When large companies don’t research their customers

When large companies don’t research their customers

One Google’s features that I use the most is the Alert feature. I’ve got roughly fifty different search terms that I have setup. One of those terms is “Fort Rock” in reference to the location here in Oregon where some important archeological discoveries have been made.

Every once in a while something interesting comes across. But for the most part the search results simply make me scratch my head.

For those dear readers who have not been through Fort Rock, nor seen pictures, let me describe it. The “rock” itself is actually a ring of volcanically formed basalt created by gaseous bubbles that came up under a prehistoric ocean that covered pretty much all of Eastern Oregon, Eastern Washington Idaho, large portions of Montana and several hundred miles into British Columbia.

The entire portion now called Eastern Oregon is sparsely populated High Desert. The “town” of Fort Rock consists of a museum of old buildings gathered together and preserved. There is an RV park that is next to the State Park. There is a building that’s been converted into some apartments. And there is a non-descript warehouse along with a couple of older houses and a Post Office. A few farms surround the town, but past that it’s over fifty miles to pretty much anything else.

So I’m always surprised when I get Google Alert Searches from companies such as Dex that say there are over twenty metal roofing companies in the area. The search results are even more puzzling when it’s something like “laser hair removal.”

This is not limited to just Dex, I’ve seen it with multiple companies who simply take a list of all towns in the State and blanket add it to their databases. I’ve seen it with all kinds of companies selling all kinds of products. It gets worse when these companies use a list of geographic city names that they found on the Internet themselves. For Oregon specifically there is a list of “cities” in the State complete with Longitude and Latitude. But a good portion of the cities don’t even exist any more. They just crumbled away as people moved to bigger cities and those left behind died of old age.

Blitzen, Oregon is one such place. There isn’t a town sign. There are not any old buildings around. If there was even a cemetery at one time, it’s been forgotten and lost. Yet according to good old Internet I can find all kinds of services “near” or in Blitzen, Oregon. Doctors, Lawyers, Gas Stations, Fine Dining, Five Star Hotels, etc, etc. Enough that if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was the largest city in Oregon.

I’m all for companies making money. I just wish that they would invest a tiny bit more time into fact checking and research. Doing so would make their results more accurate and more importantly, much more trustworthy.