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Fake Google Maps Listings Are Hurting Real Businesses…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

By June 30, 2019No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Millions of fake Google Maps listings hurt real business and consumers.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Google Maps has about 11 million illegitimate local listings and that hundreds of thousands more are created every month. The result of these fake listings is that real businesses get pushed further down the local search results, which adversely affects their ability to reach customers and also makes it more likely unsuspecting users will be targeted by scammers. Though Google announced plans to do more to combat spammers and scammers who take advantage of local listings, the company could ultimately profit from the situation as local businesses buy paid ads instead to recapture search visibility. (Source: Search Engine Land)

Why this is important for your business:

This is a growing problem and may call into question whether or not you should spend some of your online advertising money elsewhere. It’s possible that your business depends on Google Maps to drive customer traffic. But if you’re paying for ads and they’re not being seen because of scammers, is it worth it?

2 — ReviewTrackers raises $10 million to help companies monitor online reviews.

With research indicating that consumers pay more attention to negative versus positive reviews online, Chicago-based ReviewTrackers plans to help companies manage their online reviews from a single platform. To that end, it announced this week it had raised $10 million in a growth round of funding from New York venture capital firm PeakSpan Capital. ReviewTrackers’ review and reputation management software serves as a platform to enable businesses to manage their online reputation by plugging into many third-part review sites like Google and Facebook so they can monitor and respond to customer feedback. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

As I wrote this week on, Look for other companies like ReviewTrackers to land on your radar screen in the near future. Clearly there’s opportunity here.  That’s because more and more businesses are learning that investing in a service that can keep them stay updated on their online reviews – whether they’re active or not, like my physician client – is becoming a critical part of any good company’s customer service operations.

3 — H&R Block enters into agreement to acquire Wave Financial, a small business financial solutions platform.

This week, H&R Block announced it will acquire Wave Financial, Inc., a fast-growing financial solutions platform that aims to change the way small business owners manage their finances. Toronto-based Wave is making a splash in the small business market by offering free accounting, invoicing, and receipt-tracking software. It generates revenue through its payment processing, payroll, and bookkeeping services on a comprehensive platform used monthly by over 400,000 small businesses around the world. The acquisition expands H&R Block’s product and client portfolio and enhances its position in the small business market. (Source: H&R Block)

Why this is important for your business:

H&R Block is, I believe, on the cusp of a trend that we’ll see amongst many large financial services companies: offer accounting software to your customers. It makes sense for them and helps compete against companies like Intuit. Look for other large financial services firms – and banks – to snap up bookkeeping and accounting software applications and provide them to their customers as an added benefit of doing business together.

4 —Shopify unveils new innovations to transform commerce for merchants and consumers globally.

Leading multi-channel commerce platform Shopify unveiled new platform enhancements and updates this week at the Shopify Unite conference for its global partner and developer community. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Why this is important for your business:

The new innovations are designed to give brands everything they need to build and manage a business and include a newly updated Shopify Plus platform for enterprise brands, more global capabilities, new shipping features, three new tools to build powerful apps, eleven new language capabilities, and, for the first time, a fulfillment network that will allow merchants of all sizes to deliver their products quickly and affordably.

5 — Walmart adds AI-powered cameras to more than 1,000 stores to reduce checkout theft, report says.

In an effort to reduce checkout theft, Walmart is investing in an AI-powered surveillance system called Missed Scan Detection, which will soon be installed in more than 1,000 of its U.S. stores.

The company began investing in the program a few years ago as a way to combat loss due to theft, scanning errors, waste, and fraud. Walmart says its overall goal is to help customers have a better shopping experience and to make stores safer and that it’s already seen a reduction in overall shrinkage. The system’s cameras use an algorithm to capture any items that aren’t scanned properly during checkout. (Source: Fox Business)

Why this is important for your business:

You know what happens when big companies start buying into a technology? More people start making that technology, the price goes down and the technology then becomes available to people with smaller budgets…like small businesses. Or small retailers, in this case.

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