What is designed to be a way for users to let Google know when a business has been closed is, in some cases, being abused by local competitors.  Since it is so easy to mark a business closed in Google Places, some business are being tagged as closed when they aren’t.  When enough people mark a business as closed, Google will review whether or not this is true, though their review process isn’t public.

Google seems to be doing what they can to address the issue.  In the past, an interim notification would appear on the Google Places page, “Reported to Be Closed”, which users could mark as “Not True”.  However, imagine if someone came looking for your dealership online and was greeted with that message.  The chances of them investigating whether or not that was actually true are slim–they would just head to the next dealership.  Luckily, Google no longer shows this interim message, and will only show a business as closed once reviewed.

To help protect your business from having this happen, make sure your dealership follows Google Local Places best practices like:

Claim Your Google Places Page: This ensures your dealership has control over their own listing.  If you haven’t, go to your Places Page, and in the top right corner you’ll see a link that says “business owner?”.  Follow the steps to claim your page.

Check the Email Listed: Google will attempt to verify with the email address listed with the Places Page when a business is marked as closed.  If you don’t respond, you may just be out of luck.

Update Your Listing Often: The more often you’re adding reviews, keeping products and hours up to date, etc, the less likely someone will be able to get away with marking your business as closed without it looking suspicious.

Has anyone had trouble with your dealership being marked as closed?  What did you do to fix the issue?