Recently, Sherry Bonelli alerted me to a rather disturbing fact about the Google My Business messaging feature. When she went to a Google My Business listing and clicked on the “Request a Quote” button, she saw something that the business owner might not like. After submitting her quote, it gave her a screen that asked if she wanted to send the quote request as well to other businesses, who are competitors of the one she just contacted.
I tried to replicate this and was able to. I tried the “request a quote” button on 3 different GMB listings (different cities, not related at all) before I got one that did this. It’s important to note that this did not happen on every listing I tested it on and it only happened on mobile devices (not computers). Similar to Sherry, after submitting a quote to a lawn care business, I was prompted to send my quote to 2 other competitors in their area:
The steps I took to get this screen were:
- I went to Google.com on my phone in Chrome and did a keyword search.
- I clicked on a specific business that opened up its knowledge panel.
- I clicked “request a quote” on that business and submitted my request.
- The image above was what I saw next.
I also wanted to see if this would happen if I searched for a specific business in step 2 and it did.
The steps that were taken:
- I went to Google.com on my phone in Chrome.
- I searched the specific name of an insurance agent (branded search).
- I clicked “request a quote” on that agent’s listing and submitted my request.
- The image below is what I saw (note: I contacted an Allstate agent, both recommendations were State Farm agents)
Why Should I Care?
As someone that advises business owners, I feel strongly that this is a terrible experience for them. While it might be helpful to consumers, it’s generally not a business’s best interests to prompt their leads to contact their competition as well. Google has been really pushing the messaging feature lately , but given this fact, I think it’s best to think twice before activating it.
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