On our radar this week: Google+ Local Issues

The disappearing reviews…

On our radar this weekGoogle+ Local is on our radar again this week as there appears to be new issues cropping up. Some users are saying that they are not able to see some customer reviews or that some of the good reviews they were relying on for “good references” are gone. Google has been having this same problem for a little while, but it seems to have gotten worse after the introduction of the new local layout.

Why is this happening? A Google forum user, treebles, has presented 2 possible explanations:

1) Users may have decided to keep reviews private.

“Reviews need to be public and the users require a Google+ profile now. Reviews written before May 31st, when this rule went into effect, are only attributed to ‘A Google user,’ but if the reviewer decided to join Google+ and keep those reviews private, then the reviews will no longer show in the new Google+ Local…”  Check the full thread.

2) Anti-Spam Algorithms.

“It seems to me that Google may have put in place some anti-spam algorithms to analyze reviews and decide if they appear publicly or not.” Check the full thread.

Zagat on Google+ Local, Good or Bad?

Another point of debate for Google+ Local users is the new Zagat rating system. This new scoring system may be causing some businesses to lose traffic (Actually there’s even a thread on Google called “Google+ is destroying my business”), while others have had and increase, but the reasons for these changes can still be somewhat unclear. There are also some users who, knowing that Zagat is restaurant- and food-based, think that Google’s new local rating system is not suitable for all business types, leading to many crying out for a revival of the old star rating system.

Reviewing reviewers

Many businesses also take issue with how reviews affect the Zagat rating, and believe reviewers should be checked for credibility and reviews moderated. This is especially important since competitors can easily post negative reviews, thereby decreasing the business’ overall score and, in essence, their customer base.

Not only can competitors sabotage your ratings, but they can also beef up their own score with fake reviews. “Bad ratings from competitors is poor form. Never had it done to me, but what I have seen is an increase in ratings on competitors’ pages from fake ratings. The customer reviewed their business and their secondary business too. It’s so obvious what’s going on.” says Kevin Rack on one of the Google Product Forums

Google should come up with a way to measure the credibility of reviewers. What do you think about this?

Feel free to join the discussion!

Do you think that Google’s new local rating system applies to your industry?

Will Google revert back to their 5-star rating system, should they?

Feel free to post your comments here.




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