Breaking: Walmart Accidentally Closes 100’s of Stores

Don’t worry, your supply of $0.24 Ramen and  is still available. It just appears that someone or a system accidentally listed a lot of Walmart locations as permanently closed.

In an attempt to find some cheap folding chairs for Granular in Milwaukee, Walmart was naturally on the short list of stores. Upon searching, we discovered that ALL Walmart locations in Milwaukee were listed on Google Maps as PERMANENTLY CLOSED. Knowing this was wrong, I immediately started searching for Walmart stores in other cities across the US. Many of those were closed as well.

We’re an official YEXT partner as well as an official Google GYBO partner, so we often help our PPC clients fix or add their local listings. We know our way around local listings, but this discovery was pretty shocking.

Top Theories:

  1. Someone internally or their local listing agency did a mass update via Google’s Maps API or a bulk change within the Business Manager and accidentally listed dozens or 100’s of locations as permanently closed.
  2. Someone was on their way out and maliciously marked all of them as closed, pulling the ultimate Office Space move.
  3. Google had a “glitch”. Their system is setup to collect signals of business being closed based on user behavior. So if they got signals that showed the locations closed, they may have automatically changed it on the business’ behalf. Those updates are published until the account owner either approves or denies the change.

Local Search Results for Walmart (showing closed stores):

Milwaukee:

milwaukee local listings

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New Jersey:

new jersey local listing management

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Minneapolis:

local SEO listing closed minneapolis

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Seattle:

walmart seattle Google listing closed

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Google Map Maker View:

Google map maker

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I’m sure that this will all be resolved soon enough. But if it was a glitch or malicious, the impact could be much worse for a smaller and less sophisticated retailer.
Have another theory or do you know what really happened? Leave your thoughts below!
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About the Author

Jordon Meyer

Jordon Meyer is the Founder and President of Granular. With over 12 years of hands-on paid search marketing experience, he's one of the most experienced PPC experts in the Midwest. His experience comes from both agency and client-side work, from small digital agencies to running the day-to-day PPC on the internal marketing team at Best Buy. He started Granular out of the demand for his work and the overall need for a laser-focused PPC agency.