Here's the situation: One of my main competitors has a local one-box search result for an extremely lucrative term. The mystery is, the site is just a DexKnows business profile page with the competitors url (www.example.com) with 0 backlinks pointing to it. Does Dex carry that much weight?
Google appears to have been displaying one-boxes for a number of searches in areas where they ought to be displaying multiple potential business matches.
This appears to be a relatively recent development and I've heard of a number of local search marketers mentioning noticing similarly limited results.
My theory is that some sort of data feed is not getting updated recently as Google prepares to launch Caffeine, because when I've compared some of those keyword searches on the current Google site with that of Caffeine, the Caffeine version displays multiple businesses as one would generally expect should happen.
So, I'd advise sitting tight until the dust settles and we see what's what after Caffeine finally moves into production.
Update on this one: I noticed this morning that Caffeine is also displaying the one-box for more of these queries, just as the live service is.
Mike Blumenthal has written up an article on this, too.
I still believe this is either a temporary condition due to some error or inconsistent transfer of data repository for displaying Universal Search results for local. Another theory is that it could be a temporary change for the sake of testing to see if users prefer fewer choices in the presentation for local searches.
If it is a test, I think they will find it to be a less-satisfactory result for most users.
Either way, I still think the situation is going to get switched back to display of the 10-pack as was previously the expected result.
On November 15th a Google employee posted in a google groups forum for Maps identifying that they had rolled back one maps in a lot of cases, and had a "hiccup" in doing so. I'm seeing a lot less oneboxes where there was appropriate competitive businesses.
Not all have been rolled back. SwipetheMagnets: Did the situation change for your site. If not it requires a more indepth look on the one hand, and actions from you on the other.
Of note, with several businesses, one of ours is suffering from a still existing onebox in which a competitor sits. I'm pretty sure I have the answer and am effecting changes, that I hope will shortly change the status.
We will see. In the meantime many oneboxes were eliminated.