Is anyone else seeing their competitors using "Google's Places" with links to their homepage? For example, when I enter a certain phrase, I get the usual search search results and after the 3rd result I get the "Google Places" section with several local places. However, there are also two of my competitors websites showing up in the mix with fake local addresses. Looks like an easy way for blackhat SEO's to rank on the first page, especially with this big push Google is putting on their "Places" section. One of the "Places" is a major company in my industry and I know they do not have an office anywhere close to my city. The other looks like a small website. Is anyone else seeing this in their industry? I am in the "rental properties" industry.
I'm not sure how they are doing it. Google Places sends you a postcard to the address you specify, so not sure how they are getting past that. They must be setting up mailboxes in major cities throughout the U.S. A great way to get ranked high and free in Google! Also scammy if you ask me.
"can be done with phone call and think you may be able to edit it changed later"
Google is primarily doing postcard verification now. They only do phone for listings they have a lot of trust in. So new 'fake' address should trigger postcard verification. But these listings were probably done before verification got stricter.
Any time you change name, address or phone it will trigger a new verification so you can't really verify and then edit later.