15 January 2014 - 2:05pm | posted by

Google may have been compromised by an 'inside job' after third party alleged to have altered thousands of business listings

Google may have been compromised by an “inside job” after a third party altered settings on the tech giant’s Google+ hotel listings to divert users to an external commercial site instead of the correct business URLs, it has been claimed. Google uses its verfied Google+ listings to inform its Google Maps and Google search services, meaning that any user clicking on links on a range of services would be re-directed to websites ‘Roomstobook.net’ and ‘Roomstobook.info’, which then referred users on to third-party booking services such as Hotelswhiz.com. While individual users of Google+ can have some access to altering information for business of place listings, it’s thought that a problem on such a big scale could point towards the culprit being within Google itself. Matthew Hoff of PR company Merkle told the Guardian: “My prediction is, this was an inside job with someone at Google. Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but any and all modified URLs have to be okay’ed by a Maps moderator.” The problem was uncovered by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land who revealed the information in a blog posting.

Featured by The Drum