Boy, that sounds pretty dumb. Why would you want to hide your address at Google Places? Well, depending on the nature of your business you might have to.

Google has actually been calling businesses that are listed in Google Places and asking them if they serve clients at the listed address. If the answer is no, as is common for many home-based businesses and businesses that perform services at the customer’s location (think appliance repair companies as an example), then your listing in Google Places may suddenly vanish.

This happened to a potential client of ours, so we want all of our clients to know and be prepared for this. If you’re really not prepared to accept customer visits at your listed address you should hide your address in Google Places to prevent the penalty. Otherwise you may disappear from Google Places until you hide your address.

For morebackground on this change, see the excellent article at SEOmoz. It describes the odd history of this policy change at Google and provides good advice to help you decide whether to display your address.