A longtime family-run Calgary company is accusing Google of driving traffic to another business in a bizarre situation.
Ryan Schoel, owner of The Costume Shoppe, came across a Google listing that showed his address as Pirate Fashions Canada, even though the photos and phone number were for his business. Schoel said he discovered it about three weeks ago while trying to geotag a photo.
“(The site) said I was in Pirate Fashions Canada. Um, I’m in my building. Who is Pirates Fashion Canada?” he questioned.
Businesses warn of costly and dangerous fake reservation, party planning scam
The Costume Shoppe has been in Calgary since 1994 and in its current location off of Blackfoot Trail for the past 12 years. Schoel said he found it absolutely absurd the search engine would tell him he was in the wrong place.
“(Google) says you don’t exist, so you don’t exist,” he said. “They say The Costume Shoppe isn’t The Costume Shoppe — it’s this company in Florida — therefore we’re the company in Florida. That doesn’t make sense.”
The listing that told Schoel he was in the wrong place also had a link to a website — again not for The Costume Shoppe, but for Pirate Fashions.
He contacted the American company but said not much came of his concerns. The owner did click on a Google setting that advises the business is not at that location. However, Schoel said that just made things even worse.
“Google did turn around and say it’s permanently closed. That’s great, however it still has a picture of my building, so now my building looks closed,” he pointed out.
“That’s not a win. A win for me is the whole thing comes down because it’s fraudulent.”
Pirate Fashions tells Global News it didn’t know anything about this until Schoel contacted them. It also said it did nothing wrong on its end and tried to help by letting Google know it was a wrong address.
However, when we asked why it’s not pushing Google to take the listing down, owner Tiger Lee told us having it up has not hurt the business and may in fact help it.
Google to stop blocking Canadian news links next week
Global News also reached out to