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There's been a variety of discussions recently about rich snippet spam & people abusing the AggregateRating schema:

https://plus.google.com/104742159745221382810/posts/WfSRwJtJ71E
http://www.bruceclay.com/blog/2012/04/google-rich-snippet-spam/

One of the main issues raised is that of legitimacy; how is anyone supposed to trust if these reviews are genuine? I was wondering if Google would ever consider linking authorship into the review mixer.

One of the requirements could be that the reviews had to be on your site, and that they were linked through to a Google+ profile by a similar means to rel="author", it would give Google a whole extra layer of social data about the reviewer and allow them to make a judgement on legitimacy.

Whether Google actually cares about this sort of thing - who knows? But it would be a neat way to push schema and G+ at the same time.

Any thoughts SEO world?
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Dean Marsden's profile photoPatrick Hathaway's profile photoTadeusz Szewczyk's profile photoPaul Gailey Alburquerque's profile photo
6 comments
 
At the pace rich snippets get abused now they will get discontinued by the end of the year. It reminds me of SideWiki etc.
AJ Kohn
 
I think Google is interested in attaching authorship to reviews, though they're a long way away from that I think. Figuring out how to attach a reliable digital signature (bi-directional) is the task they have to tackle.

Could that help rid us of Rich Snippet Spam? If none of the reviews had authorship, I suppose you could use that as a way to suppress the hReview snippet. Or if no real reviews were found on the page. That might work.
 
I can't really believe how easy it is to abuse rich snippets like the ratings. I like your idea, Patrick, of somehow linking reviews or data to a Google+ profile, but I have no doubt this will have been thought about by the relevant Google teams.

Or maybe they are just leaving it to be 'tested' and then binned in future... Too much admin time to control it.
 
As per the discussion I linked to above on +Paul Gailey Alburquerque's wall yesterday, I definitely think that Google are allowing rich snippet spam as it is encouraging webmasters to at least get on board with structured data as it will ultimately benefit them.

I definitely agree +AJ Kohn that the digital signature issue is one of their biggest issues to make authorship work properly.
 
I think +AJ Kohn nailed this. Once a digital signature "standard" of sorts is established we're going to see a big jump in what will be available to push into SERPs via rich snippets.
 
ironically the PPC rich snippets are becoming more reliable for consumers in that the partners who enable them with Google can be bulk policed if Google see abuse. Yet consumers are conditioned to learn that organic results are purer when in some verticals organic results with rich snippets are proving a star spamfest. The authorship link +Patrick Hathaway up idea is a tempting one, but as said in this thread, possibly too far off yet whilst authorship is not sufficiently adopted. I fear at the moment in a worst case scenario, it's whack a mole at the Plex with snippet spam so long as enough ppl submit reports, until that data can be machine learned to start some sort of snippet triage for less trusty sites.
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