I think we can agree not to try gaming Google from here on out. After a number of years of some unsavory businesses poking a sleeping giant, Google has woken up to take on robocallers that claim affiliation with the company in order to prey on small businesses. Not only are they launching a new page for users to report call scams, Google has filed a suit against an SEO firm for making robocalls.
“Our office is beseiged[sic] daily by phone calls asking to update our Google listing. The calls said we could push a number to be removed from their database, but the calls continue even after we did so. How do we get those calls to stop??”
As their first move to deal with these robocallers who are saying they work with the company, Brad Wetherall, the Google My Business Operations Manger, said in a blog post:
“[T]oday we’re filing an action in California against one search engine optimization company for making these robocalls and confusing our users.”
The name of the business that Google has filed the suit against is the Local Lighthouse Corp (you can find the site here). The company promotes paid search and SEO services. Below, you can find a copy of the filing.
According to the claim, Local Lighthouse Corp “sales agents have made and continue to make various false and misleading claims during Defendant’s telemarketing calls to confuse consumers regarding the true source or nature of Defendant’s services and the relationship between Google and Defendant” and “exploits such confusion to induce consumers to enter into contracts costing hundreds of dollars in recurring monthly bills.”
Google is claiming that Local Lighthouse sales agents are making statements to their clients and customers like,
- “We’re a Google subcontractor”
- “We’re working for Google”
- “The $100 fee [to initiate Defendant’s services] goes to Google”
According to Local Lighthouse, customer’s webpages “will show up multiple times in the front page and get what’s called ‘Front Page Domination.'”
Google isn’t the only ones with a problem against Local Lighthouse, as the business has at least five other civil cases pending against them for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which makes placing robocalls without consent illegal.
For more information this case, you can visit the Search Engine Land post, Google Files Suit Against SEO Firm Accused Of Robocalling, Launches Complaint Center For Users.