Hotels listed on Google+ Local should double check their listings. According to this report from Search Engine Land, thousands of hotel website links listed on verified accounts were redirected to RoomsToBook.Info or RoomsToBook.Net.
Post author Danny Sullivan noticed the glitch on the listing page of the Courtyard Marriott in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Instead of the web address being listed as “http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/laxsf-courtyard-los-angeles-sherman-oaks/” the web address read “courtyardmarriott.roomstobook.info.” After searching Google+ for more hotel listings, Sullivan noticed that the same domain was registered to several hotel listings including those affiliated with major hotel brands.
The links were then forwarding users to landing pages or over to the HotelsWhiz.com web site. Sullivan made several attempts to contact someone affiliated with the scam websites and also reached out to Karim Mawani, who is listed on LinkedIn as the director of HotelsWhiz.com. When Sullivan made a phone call to the number listed on the HotelsWhiz.com site it was answered by a call center in the Philippines, where a woman said she worked for l-lotels.com.
In its terms and conditions HotelWhiz.com claims to be part of ian.com, which redirects to a website owned by Expedia explaining its affiliate marketing program, the Expedia Affiliate Network.That program pays a commission to website operators who integrate Expedia’s inventory of hotel listings into custom-built websites to sell more bookings.
Although initially Google didn’t want to comment, the tech company did eventually tell Sullivan that they were aware of the problem and working to fix the links so that they point to the correct URLs.
Read the full account over on Search Engine Land, and make sure to check your Google listings on Google+ to make sure that your property or company wasn’t affected. If you do notice a false URL, contact Google directly to get your link cleaned up.