Incorrect labeling leaves open businesses without customers

Google's Places' feature, which allows users to edit and update a business' information, has resulted in some mischievous behavior from managers looking to gain an edge up on the competition.

The New York Times reports that Google Places has a button labeled "Report a problem," where users can make modifications to a store's status if it's closed for business but is still labeled as open on the Places page.

However, recently there has a been an influx of businesses being reported closed despite being open.

"While the vast majority of edits people have made to business listings have improved the quality and accuracy of Google Maps for the benefit of all Maps users, there are some bad actors," said Google senior product manager Ethan Russell, quoted by PCWorld. Due to Google's high user volume, employees who review these claims can sometimes be tricked into believing an open store is actually closed if enough people report a problem.

Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker wouldn't comment on the total number of fraudulent closings to The New York Times, but noted that Google is aware of the issue and is working on changes to prevent incorrect labeling.