Correct way to mark change of business brand - Shell > Z (New Zealand)

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Kev Hardie

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Oct 22, 2012, 4:38:04 PM10/22/12
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Background:

Quite a while ago (years) Shell sold their New Zealand service stations to a company called Greenstone Energy.
Greenstone Energy had a licence to continue to use the Shell brand for a while.
Over the last year or so, the service stations have been rebranded to Z service stations.

The general pattern is that a site is known as either " Z <suburb>" or "Z <road name>" and was based on the previous "Shell <suburb>" or "Shell <road name>"

What is the correct treatment of this rebranding in Mapmaker? Some of the sites use the same listing and have the Z name as primary and the Shell name as obscure, while other sites have the Shell listing marked as closed and a new Z listing created, and others still have the Shell listing only.

According to the Kodak discussion, it appears that the correct method is the mark the Shell listing as closed and then duplicate all of the information over to a Z listing with the only difference being the new name?

And even though the Shell name is a historic name, it appears that it should not be added as an obscure name because otherwise it will be listed as a duplicate?

Is there a tool that can be used to duplicate the listing information? It seems that often a new listing is created with the new branding but a lot less information.

Is there anything that needs to be done to the original listing so that when someone ends up there and sees the "this place is closed" message, they know that there is still a business on that site providing the same services, ie something that tells them that there is still a service station there rather than an electronic store?

Thanks
Kev


Andrew Sawyer

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Oct 22, 2012, 4:53:03 PM10/22/12
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Kev, great post. I will summarize that the help file for Names states that business name changes require marking the old business as closed and create a new one. In the circumstance you describe the business name has changed from Shell to Z. This requires a new feature for all of the gas stations. There currently isn't any tool for making this happen. The Issue Tracker would be a good place to lobby for such a change. Using Obscure as an historic name isn't permitted for businesses. The Shell listings should all be edited to be made current (how they were when the name changed) and then marked as closed. There will be a message saying a business has closed, relocated or changed names. It doesn't forward to the new business. I hope this clears things up confirms that all of the Shells need to be changed by hand.
From: General Map Maker on behalf of Kev Hardie <google-mapmaker+noreply-APn2wQdb...@googlegroups.com>
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Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2012 13:38:04 -0700 (PDT)
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Subject: Correct way to mark change of business brand - Shell > Z (New Zealand)
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Kev Hardie

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Oct 24, 2012, 4:23:21 PM10/24/12
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Hi Andrew,

I have just come across this page in the help file (couldn't find it when I was searching for rebranding before)
http://support.google.com/mapmaker/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1065792

There is obviously some scope for a listing to remain open if there is a less than complete name change and if it is not accompanied by a significant change in services.

As you said, the Shell listings are clearly required to be marked as closed since Shell > Z is a complete name change.

Hmmm, 200+ services stations to locate, edit, close, create new listing........
I guess I start with the one just down the road :)


On Tuesday, October 23, 2012 9:53:31 AM UTC+13, Andrew Sawyer wrote:
Kev, great post. I will summarize that the help file for Names states that business name changes require marking the old business as closed and create a new one. In the circumstance you describe the business name has changed from Shell to Z. This requires a new feature for all of the gas stations. There currently isn't any tool for making this happen. The Issue Tracker would be a good place to lobby for such a change. Using Obscure as an historic name isn't permitted for businesses. The Shell listings should all be edited to be made current (how they were when the name changed) and then marked as closed. There will be a message saying a business has closed, relocated or changed names. It doesn't forward to the new business. I hope this clears things up confirms that all of the Shells need to be changed by hand.
From: General Map Maker on behalf of Kev Hardie <google-...@googlegroups.com>

Flash

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Oct 24, 2012, 8:56:39 PM10/24/12
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Just an FYI so you understand why this is done; information sticks around on the internet and in databases for years.  So going forward, bots will find references to Shell being at these locations.  If you change the name to Z, the bots will update the POIs with the Shell name (either adding it so there are two names, or completely replacing the Z name) or it will create brand new Shell POIs co-located with the Z POIs.  If you were to delete the Shell POIs, they would get recreated.  When you properly mark them closed, the POIs continue to exist but get hidden on the map.  As information about Shell is found in the future, it gets fed into these closed POIs, and not into your new Z POIs.

There is still the possibility that brand new references to the Shell locations will be found in the future as Google searches more sources, and maybe some of them will differ enough from the hidden Shell POIs that new POIs get created.  This is how we end up with duplicates of existing features, and in those cases we mark them as duplicates.  But if you see new POIs created for the Shells in the future, just mark those closed also.

Spoon Guard

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Mar 19, 2013, 8:02:44 AM3/19/13
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This doesn't seem like a very user-friendly way to do this. Should I leave Map-maker to some furious Spam-Bot, who thinks that "closed" means "undergone any minor change in name?"

Flash

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Mar 19, 2013, 11:36:07 AM3/19/13
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There is no such thing as a minor name change.  Name changes are major things; and have always been so long before Maps or even Google came along.  A companies reputation and goodwill is connected to its name, and so any change in it should be very carefully weighed.  This is why so many companies have been operating under the same name for decades, even though the name might not be something that would be selected in modern times.

Assuming they know what they are doing and/or have sought expert advice, a name change is only done when there are clear benefits that outweigh the negatives.  To be clear, there is and always have been negatives to a name change.  But the company might want to distance itself from past mistakes, it might be moving in a new direction, or it might no longer have the right to use the old name and the goodwill that goes with that name.  That is for the company itself to decide if the many negatives are outweighed by the positives, and if they've made that decision then they've accepted the negatives.

This name change, for example, would almost surely be that either there owners want a fresh start (perhaps to distance themselves from the bad press Shell often gets) or that the owners no longer have the rights to the Shell name.  For the first scenario they don't want that name associated with them anymore, and for the second they don't have the right to have it associated.  In both cases the method used in Map Maker actually reflects reality.

If a correction is needed because the name never was exactly right, that is then minor and you would do it within the existing POI.

Could you explain your comment about a spam-bot?  How do you foresee 3rd party bots being involved with this scenario?
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Spoon Guard

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Mar 19, 2013, 12:23:51 PM3/19/13
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Perhaps "Mechanical Turk" would have been a better metaphor. The "Spam-bot" reference was to the 1st-party bots who cannot seem to be prevented from spewing old information into the map databases.

I can appreciate the need to recognise discontinuities in branding. But expecting Human Editors (Me) to trash perfectly good establishments and replace them with near exact duplicates for want of a name change to appease some idiot bot, is lunacy. We have not been given the duplication or automation tools to do this efficiently. And of the tools we have, applying this strange policy is counter-intuitive at best, unbearably tedious at worst.

There is also a cultural argument to be made against this policy. It sounds like this policy is in place to accommodate those touchy US corporates stuck in maelstrom of PR and Litigation. Things might be different here. All the large rebranding exercises that I can think of in my area come down to one factor: Cost. For instance, the Z Energy brand exists so that this particular company doesn't have to pay franchising fees to Shell Oil International. Shell Petrol doesn't have a reputation that is any worse than the other players in this market. I suspect if they had not been pseudo-nationalised we would still have Shell.

This name change policy is for bulk-uploading bots to implement. I cannot do it, and I am fine with that. If I wait long enough, Skynet will fix these issues :p

DdDave

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Mar 19, 2013, 2:27:58 PM3/19/13
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If there is indeed some cultural issues going on, you need to keep in mind the Google is an American company, and it's their product.  We need to follow their guidelines, even if we don't agree with them 100%.

The reason that some of the bots "cannot seem to be prevented from spewing old information into the map databases" is because people do not mark features closed correctly.  If you just change the name, then you are CAUSING the bots to spew old information.  The correct way to prevent it is to close it and make a new POI.

I agree we don't have all of the same tools as the Google editors, but we can only use what we are given.  If you think it's too tedious, then it's better to just leave them alone then to change the names incorrectly, causing future issues with the bots.

Flash

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Mar 19, 2013, 4:03:44 PM3/19/13
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If the company stopped paying a franchising fee, then yes, their POIs should be completely disassociated from the listings that would come up if you did search Shell.

And as Dave said, if you don't do it this way, then the bots will in the future change the name back to Shell because the POI is still associated with all the references to that name.  So the next time a database with the Shell name is re-indexed, then name gets changed back.  But if you close that POI and open a new one, the new one isn't associated with those references and doesn't get changed.  The procedure is designed to prevent the spewing of old information.

Kev Hardie

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Apr 28, 2013, 2:41:25 AM4/28/13
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Same Spoonguard messing with this listing?

I actually expect Human Editors NOT to trash perfectly good establishment listings, but instead that Spoonguard hijacked a perfectly good listing for the RSA and changed it to one for the restaurant. This may cause merging problems in the future between the RSA and the restaurant inside.

Now, despite declaring their ignorance about what RSL actually stands for, they have deleted the category RSL (which is selected from the drop down list) and added RSA (which is not in the list)
RSL = Returned Services League
RSA = Returned Services Association
Both mean the same thing, just local variations.

The instructions are to "Choose an appropriate category for your feature to ensure that the place is displayed with an appropriate icon and color code in the Map view."

In this case, Google knows what an RSL is, but doesn't know what an RSA is.
So calling it an RSL will give it the appropriate icon etc on Maps. Calling it an RSA will not.

RSL does not conflict with local NZ terms.
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