Further to Mike Blumenthal's Google Local Train Wreck post and Andrew Shotland's Google and Local SMB post, both talking about the difficulties Google seems to face in effectively serving the local business community, I give you the latest incarnation of the Google Places Plus Local name - Social Local Google Plus Pages.
This was drawn to my attention in an email from Google as they tried to help with me yet more issues that are arising for my own business. To be fair, they have been extremely helpful by email - if a little sporadic.
However, even in this latest version of their local listings, Google are still penalising those local businesses who do not have a bricks and mortar shopfront. Whilst the old Google Places dashboard does allow these pages to rank, providing they check the box that does not allow their actual address to show and select 'service areas' in the form of a location radius or specified towns, the new Google Plus business pages is not currently supporting these 'service area' businesses.
Hopefully, this situation will be rectified soon bcause it seems, at best, out of touch with what is happening in the real world in terms of the number of businesses not requiring physical places of business because they always visit customers at their own locations. Customers don't necessarily want to visit their plumber on the spur of the moment, they tend to call first. It's no different to having to call your doctor to make an appointment before you pitch up at the surgery. No reservation, no doctor available - and yet health care clinics of this type can still get a local listing.