Locksmith Spam on Bing? You Bet

Filed in Bing, Local Search by Matt McGee on May 28, 2009 9 Comments

During all the coverage of Microsoft’s new “Bing” on Search Engine Land today, David Mihm wondered what Bing looks like on a search for locksmiths in NYC and hoped maybe MSFT would clean up the spam a bit. Apparently not:

bing screenshot

Here’s the thing: The switch to Bing apparently doesn’t include an algorithm/relevance update, only changes to the functionality and user interface of Live Search. In fact, run that same query on Live Search and you should see the same exact results (albeit with only a 3-pack instead of the new 8-pack).

I really like some of the new functionality that Bing offers, but if you’re expecting better local search results, you’ll be disappointed. Lipstick, meet pig.

(BTW, you can click that screenshot for a larger version.)

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  1. Shailendra says:

    I think this is a spam to local search, I have read it before on some other blog about the same results in Google local search. All these contact numbers land in same call center. They have optimized so badly, all results are for same business.

  2. David Mihm says:

    The lipstick on a pig nature of this update is really a shame, Matt. MSFT could spend a portion of its $80MM ad campaign hiring a dozen engineers to figure out a better Local index and actually gain market share, IMHO.

  3. Dave Hucker says:

    Thanks for the heads-up Matt.

    @Shailendra- its been coined by local search insiders as “map spam”. Very common in some verticals for advertisers or those they hire to ‘optimize’ their search results in local search to introduce fake listings into different search listing platforms. Google has gone a long way to trying to cut down on the spamming of local business listings but it obviously hasn’t been eliminated. I’d like to see what MSFT has to say about their search engine and the differences (if there are any). I’ve read about Kuno/Bing (whatever they’ve finally settled on) from Greg Sterling and several others and now Matt, but I haven’t seen anybody visible from MSFT come out and discuss their own product yet.

    back @Matt– Maybe their hoping to get some positive spin from the few insiders that they allowed to use it on a preview basis. Hopefully their going to put some of that 80$ million advertising budget towards actually improving the accuracy/functionality of their new search…whatever its called. If not, its going to be $80 million un-well spent. Maybe they just need a write off :)

  4. Dave Hucker says:

    looks like Dave just beat me to it. :)

  5. WebRhynoSEO says:

    Is this what gets passed off as professional SEO these days? The USA is really overrun with so-called professional optimizers who run these gags. I’ve begun turning my attention outside the US and have discovered there is still lots of fertile soil in countries without these clowns/posers.

    Fortunately it’s just Live Search. Last numbers I saw said that their share of search traffic is under 10%, is that number still accurate?

  6. I’m not sure if Mike Blumenthal published this somewhere or I gleaned it from him through conversations/email.

    The locksmiths have spammed everything. They’ve spammed the data providers, the local/maps versions of the search engines, the IYP’s, etc. Where they could perform spam…they did it. In fact there is some case that was or is being pursued in Missouri (or Kansas) being pursued by the state’s attorney general specifically related to locksmith spam on IYP’s.

    The point is that locksmith spam is everywhere.

    I believe one of the engines should take a strong stand on it. As David Mihm suggested, one of the engines should be public in this regard. We would support them.

    I’m sure many in the community of Local SEO’s and those with clients would publicise this very aggressively to work to let the public know that at least one version of Local or Maps had a modicum of reliable information.

  7. Robert V says:

    As the owner of a small locksmith shop, I was more than disappointed with Bing’s results myself. In addition to the map listings, their natural search results also return many of the bogus locksmith websites (with real companies showing up much further down). I wish the big three would just acknowledge the failure of their “local” maps listings and do away with them.

    For tips on protecting yourself from locksmith fraud, visit the Knowledge Center on our website.

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