the local campaign hadn't been very impressive.  Since the firm's contract with the local search agency was expiring at the end of the year, we advised them to finish out the term and then we would take over the local optimization.  However, when Google made a change towards the end of October to how they displayed local search results, the importance of the firm's Google Places listing took on a more prominent role.  We advised the firm to let us take control of the local campaign in November and we would perform the additional work as a component of our service.

This is when the trouble began.

The law firm contacted the local search agency and asked for the login information for their Google Places account and a few other local profiles that had been setup on the firm's behalf.  The agency not only refused to give the firm their own login information, they had the audacity to tell them that the information they added to the Places page was proprietary and was owned by the search agency.  In addition, they requested additional money (thousands of dollars) as a "buy out" in order to give the login information up.

Needless to say, the firm now has a mess on their hands.  While there are outlets they can pursue to help resolve the issue, it's an annoying situation to have to deal with.

What Steps Can You Take To Protect Yourself?

As always, you should perform due diligence before you hire a service to perform marketing on your behalf.  Speak to references.  Ask more in depth questions than did you get higher rankings.  Ask about the customer service and how the agency is to deal with.  Do they respond quickly?  Are they responsive when asked to do something?

In addition, make sure accounts are being setup under your email and logins or that you are supplied with the login information right upfront.  In the case of Google Places accounts, once you give up the pin number, the agency will be able to connect your Google Places account with any account of their choosing.  This needs to be an account you own or at the very least an account you have access to.  

Photo by Paul Bence

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman, is co-founder of AttorneySync. "Properly marketing a law firm online is about producing relevant content that helps a prospective client understand your expertise and how you are able to help them. Finally, it’s about getting that content found by the people you are trying to help."
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