Google Suspends Map Maker Because We Can’t Have Nice Things

When things like the below show up on Google Maps thanks to some clever unscrupulous Map Maker users — as it did two weeks ago — you just knew Google was going to have to take action.

A photo posted by joe © mathieu (@jayceeem) on

Google Map Maker was created to allow users to manually make updates to Google Maps (similar to how Wikipedia has operated since its inception). While Google suspended auto-approval & user moderation of Map Maker edits following the 4/24 Android-peeing discovery, the manual review backlog has continued to grow “very fast”.

Google Map Maker users attempting to use the tool, beginning today, will be greeted with the below message:

The “learn more” link on this notification directs users to a forum thread which says, in short:

As some of you know already, we have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months. The most recent incident was particularly troubling and unfortunate – a strong user in our community chose to go and create a large scale prank on the Map. As a consequence, we suspended auto-approval and user moderation across the globe, till we figured out ways to add more intelligent mechanisms to prevent such incidents.

All of our edits are currently going through a manual review process.

We have been analyzing the problem and have made several changes. However, it is becoming clear that fixing some of this is actually going to take longer than a few days. As you can imagine, turning automated and user moderation off has the direct implication of very large backlogs of edits requiring manual review. This in turn means your edits will take a long time to get published.

Given the current state of the system, we have come to the conclusion that it is not fair to any of our users to let them continue to spend time editing. Every edit you make is essentially going to a backlog that is growing very fast. We believe that it is more fair to only say that if we do not have the capacity to review edits at roughly the rate they come in, we have to take a pause.

We have hence decided to temporarily disable editing across all countries starting Tuesday, May 12, 2015, till we have our moderation system back in action. This will be a temporary situation and one that we hope to come out of as soon as possible.

Some international SEOs have reported using Map Maker to create businesses before registering them in Google’s My Business — though, these cases seem to be few & far between. In general, Google Map Maker being suspended shouldn’t affect local business listings’ chances of showing up in search results.

Interestingly enough, suspending Map Maker won’t cure another one of Google Maps’ famous recent ills — the Edward Snowden/White House hack. As covered by Search Engine Land, this humorous hack was actually accomplished by gaming Google’s local listings.

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