Google Local Business Center Address Verification II

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Last December Google introduced the Local Business Center and allowed businesses to provide their address, phone numbers, website, offered services, business hours, accepted payment methods, special coupons and more.

After you provided all the information, is it necessary to get your information active and used by Google. The activiation is done by either Google sending a post card with a pin to the provided address to verify that it exists and in some cases is also a verification over the telephone possible.

Once verified and after the next update of the local database will your business show up in the Google Local search results. A great opportunity to get targeted customers. Throw a special and Google Local exclusive coupon into the mix and you got yourself a very effective new customer acquisition tool.

What is also nice, is the fact that you will also show up for queries that indicate locality in the regular Google search results, such as queries that include the name of a city or region .

Google uses the OneBox or Plus Box feature to show the top three local business that match the location and the other terms that were used by the user. You can see an example of how the OneBox/Plus Box results look like here:


A nice top listing without organic SEO. Okay, all this is nice information, but a bit old you might say. That is correct, but what happened earlier this week was new to me. I received a message on my toll free 24/7 voice mail number which was weird.

A person who did not mention a name or anything else that would have useful as identification left a short message. The message stated roughly “I just drove by your address and can’t find your business. I the address correct or a P.O.Box or what?”.

The only thing that provided a clue was the caller id which was captured by my VM service. The number was not local (area code 559), which made it even more odd.

The number started with 650, the area code of the peninsula south of San Francisco, California (San Mateo county, parts of Santa Clara county). Mhhh….

I called the number and got a recorded message from Google Local Business Center. I left a message that explained things and never heard back from them since. I got the call on Wednesday morning.

Now it’s Friday and my listing at the Google Local Business Center is the same as before. So I guess my message was clarification enough.

I wonder how many locations Google is checking by actually have somebody on their behalf drive by the location of your business to see if it is really there.

They are going through a great length here, just to verify that you are who you are and that you are where you say you are. I don’t know who much addresses Google checks in person, but even if it is only a small percentage, then the cost of doing so still be huge.

This means, that Google must have some very serious plans that involve the Local Business Center for the coming future.

I don’t think that Google does this, just to check that a company is more than just a mailbox and could upset customers who try to visit the business location and are unable to find it.

Did anybody else made a similar experience to mine?

Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketing Resources at, such as resources to local search, geo-targeting and more.

Important  Update My assumptions were incorrect. The incident was clarified. Please see the comments below. The phone number 650-253-4401 is used by Google’s click-to-call service. The caller who called me was an unknown person who did not identify himself. If you see this number in your caller history and call it, it will sound like a Google Local support VM.

Beware of pranksters or fraudsters who might abuse this. I encourage Google to change the message and state clearly that this number is used for outgoing calls by anonymous users on their website and not by Google staff. I am glad that this was clarified and that I have been wrong in my assumptions, but it did not make my post be in vain. 

Carsten 4/28/07

Carsten Cumbrowski
Carsten Cumbrowski has years of experience in Affiliate Marketing and knows both sides of the business as the Affiliate and Affiliate Manager. Carsten has over... Read Full Bio
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  • John

    Just a guess here, but perhaps the caller used Google’s 411 (or perhaps some other new service) to get connected to your number and that was left as the caller-id? I can’t imagine Google not identifying themselves on the phone. If they want to verify the information, they will want you to correct any issues with the listing. A manual address verification system like that is also just not scalable enough for Google, it wouldn’t fit…

  • Okay John, here is the full phone number that showed up as Caller ID: 650-253-4401 What do you think?

  • That’s the phone number which shows up by default when someone — a customer, not a Google employee — uses the “click to call” link on Google Maps.

    There’s no chance Google is sending people out to verify addresses. They only have two people answering questions in all the Google Maps Groups.

  • Thanks Matt,

    Well, I was about to head out to Ad:Tech when I got the message.

    The message sounded like a check but that no name was left was odd, but then I saw that the CallerID wasn’t blocked and dialed that number, which was not disconnected as mentioned at G.Blogoscoped.

    The message was “Blah” and typical Google. Saving a lot without saying actually something.

    This was a weird combination of things that came all together. Google should change the message and make clear that if you call it, because it shows in your caller log, that this number is used for click to call by users on the Google Website.

    At least am I glad that this is clarified now. Who knows, if others made similar experiences. It could be easily abused by a prankster and worst case a fraudster, considering the way it is now.

  • Sometimes am I glad to be wrong. 🙂

  • Richard

    Goog may want to check with the FCC on this one. I believe it’s a violation to “stuff” caller ID.

  • Late in the evening yesterday I noticed the number, 650-253-4401, on my caller ID. The time stamp indicated the call came through that morning, but I couldn’t remember who it was, or why Google would be calling me. This morning I finally remembered that a Google automated service called me to verify my business information after I’d created a Google Maps listing for my business. After creating the listing, a PIN appeared on my monitor with the option to have Google call the phone number I’d provided to verify my business listing. I took the option, Google called and I verified my listing my punching the PIN numbers into my phone’s keypad. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Rohitashw Kajla

    Dear Sir,
    I have received a greeting card from google local Business Center, Banglore, wherein you have provided PIN :28480, I have posted ad entries on the google local business center, I hope these would be displayed within a short span of time. You have sought 6 weeks time for this display, Thanking you.
    Rohitashw Kajla Solicitors & Advocates
    610, Sun n Moon Appartments, near Soni Hospital, Sikar Road, Sector – 5, Vidyadhar Nagar,