Google Places: Google Confirms New Review Removal Practices



Google Employee Stephan S has just posted this in the Places Forum post to report “missing” reviews confirming that Google has started to remove reviews (bold is mine):

As mentioned in this forum previously, we’re currently experiencing an issue that is preventing us from showing some reviews on Place pages. We’re working to correct this issue as soon as possible, and apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused some of you.

However, please remember that there are various reasons why reviews may not appear. We’re continuing to do our best to ensure that the reviews in our system are legitimate and high-quality. To protect both business owners and customers, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews, and with the revised review policies we released a few months ago (see below) we have taken a stronger stance against spam and other forms of abuse. So while some of you are seeing less reviews because of the aforementioned error, many of you are experiencing removed reviews because they have been removed by our systems. We acknowledge that sometimes our algorithms may flag and remove legitimate reviews in our effort to combat abuse, but believe that overall, these measures are helping to ensure that the reviews appearing on Place pages are authentic, relevant and useful.

References:
Review Posting Guidelines & Policy (Help Articles)

Google has finally released a public statement about their stance on reviews. It is not clear to me, as David Mihm pointed out, that they have either the PR machinery or customer support structure in place to deal with the coming fury….

Here are some other recent articles that have dealt with the review issues on Google Places

Last week I noted that Google was no longer showing some reviewers names: Google Places – Reviewer Names No Longer Showing. Feature or Bug?

From Wednesday: Google Places – Are Reviews Now Being Filtered?

Thursday: Google Places: Selective Reviews Now Being Removed

In aggregate these indicate a huge shift in policy for Google. Previously they allowed ALL review information into Places with no concern for quality of the review or the reviewer.

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