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Google Reviews Disappeared!?!?!? What's the deal?

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by andwrig, Aug 13, 2012.

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  1. andwrig

    andwrig
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    Vinart Dealerships
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    Has anyone been able to figure out Google Reviews and the impact of Google+ on getting reviews? We recently switched to asking people to submit reviews to Google instead of Dealerrater but we are having little to no success whereas before we were doing great with Dealerrater. Moreover, I have a friend who's store had a huge bank of Google Reviews built up with a very high rating. Recently, the majority of his reviews disappeared (he went from 300+ to 15) and his score dropped precipitously. Does anyone know what's going on?
     
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  3. brianpasch

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    I have 20+ dealers that have lost reviews. I have been working with Google to get some answers. As soon as I get the answers I will share them here. It seems that about 10 days ago they implemented something that whacked good reviews from upstanding dealers.
     
  4. andwrig

    andwrig
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    Ok great thanks Brian. It sure seems like Google+ is a complete cluster...
     
  5. Agrrip

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    My dealership was hit very hard. We went from 125 reviews (24/30 rating) to 21 reviews (0/30). They axed ALL of our positive reviews and none of the negative reviews. We have been fighting every day since then to get our reviews back. No word yet.
     
  6. yagoparamo

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    Same here, some of my dealers got hit.

    Note to Brian Pash: My brother in law is a Google engineer high up in the ladder. I'll share info with you as soon as I get some answers.
     
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  7. ryan.leslie

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    This came up a couple of days ago on Refresh here.

    Mike Blumenthal released information on this about 2 weeks ago and the comment thread has been growing rapidly over the last few days. I've had the pleasure of talking with Mike on occasion via phone and email and can personally tell you he is a very, very smart guy with tremendous insight on this topic. Here is a link to his post:
    Google+ Local And Review Issues | Understanding Google Places & Local Search


    According to Mike, Google has labeled car dealers as having particularly "spammy" Google reviews and it looks like they've applied a very aggressive algorithm to ferret out "spammy" content. I asked Mike when this came out why he felt that Dealers were singled out. Here is his response:


    1. [​IMG] @Ryan
      I can’t share with you the specifics of why Google thinks that most car dealership reviews are spammy. The details of the conversation were under NDA. I assume though that they have looked at a lot and have solid grounds for their understanding of the situation.
      The ones that I have looked appear to be guilty of either the misuse of on site terminals to gather reviews or the use of third parties to post feedback cards as reviews.
      Comment by Mike (2497 comments) — July 30, 2012 @ 4:49 pm


    "Impersonation" broke Google's TOU from day 1. Although it isn't necessarily prohibited in the TOU, in-store collection seems to be a strong contributing factor to the removal of this content. See below for a single anecdotal story from the link above:


    1. @Mike
      I have read many of the comments on this thread and see that alot are having this same issue. I am with a Car Dealership and we had 100 reviews and a week and a half ago, we were left with only 3 bad reviews! Bad ones:-( It was like they took all the good reviews and threw them away…it really stinks. We did ask our customers to write us a review but I didnt think that was wrong? I’m just confused because everyone is saying how horrible it is to ask customers to write one. We ask EVERYONE, they could write a good or bad review we never know until they write it, I dont understand why that would be bad. It appears that now that the customer has to have a Google+ account in order to write a review? Is that correct?

      On the other side, I ALWAYS read reviews about places/products before i try/buy and now I dont know if I am reading all the reviews or just the “bad” or “good” ones that Google picked. I have to search harder to find reviews also which stinks because I used to be able to just search the item or place and it would pop up.
      Thanks for helping us out on this issue!
      TIA,
      Kristina

      Comment by ______(2 comments) — August 13, 2012 @ 2:43 pm
    2. [​IMG] @Kristina
      I am curious did you ask and have the clients do the reviews while on your premises?
      Comment by Mike Blumenthal (1338 comments) — August 13, 2012 @ 2:51 pm
    3. [​IMG] @ Mike
      Yes we did…we had an Ipad that was passed around the dealership in Service and Sales. We asked if they wanted to write a review when they were finished and most said No, But over the past year and a half we got 100 reviews…I think our total reviews before Google deleted them was 103.

      Comment by _______ (2 comments) — August 13, 2012 @ 3:03 pm
     
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  8. yagoparamo

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    Google did this before... allowed in-store collection of reviews then changed their tune (deleted tons of reviews) then changed back probably due to lots of small biz complaining (not just automotive).

    Bottom line is that no-one has the answer yet about what to do/how to do it/what rules to set up/etc so I'm guessing that Google is trying to figure out where to draw the line.
     
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  9. ddavis

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    I think that I understand this. Nobody likes dealerships. If someone writes a favorable review, on a dealership, it has to be spam. Google wants to be a spam-free zone.
     
  10. kcar

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    Same IP Review Stations = Footprint, still not a good idea to use them.
    Reviews From Same E-mail or 3rd Party = Footprint, still not good.
    Reviews naturally from people at home searching for you = Working Perfectly.

    I think dealer are leaving too many footprints, regardless of Google's acceptable "policies" they are unclear still..
    Also Google is having a TON of issues with this. Mobile + iPad, etc are having issues too, the removed review links/buttons.

    Also big problem:

    If your customers sign up with a new Google account just to leave a review, you will LOSE that review, period. From my research, the G account has to be active, e-mail, etc. + New accounts aren't aged, another problem. It's a HUGE HUGE footprint too see someone sign up, leave a review, log out and never return. NOT every uses Google+/gmail, etc.

    Google then sees 50 customers have done this, totally discredits the rest of your reviews. Wiped clean again.

    I research this stuff a TON..
     
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  11. JamesKovacs

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    kcar is correct. If the review is left from a new account and that account is not used again or often, the review is flagged (potentially removed). This is typically not an issue if your customer is using an Android device. I also believe that Google is comparing review scores on G+L to other "trusted" review sites like Yelp and City Search to see if the sentiment is close. If not, that could flag you as well. It is important to have a review strategy that includes many sources and ultimately let the consumer decide where to post.

    I have been suggesting to my dealers that they look for Android devices when soliciting reviews, and definitely ask for a G+L review. If they are not sure, or if it is a non-Android device, I suggest asking if the consumer has a Gmail account, and if the consumer does not, or is not sure, ask if they use Yelp, and if not, ask if they could leave a review on Dealer Rater, City Search, Insider Pages, or Other. This tactic is definitely working, with the goal to always go for G+L first, but have alternatives and do not push G+L too hard.
     

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