I think google maps is a great idea so I submitted my bed and breakfast to their directory. In order to prove to Google that our business is legitimate you put your mailing address in the application and google mails out a confirmation post card. This is where the reality of Puerto Rico comes in. Nearly everyone who lives out in the country in Puerto Rico has a mailing address that is no where near their physical address, either because they have a post office box in town like us or because they use rural route directions which were invented by someone who was confused by maps and maybe dyslexic too. If google could offer the option of sending out the confirmation cards by UPS or FedEx that would have worked or Google could allow the incorrect address to be edited (which they don't even when you put in your confirmation number from the mailed-out card).To make this even more interesting we had some of the google map employees themselves stay with us as guests a couple of months ago (the rainforestinn tends to attract guests that are scientists and professionals and even Google geniuses).
I explained the problem to them but so far they haven't implemented a solution. This means that the correct location for the rainforest inn -- see this URL http://tinyurl.com/2bwd3y does not match the directions that come up when you search businesses for lodging in the rainforest. I'm not even going to go into all the large hotels which come up in that search and the fact that none of them are in the rainforest. The El Yunque rainforest is a popular tourist attraction now and everyone is claiming to be there. But I wouldn't be writing this blog if I hadn't found a solution to share with you. First off if you look at your google maps business listing (or someone else's) you will notice that there is an option to write a review about the place but no one seems to have any reviews written about their place. This is an indication that maybe google maps business directory has a way to go yet before it is that important for your business. Maybe more people are using google earth. The nice thing about google earth is that it works with http://www.panoramio.com/ to let you place a photograph of a location. Go there and sign-up for an account. After you add the photo you are then given the option to place it on the map. Be sure you find the exact location (easiest done by typing in the name of a nearby city and zooming in to move the marker). I ended up with: http://www.panoramio.com/map/?user=898653#lt=18.336103&ln=-65.813384&z=0 Now the next step is to just wait until google earth is updated and your photo is placed. Too bad google business isn't that easy.
Since I wrote the above blog Google maps improved their business listings. Now you can edit posts and show the real location of your business when it is placed according to your mailing address instead of your physical address.