If things weren’t already tough enough for small, local, independent businesses… Google just made it worse for independent computer repair shops like ours to reach potential customers. Google now bans “Third-party consumer technical support” providers (like us), and only allows companies that make the product or have signed agreements with computer manufacturers, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, ASUS, etc to advertise to potential customers. We’re not exactly sure how this isn’t against US Antitrust laws, though doing a search online for “Google Antitrust” and almost 19 million results get returned… so it seems that Google is no stranger in this department.
Now… if you do a search on why Google is barring computer repair companies from advertising, they say that it’s because of the sheer number of scam companies that are placing ads on their system targetting consumers for computer repair. Sounds reasonable… until you talk with Google and find out that the only companies allowed to advertise computer repair are the manufacturer of the product or a company that is lucky enough to have a signed agreement with all those manufacturers. Some articles have stated that Google is planning on rolling out some verification process to verify that you’re a legitimate business… though, that’s been since August 31st, 2018 and still no verification process (to verify you’re not a fraudulent company) over 7-months later.
Why is this bad for consumers? Similar to auto repair… getting repairs done through an “authorized dealer” or the manufacturer directly tends to be considerably more costly. Additionally, this creates a perceived lack of consumer options as well as an environment of consumer distrust seeing that 90% of consumers are influenced by advertising as consumers see that a company that is able to advertise as being more reputable vs one that is not.
What can you do to help? Great question… tell people about us (André even has new business cards if you want to hand them out to people), leave reviews on sites for us, support LOCAL media like Natural Awakenings Twin Cities (we are long-time advertisers with them as they support many of the same values we do), like us on Facebook and Twitter… and like and share our posts with friends.