This is a cautionary tale about information and how easily we can lose control over our brand/image/name.  Cautionary from the viewpoint that if we put “noise, comments, images” on the internet – redacting, changing and correcting can be a long process.   Even when you didn’t do it!  So, beware what you post, others post about you and your business and even what your paid advertising is posting about you.  Solution – still in the works.

From 2000-2004, Changing Lanes paid for a yellow page listing under the heading “Business Consultants“.  Now, I know that yellow pages is generic for business directories, but this was the book that was part of our telephone service from AT&T.  We would be listed alphabetically by our business name along with the category listing.  When we first got this listing, if someone thought they wanted to find our number in the book, they would go to “C” for Changing Lanes and NOT find us.

Why?  Because, AT&T felt strongly that our business name was Lanes, Changing – you know, like Chemical, Sun; or Corning, Owens; or Nobles, Barnes.  Right?

The Customer Contact (service is not a word I’d use) person said that it would be corrected when we renewed our service the following year and they would give us 6 months financial credit towards the renewal because it wasn’t their fault, it was ours because we agreed our business name was two words.  The following year, when reviewing our listing under “Business Consultants” it was NOT there because we were now under Funeral Consultants.  Now, I know that growing a small business is risky, but really, funeral consultants?  At this point, we did not renew our yearly hassle of having a listing in the yellow pages sponsored by AT&T.

I’d like to think that it stopped there, but sometime in 2005, we started getting calls asking when we had open bowling.  Of course, we politely informed these callers that we were not a bowling alley and started asking where they found this listing.  Well, it was everywhere on the internet.  Even though we had claimed many of our internet listings, some, no matter how often we changed them, information from the original source is always re-added.

After much frustration, I, Linda, spent one afternoon ferreting all these listings out and found that most went back to AT&T Yellow Pages online.  I eventually talked with someone that said it would take several months but it would happen. MapQuest was one of these locations that even though I could change/claim our business, I could not change the bowling alley designation because it was Yellow Pages that gave MapQuest the information.

Well, last week, we got the below email – but don’t get to excited because – we are still a bowling alley and although they list the business consultant part, too, the only thing that we cannot change on the edit dashboard at MapQuest is bowling alley.  MapQuest can’t change it because it is provided by AT&T.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.   Changing Lanes MapQuest Listing


Your Listing Is Now Live on MapQuest!
Congratulations! Your listing for Changing Lanes LLC is now live on MapQuest.

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Small business is small, and all we can do is vote with our dollars, so even though AT&T may have a superior cable service or phone service, my experience with them on this simple issue has clouded my view of their world.   I’m just glad it was only a bowling center and at least now there are other designations on our MapQuest category listing.

Give us your thoughts on fixing this recurring issue or maybe the likelihood of Maumee, Ohio needing another Bowling Alley?