Google puts La Jolla back on the map

By Kathy Day

Staff Writer

As recently as last Wednesday, if you wanted to find La Jolla hotel or restaurant on Google, you had to take a detour through Orange County.

Much to the chagrin of at least two local hoteliers, when search terms “La Jolla hotels” or “La Jolla restaurants” were entered, an apparent glitch that popped up a Google map of the Orange County communities of Placentia and Yorba Linda and a link to “Local business results for (either hotels or restaurants) near La Jolla Placentia, CA.”

The problem was even noted on Andrew Shotland’s blog,


“It’s official. The jewel of San Diego, La Jolla, once nestled on a prime stretch of Pacific, has taken root in a new exciting? Location. With the help of Google and its location-based search, La Jolla, rated by Robb Report as the Best Place to Live in America, has uprooted itself from its San Diego base and found itself in Fullerton, California.”

And, until Sept. 9, Peter Wagener at Hotel Parisi and Leslie Araiza of the Grande Colonial Hotel — concerned that their establishments would lose bookings as a result — said they had no luck in to their efforts to get it fixed.

The Light had also contacted Google several times and turned to


, a La Jolla Web development and search engine optimization company, for an explanation.

Josh Vickers said Thursday that they have a number of clients who are dependent on the La Jolla-Google connection, particularly those in the restaurant business.

“Sometimes the only way to get google to listen is to embarrass them. In this case they embarrassed themselves. So we found a megaphone — it can pay to have a big mouth,” Vickers said with a chuckle.

Their contacts apparently paid off. A week after they began their efforts and a day after The Light and Araiza posted the matter on Google’s Help forum at Shotland’s suggestion, the problem disappeared.

When told that the apparent glitch had been fixed,

Wagener responded, “Wow. Wow.”

Araiza’s reaction was similar: “Really?”

Ariaza, who noted that she and her counterpart at Hotel Parisi first learned about the problem nine months ago, had said on Sept. 8 that “getting any response from Google is like pulling teeth.”

Initially, she said, they were not having the same problem. She would see the error but the Parisi folks weren’t “so we just assumed it was a problem with her computer.”

But when they both started searching and came up with the same results, they took screen shots and sent them to Google as well as e-mailed and called them.

Wagener said he too had “tried everything,” including talking to Google’s advertising staff, again with no results.

“It’s hopeless — Google is a big gray mass,” he said the day before the fix was made.

Now instead of Placentia, searchers are directed to La Jolla in its rightful place on the San Diego County coast.