Update, 18 Oct 2011, 1PM EST: The rule was amended and the words “as a custom attribute” were removed. That was caused by the fact that these attributes currently do not show up on the Place pages, therefore this part of the rule did not make sense. It is a different topic if in a description limited to 200 characters the owner of the location would have the space to write about the business they rent it to.
The Quality Guidelines for Google Places were updated and a new rule was added. The guideline is from the “Ineligible Business Models” section and says:
You also can’t create a Places listing for an ongoing service, class, or meeting at a location that you don’t own or have the authority to represent. Please coordinate with your host to have your information displayed on their Place page as a custom attribute or within their Description field.
This new rule raises some concerns. If a class or meeting is happening regularly at a place, but none of the participants owns the place, does that mean that the class/meeting location should be set to some of the participants’ home address? How would that serve the purposes of the meeting or class in any way?
Furthermore, what if the location is not a business location, i.e. the actual owner does not have a Place page? And even if they have a Place page and set custom attributes, what would the point be if these custom attributes do not show up at all.
I believe this rule would rather cause more troubles and raise further questions, than solve specific problems. By invoking this rule the way they do, Google proceed their politics of providing scarce and very insufficient explanations and definitions in the Google Places Quality Guidelines. I believe at least mentioning a few examples would be a good start in the right direction.