Google Posts G+ Review Ground Rules In Black and White
I work with lots of newbie Internet Consultants and they always want a short cut to G+. Using such things as LBL Robot and other such software.
Google has printed (re-printed ?) their rules now to make it clearer, than clear.
Online reviews have been in the news a lot recently, and we at Google are committed to helping people to get ratings, reviews, and recommendations that are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy. To protect both business owners and customers from spam reviews, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews.
No one likes spam, and we’d like to talk about what you can do to make sure all of the reviews on Google+ Local are useful, honest, and written by real people!
For reviewers: Make sure you’ve taken a look at our review content guidelines. Sometimes you may want to review multiple locations of the same business, such as your favorite fast food chain. Just remember to tailor each review to the specific location. Others will want to know what sets that location apart - be it the super friendly drive thru person, or maybe the unexpectedly awesome lake views. Don’t write reviews for your current employer. We don’t allow reviews from current owners or employees. Spam bots use URLs to redirect to other sites or potentially spread malware. We won’t show reviews with links, so, don’t put URLs in the text of your reviews
For business owners: Be wary of an SEO or reputation management service that promises to generate reviews for your business. We’ve seen companies make up fake glowing testimonies -- and we’ll take them down. We don’t take down negative reviews for simply being negative for anyone, regardless of any other relationships with Google. Instead, we encourage you to utilize the owner response functionality to respond to the review and address the user’s concerns. If a third party claims that they know how to remove reviews from Google, don’t believe them. Google does not work with any third party reputation management companies and we certainly don’t remove reviews unless they violate our guidelines. Don’t set up a computer or tablet device in your place of business for customers to leave reviews on site. Consider sending a reminder e-mail so customers can review on their own time. Remember, we don’t allow you to give customers free gifts or discounts for leaving reviews.
For SEOs: If a business accepts paper comment cards it might be tempting to collect them and “digitize” them by posting the reviews on Google+ Local. We ask that all reviews come from first hand experience and do not allow posting reviews on behalf of others.
For everyone: If you see a review that violates our policy guidelines, you can report the review to us by clicking on the gray flag icon next to the review in question. You’ll be taken to a form where you can tell us why you’re flagging that review. Please note that we won’t follow up with you individually, but we do review every piece of content that is flagged.
Thanks Rebecca!! I just posted a thread on this too! Thanks to the link you sent me. I think it's very important for our resellers to have this information to educate their clients on this issue.
You cannot trust companies that promise to remove back reviews or add good reviews...Google will find them and stomp them out!! they are the internet mafia...you miss with them they'll take you down!
Thanks for this Rebecca. Google has always had a set of rules for reviews, but they were somewhat vague. Many business owners and some agencies have tried to post reviews or get around the review rules in the past, but this is pretty clear on what is and what isn't acceptable.
What's interesting with the timing of this is the mass influx of complaints about legit Google reviews being taken down, and the recent reports of Yelp! being investigated by the FTC for extortion by using business reviews as leverage for business owners to buy paid products. Google "FTC Yelp" and you'll find some articles about it.
Yes, Eric, Google is creating mass hysteria (mass in our circles anyway) by not being clear about this, so hopefully this can assist with calming the masses down, about what is acceptable and what is not. They have made a relatively easy thing to get done complex and tedious for the average user..so this will be interesting to see how it all works.
Sadly of clients that don't have a clientele that is Computer Savvy, they may well be screwed.
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