Vladyslav Lysenko looked over the damage to his egg warehouse outside of Kiev one month after Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. The majority of his merchandise had been destroyed by Russian soldiers who had occupied the property for several weeks.
While working to assist internally displaced people, he met Ukrainian “MasterChef” finalist Ivan Kozyr, who inspired him to start a restaurant.
They debuted Svitlo Café in May, a modernist Ukrainian eatery in the basement of a landmark structure set back from the street in the roads of the city of Dnipro.
But, opening a restaurant during a conflict presents several difficulties. Curfews, staff shortages, logistical challenges in getting produce across the nation, and a radically altered digital environment are all present.
When Lysenko attempted to add the eatery to Google Maps, he was informed that no new business locations were being added in any part of his country because of the fighting.
The Ukrainian Parliament issued a petition on social media in the days following Russia’s invasion, pleading with Google to impose restrictions on its map program because “Russian terrorists utilize tags on Google maps to alter bombing locations.”
A Google spokeswoman told CBS News that the tech giant only removed these safeguards for the majority of Ukraine’s regions last week, allowing users like Lysenko to designate their locations, list their businesses, link to websites, and post reviews.
Online Visibility for Ukrainian Businesses
Despite being hundreds of kilometers from the front lines, Roman Batyrenko, the co-owner of Nonna Macarona in Chernivtsi, a city in western Ukraine, encountered the same problem. He had long wanted to build a restaurant, and in 2020 he finally did it.
Nonna Macarona finally opened in July, delivering new jobs to a community that, like the rest of the nation, desperately needs them. According to Ukraine’s National Statistical Agency, the invasion by Russia reduced the nation’s GDP by 29.1% in 2022.
Batyrenko claimed that although the restaurant was operating and advertising on other websites, he and his partner were keen to see it appear on Google.
Customers can readily find Nonna Macarona on Google Maps as of Tuesday, making it possible for them to leave the ratings Batyrenko claimed were essential for any firm to succeed.
Lysenko was also “shocked” to discover that other business-focused digital marketing platforms, such as TripAdvisor, forbid reviews in the Ukrainian language.
As a result, anyone seeking to write a review of a Ukrainian establishment must do so in a different language, such as Russian or English.
According to TripAdvisor, which claims to operate in 43 markets and accept evaluations in 22 languages, including several that are spoken natively in nations smaller than Ukraine, it does not “have the ability to serve every language, including Ukrainian,” according to CBS News.
Source: CBS News