Why You Should Think Twice About Activating GMB Messaging
Joy Hawkins

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.

Request a Quote - GMB

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:

  1.  I went to Google.com on my phone in Chrome and did a keyword search.
  2.  I clicked on a specific business that opened up its knowledge panel.
  3. I clicked “request a quote” on that business and submitted my request.
  4. 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:

  1.  I went to Google.com on my phone in Chrome.
  2. I searched the specific name of an insurance agent (branded search).
  3. I clicked “request a quote” on that agent’s listing and submitted my request.
  4. 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.

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.