Jon Poteet, owner of Shine Distillery, says Google’s misinformation about the company’s hours has hurt the business.
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A North Portland business owner is battling online misinformation in addition to fighting the pandemic.
Jon Poteet owns Shine Distillery which he opened on North Williams Ave three years ago. Hoping to extend hours for his target audience, he opens for brunch an additional six hours on weekends. However, extended hours don’t always show up on Google.
“[Sales] we cut in half on weekends when Google changes our schedule,” Poteet said.
Poteet estimates sales take a $1,000-$1,200 hit compared to weekends with a full brunch crowd. His kitchen prepares for the rush, and when it doesn’t, he estimates about $200-$300 worth of food is thrown out after it’s prepared.
Poteet has contacted Google several times. He notes, and a Google spokesperson confirms, that there is no phone number for businesses, even those verified through Google, to call to resolve these issues. Instead, it is submitting an online form.
“It’s one more factor in the day-to-day struggle of running a restaurant,” he said.
Poteet says he’s made corrections several times, and yet his hours are back to the same 4:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m., instead of 10:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. for weekends.
“That’s something that’s very problematic, it can definitely hurt your business,” said Seth Morrisey, owner of Oregon Web Solutions, “you just have to stay vigilant to really see that information.”
Morrisey’s business helps small businesses use social media and search engines to get their names in front of potential customers. Morrisey says his first step is to help businesses ‘search’ their business posts on Google.
In worst-case scenarios, a business can end up in an ‘edit war’ where incorrect and correct posts go back and forth, like a battle over which information is posted.
“It’s like the wild west out there. There’s a lot of information online that’s just not accurate,” Morrisey said.
In a statement, Google says the platform uses a mix of human and automated processes to post data it believes is accurate and up-to-date. The spokesperson points out that user-contributed content is how it creates information on Google Maps for everyone to use.
“Feedback from Google Maps users is essential to keeping the map up to date, and when we receive an edit, we use the available information to confirm its accuracy before publishing it. Providing accurate and reliable information is our top priority, and we encourage people and businesses to report content errors and misleading information, which helps us improve our automated detection systems and keep the information on Maps authentic and reliable,” the spokesperson wrote.
Poteet regularly looks at the search engine now. He is also confused why his competitors appear in the search option “food near me” or “restaurants near me”, but he does not. A search on Apple’s Siri will bring up his restaurant, but he believes he’s missing out on other new customers who use Google.
Morrisey found research showing that 90-92% of search traffic is from Google.
“It’s an unnecessary headache. It shouldn’t be that hard,” Poteet said. “I’d rather deal with taxes than Google.”