Over 2,300 Yahoo Local listings have been hijacked by Cooper Tires for at least the past month and no one seems to be able to address the issue. The problem is also occurring at Yellow Pages but not to the extent of Yahoo Local.
I discovered the problem while giving some local marketing help to Victory Chevrolet in Mt Holly, NC. When checking out their presence in local listings, I came across the listings below in Yahoo Local.
Okay some how there was a glitch. But once I started to look deeper in to this the number of local listings that have been hijacked started to explode. In the middle of February there were over 1700, and now the number has grown to over 2300.
How do I know this? Well in the listing for Victory Chevrolet there is a string of info in the About field, so I did a Google search for it and found the numbers as stated above.
Getting anyone to do anything about this has been tough. It looks to be some type of glitch with the API or bulk upload access some major agencies and Yahoo partners have access to. But no one had any answers. And now it appears Yellow Page listings were also being overwritten.
Then someone at Yellow Pages - or should I say AT&T - provided some insights and even a way to block this from happening to you at Yellow Pages. But you may not want to grab, since Cooper Tire is paying for the listings to be added to additional categories.
My nameless friend at AT&T said the listings were coming from Cooper Tire or their agency and the same could be said of the Yahoo Local listings.
While yes, the upload etc. originated outside Yahoo Local - but this had been brought to people's attention through emails never returned, phone messages left at Cooper Tire on a number of occasions - the fact Yahoo had not addressed it seems as bad.
How is a product to be taken seriously when this can happen? It could not just be limited to this case - if you have Yahoo Local listings I would be checking them. If there is a problem with your Yellow Page listings you can change that so no other sites have the ability to double list.
At the top of the YP page is an Advertise With Us button - click it and then click Get Started Now and you end up at a Yellow Pages page with an AT&T logo - it seems funny to say AT&T to the rescue.
The companies should just merge under one name - though this way the difference is transparent.
Localeze - an agency that has a partnership with Yahoo Local for adding listings - was informed of the listings though did not see them as their own. They did say they were going to check the listings they control and make the changes listed in the email below.
"On Thursday, February 17th, Localeze discovered that certain information including URLs within business listings were incorrectly appearing in local search platforms for local dealers and distributors of Cooper Tire products. Localeze is working to a) better understand the actions that resulted in the replacement of some dealer URLs with the coopertire.com URL and b) resolve the affected listings for the local Cooper tire dealers. As it is Localeze's policy to retain local merchant identity information in its listings, Localeze is taking a proactive role in resolving this issue on behalf of the local dealers, and as a result of this issue, Localeze is taking the following actions:
- Immediately suppressing all affected listings in its database
- Re-activating the original organic listings identities
- Notifying its search engine partners of the issue and encouraging them to accept the original organic listings feed delivered in the upcoming weekly data feed.
It is Localeze's mission to establish, verify and maintain the accuracy of every local business listing and as a result of this issue, is instituting added technical solutions and safeguard processes to ensure that information contained it its authoritative local listings is not compromised."
Someone at Yahoo Local please get back to us. The listings are going to the wrong place - your product looks bad and the businesses listed are losing opportunities. Localeze said "It appears this information is coming from another source however we are working with Yahoo Local and YellowPages.com to help them replace the listings. Typically, local search listing updates can take 30 days or longer, however, we are working to accelerate this process."
It has been 2 weeks from that email and 4 weeks since this all started.