‘Near Me’ theverge.com

Mia Soto, the Verge:

Thai Food Near Me isn’t the first business to think of the Google-first naming convention. There are reminders of Google’s kingmaker status in online discoverability everywhere in cities across the country.

Among the businesses I was able to find: a chain of half a dozen Affordable Dentist Near Me’s in Texas; an Antiques Near Me two hours outside of New York City; seven Plumber Near Me businesses; a Phone Repair Near Me in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; a Psychic Near Me in Chicago; and more than 20 iterations of “Notary Near Me” across the US.

It is funny to recognize a clear difference between businesses which used to game the Yellow Pages decades ago — with names like “A Aaaaa Bcalvy” — and those which are doing the same thing for Google today. If the former still exist, they have probably been around since a phone book was the first place you would look for services; it feels ironic that a bit of outdated trickery might be an indicator of long-time quality.

Google says this strategy does not work, and my testing seems to confirm that. There is a chain of businesses in Calgary called “Towing Near Me”, but searching both Google and Google Maps for that exact phrase does not surface that business. Instead, I see towing companies with locations near my IP address in central Calgary, which is what I would expect.