Google Places Review Bugs on the Mend

Late yesterday Google  quashed at least 3 known Places review bugs.

Reader Jeffrey Magner of TrumpetMedia reported that the nasty review bug in Google Places first seen last week that prevented anonymous reviewers from leaving reviews has been fixed. All anonymous reviewers with nicknames are now seeing a highlighted publish button and are able to leave a review.

Also, at least for some percentage of anonymous reviewers, their review history ( see my anonymous reviewer JS) is now visible. In early November, after the introduction of Hotpot and anonymous user nick names, these review histories were not viewable. In addition, the ugly bug that resulted in the 501 server error when clicking on the anonymous but not having reviews “Google User” link seems to have departed as well.

While these fixes are obvious progress not all is yet perfect in the world of Places reviews. The review history for those previous  anonymous “Google Users” that do not have nicknames are still not viewable and display now with no user name at all.

More disturbingly, for some percentage of anonymous reviewers (one of mine… who knows how many others), their reviews are visible only to them. Their review histories are visible if you are able to find them but the reviews created by them do not show on the Places Page.

I am not prepared to declare Victory in Review Land for Google. But with three bugs down and only two to go (at least on the consumer side, I will leave business side review issues for another day)…. there has been clear progress.

Here is the screen shot for Worth Smith Hardware’s Places Page in Olean. If you visit the page, JS’s reviews will be visible but WNY Reviewer’s review is only visible when that user is logged in. None of the 10 reviews in WNY Reviewer’s review history can be seen in Places.

The other good news? At this rate of gained experience I may be able to get a job as sock puppet.

Google Places Tidbits and Quirks

1. Top Contributor EHG reported in the Google Places forums yesterday that the “Report a Problem” Link has disappeared from the bottom of your Google Places Page. It is still MIA this AM:

2. Some readers reported here and on Twitter that Google was no longer allowing them to verify via phone and could only verify by postcards. When I attempted to do so yesterday, I was allowed to verify by postcard. Several possibilities:
– Google is becoming more stringent on who is allowed to phone verify in an effort to increase trust level
– Google is changing the procedure to post card verification only and certain users are seeing the changes first

Are you experiencing this limitation?

3. Several Twitter commenters (@mktgbill (Bill Allen), @DavidKyle & @KiwiMarketing) noted that they were seeing “a shift to the 7 pack + organic and away from Places/Organic mix?” As Matt McGee has pointed out there has been no discernible rhyme or reason as to which shows when and there is an increasing variety of displays. It has been so volatile that I just haven’t lost any sleep over it. I have not been tracking specific search results either so I can’t verify the observations.

Are you seeing more old style 7-Packs showing?

4. TripAdvisor Reviews are reported as once again missing in action by readers and posters to the forums. For those of you that missed the Google TripAdvisor Kerfuffle in December see this article.