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Q: How easy is to remove a genuine review on Google Places?
A: Apparently VERY EASY!

Today I went through my Google Places reviews and was shocked to see how many of them have been suspended. It's as if somebody went to my profile and flagged things at random.

I would like a community manager / product manager from Google Reviews to explain why. I've reviewed the criteria* for removing reviews and determined that the following listings were not in breach of any of your guidelines:

https://plus.google.com/110358048817493336209
https://plus.google.com/100948989387932023219
https://plus.google.com/105330735760386809046
https://plus.google.com/117088333475631002524
https://plus.google.com/105379371133555588477

If it's this easy to take down a genuine review then you're opening up a Pandora's box where business owners hire spammers to flag honest reviews. I suggest you put in more effort into your evaluation process.

Note: One of my reviews was in breach of the guidelines and I accept that, no complaints there.

*https://support.google.com/plus/answer/2622994?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=2624941

#nothappy  
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Dennis Seymour's profile photoAlex Monckton's profile photoGiovanni Rosso's profile photoJade Wang's profile photo
34 comments
 
Yep same issue as marking a place as closed. Far too easy, Foursquare uses human users which I think helps
 
I have the same problem as you +Dan Petrovic  But I'm not a spammer, my opinions are true ... :/
 
Hi Dan. I am not sure of the reviews yet but verified Google places can be altered from map maker. Will have a poke around today after I finish correcting Google places that spammers have messed with. LOOPhole waiting to be exploited but they do not seem bothered in closing it.
 
Third parties being able to edit a verified business listing is a real problem, absolutely.

Recently we found out that some of our hotel profiles web addresses were updated to use an affiliate website of one of the major American OTAs.

Not to mention Google Places autobots adding/editing information in a business listing on their own accord. For instance a while ago we had a central reservation phone number appear in a hotel business listing yet the Google Places profile was correct & verified.

Google Places really needs a notification centre of some sort, so that changes being made to a verified listing are clearly visible.

I wouldn't mind Google Places autobots adding/editing information on your business listing if you get a chance to approve the edit/update -- akin to what happens with LinkedIn and people endorsing you for a skill.
 
Google autobot 3 is far worse then the autobot 4.

Unable to see reviews, they have not migrated across to my Google Accounts yet ? 
 
Places is still a mess. We had a call from them recently to verify our details after a name change. Seconds later they had marked us as closed. We've managed to get it marked as under review, but it's been a couple of weeks already.

Their data has become too important to be that badly managed.
 
+Mat Bennett ain't that the truth 'their data has become too important to be that badly managed'.

The impact this has on business is huge and I'm sure businesses would be happy to pay Google a small fee to have the whole Google Local product suite professionally managed and supported... It's currently a total train wreck. 
 
I can see a common pattern in all your flagged reviews ... they are too short. 
Perhaps I'm wrong, but leaving two lines saying "this is the best experience I have ever had", doesn't sound a very nice and positive review.

Try to explain your sensation, describe your emotions ... damn. A review should take at least 10 minutes of your time, not 40 secs.
 
All my 1 liner comments have been approved. I have had 1 comment flagged, surprisingly it was the longest one.

The only thing that may have flagged it, was  within the 1st sentence i mentioned, Best wedding photographers. I have just removed that and it has been approved.

Not sure if that was the trigger ?
 
+Andrea Moro 
A review should take at least 10 minutes

Why?

Emotions and Experiences are not necessarily something I need to express in a lot of time, but in the blink of an eye.
 
+Dan Petrovic well, as a user I will mark down all useless reviews like that one. Sorry but I need to understand whether I will eat decently in that restaurant (if this is a restaurant).
 
+Andrea Pernici ok, maybe not necessarily 10 minutes sharp, but as I said to Dan ... just reading this is shit it doesn't sound enough to me. And also, writing a review while being sit on a table, it's not the best way or time to write, because you may be not got the overall experience and you are in a too early stage to assess and write. 
I personally write my reviews giving some context, and explaining the circumstances, regardless they are good or bad.
But that's me. I may be wrong as I said ... but in a more social world this should be factored.

Try to think to a chat with a friend of yours ... about a restaurant. Does it really cut short in 3 words? Or 2 lines.... no you just elaborate your thoughts ... why not doing the same online? After all we haven't been trimeed to 140 chars, are we?
 
A great Pizza is great...there's nothing to add for me if not "The best Pizza ever".

If one of my friend ask to me where to eat a Pizza I'll tell him: "Go to the XXX".

Why you need more if you trust me?

What I want to say is that is not necessary to always use lots of words to describe what is good and what is bad.

If I'm a trusted user you should believe in me even if I write 1 word.
 
90% of my reviews are written on my phone and while at the place as I check into it or take a photo. I don't have time to either write nor read long reviews. I like when people get to the point.
 
+Dan Petrovic wasn't ment to convince you changing your way though :D
BTW the one you read is a check-in not a review. 
 
+Andrea Moro +Dan Petrovic  I see both sides of your argument RE: review length, but I give it to Dan.  Only reason is the wisdom of crowds. If I see one eloquent review of five paragraph length berating a product - but note over 40 positive ones of short length.  Usually I go with the 40 positive because that is a larger sample size, i.e. real user testing.  Of course, the whole original issues with quality control RE: reviews comes in at this point.

In that discussion, I am much more in Amazon's camp then Yelps.  Allow almost all reviews, but make it known which reviews actually comes from someone who purchased the products.  For services this might just mean a checkin via Google+ account while at the stated location.  What you think?
 
+Sean Fitzpatrick there are clear different angles that were not covered in a +Dan Petrovic post initially.
If I'm a buyer, and this is made clear I can accept a few lines review, because implicitly as a third party viewer I know the chap on the other side is offering some advice on his experience regardless how long it will be.

On a google+ side or even tripadvisor, where there is not certainty I rested / eaten / bought something there, this is much more complicate and even a larger sample of reviews (positive or negative) may be faked up. 

I trust you read about people buying reviews on service like gumtree or skillpages, haven't you.
So let's say that as a business owner I want to play dirty games, I will get one guy to create 40 profiles hang around for a week with different IPs and post reviews .... would that be a synonym the review is genuine? 
In my case it won't be ... that's my point IMHO.
 
+Dan Petrovic, I took a quick look at the reviews that have been marked as spam. As you've noted, some of them were taken down for clear guideline violation (such as reviewing your own business). We'll take a look at the others. Thanks, +Mike Blumenthal for the heads up.
 
1) I can guarantee that it isn't review length that is causing the problem with the reviews showing. 
2)I believe that the bots and the issues they cause have been mostly done away with with the new MapMaker Upgrade (see http://blumenthals.com/blog/2013/11/27/google-mapmaker-update-summary-one-database-to-rule-them-all/)
3)I am not a Google fan boy but I would say that we are nearing the end of the train wreck stage (http://blumenthals.com/blog/2012/11/29/google-local-train-wreck-at-the-junction/) and are rapidly moving into a relatively stable development timeframe.

There are still some kinks in the transition from old dashboard to new, old indexing system to the new knowledge graph, old data pipelines to new pipelines and moving towards a single trusted repository of local data but it is happening. Google has essentially been rolling these upgrades out to local in real time while keeping the results showing. The transition has been going on for almost two years and is nearing some sort of terminus if not an end. 

These issues are none of what +Dan Petrovic was writing about. He is writing about review spam algos that have singled him out. 

The spam review algo, like all algos, is a broad stroke of coding that attempts to show good reviews and minimize the showing of fake reviews.... It is a broad stroke that breaks down when analyzed at a very granular level.... it is crude as are most big data algos when dealing with the vagaries of human behaviors.

Too crude in this case and hopefully someone from Google will take a look. (Oops I didn't see +Jade Wang comment when I was writing this. Thanks for taking a look.)
 
Google Places just won't work until Google  make a clear distinction between it being  a Maps product or a Marketing product.

Most small business owners consider it a marketing product (effectively a form of a business listings) where as the initial purpose was for it to be a Maps product (a listing of physical places on a map)

Google need to decide;

Is it for the initial Maps team at Google trying to provide a Maps service.

Is it for the marketing team at Google to obtain data about small businesses and provide a marketing tool.

The battle between the 2 has been going on too long now.
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