What's disruptive about PLAs popping-up in the local pack is this: Google is not showing refrigerator stores in Atlanta (like it used to,) but rather refrigerator products (associated with advertisers paying for Google Shopping Ads). Sure, there's local store info in the ads. But take another glance at the above figure. Sears Hometown Stores is owning it. So what now? Google Shopping advertisers get the unfair advantage of premium search real estate?
Among the spammiest areas in Google is the Google Maps search results for locksmiths and plumbers. To mitigate Google Maps spam in these areas, Google is now beta testing a new "advanced verification" process for locksmiths and plumbers in the San Diego region. In short, locksmiths and plumbers in this region will have to go through a more detailed Google Maps verification process. These businesses have until November 10th to complete the verification process. Failure to do so will result in their listing being removed.