TripAdvisor Reviews Missing from Google Places – Bug or Kerfuffle?

Noun:  A social imbroglio or brouhaha. An organizational misunderstanding leading to accusations and defensiveness.

Since December 4th, there have been a number of reports (here, here and via email) that TripAdvisor reviews are not showing in Google Places. A quick search of the Maps index shows this in fact to be the case with TripAdvisor reviews not showing on the Places page for any hotel or B&B searched.

Obviously TripAdvisor plays a huge role in the hospitality industry and the syndication of their reviews to Google has a big impact there as well. I received this email from Su at the Inn at Tanglewood Hall in York Harbor, ME.

Any more word on this?  The missing TA reviews are HUGE for the lodging industry.  Trip Advisor makes up almost 75% of our reviews (we personally went from 76 to 21).  Many places have gone from triple to low double digits, even single.  Example:  TA #1 ranked B&B in the entire state of Maine:  Bayberry House in Boothbay Harbor with 237 reviews, is now down to 4 on Google Places, no  longer even makes the cut when Googling Boothbay Harbor Bed and Breakfasts.  Place results have been drastically altered for all Lodging.

It is unclear whether we are seeing a bug in Places that is preventing reviews from showing up or whether TripAdvisor and Google are having a disagreement about Google’s right to show them. Both possibilities have their precedence, with 3rd prty reviews coming and going due to both bugs and battles… I have emailed both TripAdvisor and Google for clarification but as of publication had not heard back.

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26 thoughts on “TripAdvisor Reviews Missing from Google Places – Bug or Kerfuffle?”

  1. Wow. Thanks, Mike, for always keeping the rest of us up to date on these things. As a small business owner in the tourism industry, this absolutely IS huge. A quick check for local vacation rentals, hotels, and attractions in my area (Destin, FL) also show no TA reviews. This will definitely be something to keep an eye on. Appreciate the heads up!

  2. Heather

    Thanks for letting me know that they are missing in FL as well.

    The reports I have seen have come in from the UK and the NorthEast US. It appears to be widespread. If you see them come back, please let me know!

  3. Ooh, keep us posted, Mike. My bet is this is a bug, but if it is, it’s a terrible one for the hospitality folks. Thanks for reporting this!
    Miriam

  4. NOT exactly from Google’s home office ;-)
    Dear valued Google Places viewer, we recognize you might have enjoyed using Yelp and Trip Adviser reviews in the past, but hey, get with it! We now have our own great Google review program called HotPot, and we’d really like you to use it instead… so we decided to help you out with this process and just got rid of all those other reviews.
    Andy :-)

  5. I noticed this just yesterday and put it down to the usual Google glitches that affect it periodically – but it seems the problem is more widespread.

    If it’s a deliberate ploy by Google then it sucks. We can’t expect guests to copy their reviews to several different locations.

    Phil

  6. One of my client’s TA citations have technically gone missing. I say technically because they are now showing in “details” instead of being scrolled out on the place page proper. This resulted in the # of reviews on the SERP to drop down to Google reviews only. My initial thought was just as Andy K has pointed out above, perhaps G wants, only Hotpot reviews to be counted in SERP’s and all others will have to grovel for their place elsewhere. Nonetheless, it has (temporarily) undone what I have done to prove to my client that SEM has value…
    Oh, Google why must you taunt me? :)

  7. @Andy
    I take it from your comments that you think the loss of TripAdvisor reviews is not a bug?

    @Miriam
    I can not believe that you did not comment on my successfully using the word kefuffle into a blog post (I think I learned it from you :) )

    @Phil
    Deliberate maybe, ploy no. Google always prefer to have more information about a business rather than less.

    But it could be, if they are not showing by design, that Tripadvisor has pulled them as much as Google is not showing them… It could be they could not agree on appropriate remuneration… etc etc etc

    @Tyler
    Andy sent me a screen shot of exactly what you are mentioning…. although I think that Google views reviews from third parties in more pragmatic terms ie if TA wanted money, or top showing or some other condition or perhaps TA just decided they were not getting enough benefit then the relationship could end..

    I think, to answer your last question, the answer is: Your forgot to wear your lucky socks. :)

    Mike

  8. Mike, I suppose it’s possible, but I’ll be surprised if a publicity junkie like TripAdvisor has blocked reviews from Google, especially as it is unannounced. It was a valuable source of traffic for them. I think TA would have the most to lose.

    But I’ll post a question on TA’s Owners Forum to ask if that’s the case. Miracles can happen, maybe for once they’ll give us a straight answer.

    Phil

  9. Someone beat me to it – there is already a question on there about the subject. TripAdvisor has failed to reply to owners asking this question (no surprise there – they don’t like answering owners) but it is hypothesised that Google is only allowing reviews from verified sources plus Google Places reviews. That means TA reviews, being anonymous and unverified, are excluded.

    Phil

  10. I am with Andy on this one. It seems very deliberate with HotPot coming out and all this Groupon talk. It is too widespread to be the usual fluke of Google reviews disappearing.

  11. @Lauren

    At this point, given the lack of response from either side, moves the dial toward intentional rather than not… If that were the case then the login is business decision logic… ie one side or the other does not perceive enough benefit to maintain the status quo.

    Google recently announced their support for microformatted reviews… that would indicated they are looking for more rather than fewer reviews…. so throwing out a review source because they now have their own rating source in HotPot would not be logical…

    Either Tripadvisor is not getting enough traffic and the are negotiating for more OR Google feels that the “price” to do business with them is too high… who knows.

    While Hotpot might play into the equation ie it would be more likely from Tripadvisors POV and them thinking they don’t want to help Google become any more of a competitor than they already are…

    @Phil
    Went to the TA forum and it is but speculation there as well….

  12. Absolutely – it’s only speculation there, too. I just thought it worth checking to see. If there’s any response there from TA staff I’ll let you know if you don’t spot it first. But I’m not holding my breath in the meantime!

    Phil

  13. A TA review of my hotel never appeared on my places page and I posted on the Google forum asking for help some months ago. (I thought it was a map location problem). It never appeared but I noticed (about a month ago) that the TA detail of my hotel was listed in the links so they knew my correct location.

    It’s not just TA reviews – Google has dropped reviews from many other sources over the last 6 months to a year. About the only reviews that remain are from booking sites where the client has to make a paid reservation to be able to review. I thought it was a quality control issue – limiting the opportunity to fake reviews.

  14. The internet will be a better place for business without Trip Advisor, they never let owners have control of anything, but anyone can write whatever they like. Their guidelines are screwed, its the most unethical website on the internet.

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