I Want My Places Reviews Back – It’s Getting Personal

Ok, enough is enough. My Google Places reviews have been missing since mid summer 2010 and I have waited patiently for their return.

Google has had some problems loosing reviews and this problem continues to this day. I understand that.

Stuff happens in a complex system and while I don’t like it, at some level I do understand it. I have always advocated for others that these reviews should be resurfaced and those that are legit be reassociated with the appropriate Places Page.

But I was looking at reviews in the context of a new talk I am giving this week at the UBL user conference in Charlotte and I realized that some of the reviews that had been lost from my account had more than just commercial value. They hold personal and relationship value as well. When a person you respect leaves a review it means more to me than just a review.

David Mihm is one of the folks in the local search industry that I appreciate on a daily basis for his clear thoughts, his concern for the SMB, his keen sense of industry trends and most importantly for his friendship. The review he left is still visible in his user profile but not on my Places Page. I would like the world to be able to see it as well:

Blumenthals.Com Web Hosting & Computer Repair 201 N Union St # 317, Olean, NY 14760
The Best in Local SEO – Apr 23, 2009
Having read Mike’s blog for several years, and worked with him on both research and client projects, I can say he is absolutely at the forefront of our industry. I can’t imagine a better person to hire if you’re interested in more exposure via Local Search.
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How did the review get lost? Its a bit of a long journey through the bowels of the Google Places’s rejection algo. Last summer my listing was rejected as part of their algo based efforts to cleanse the index…. not because I was spamming or otherwise abusing the system but because I had a period in our business name (blumenthals.com). It took me a while to figure that out and while that was taking place, Google decided to give me a new CID, the unique cluster ID that refers to my business. My reviews stayed with the old CID and have never found their way back to my new one.

Shortly after my fiasco they changed their policy and algo to allow the DOT back into my name.

The reviews are not really lost they are just not seen in my current Places Page. They can still be seen in the review history of the person that left them. Mine is still visible in David’s review history but if you click through the link on that page: Blumenthals.Com Web Hosting & Computer Repair all it does it take you to the “We currently do not support the location” message.

Google has been fixing some review bugs but mostly those that are consumer facing. The business facing review bugs seem to not get fixed in anything approaching a timely manner. They get shifted to the bottom of the heap every time there is a new feature or update and thus new bugs to fix.

I lost many, many other reviews. I would like them all back. But if I can get only one then give me David’s.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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29 thoughts on “I Want My Places Reviews Back – It’s Getting Personal”

  1. Wow, running through my review history it seems strange that certain reviews get repeated (although I certainly would not have been trying to leave more than one review for the same business)…perhaps it is a bug with MY reviews in addition to your Place Page…

  2. @David
    Well I lost all 28 reviews and they are still in the review histories of the folks that did them… so if the bug is on that side of the code then it is an uglier bug than I thought…

    Google has never been very good at counting reviews though

  3. Mike,

    I wrote a review for you a bit over a year ago. It’s still in my review history, but it’s not showing on your Places page. The Places listing in the review is named “Blumenthals.Com Web Hosting & Computer Repair”, rather than “Blumenthals.com”, which is the name of your Places listing currently.

    When I click on the listing in my review history, it returns a page that says, “We currently do not support the location”.

    Could it have lost the reviews when the name was changed? Or did you create a new listing?

  4. I’m not sure if you meant “dam”, but I really like the phrase “damn is going to break.” Google definitely makes me feel like that at times!

  5. I also have this problem, personally and with my clients. Reviews may disappear for a day or anything up to 6 weeks… but for over 6months!! That is terrible! Google does need to get this fixed asap, it has gone on for far too long now!

  6. Mike,

    Thank you so much for continuing to publicise this issue and provide some background information. Google’s limited response on the forum has left me fuming! As you say, these reviews can have significant personal and emotional value. Google should be taking more care with this data.

    All the best,

    David

  7. Our reviews all went missing last week. It’s happened before and they have always returned, but it’s disconcerting. Hopefully they aren’t in Mike Blumenthal’s review purgatory. That would be very distressing.
    Small issues to Google are large issues to small businesses. Not adequately addressing them is sign of corporate arrogance, intended or not.

  8. My moving company reviews have come and gone so many times over the years at google. It drives you crazy to work years to earn reviews to have google wipe them out.

    I also have gone through the split CID and reviews showing on two different places pages (some on one and some on the other) which hurts your perceived quality in google.

    You can though actually through the back door to get a hold of google places customer service and after a month or so they will fix it.

  9. My good friend who has worked his tail off had 71 legit reviews, all 5 out of 5 stars. He’d been working at it since the review system came out. 3 months ago, he lost 60 of them knocking him down to 11.

    He also has 72, 5 out of 5 stars on Yelp and ranks really high on all sites all of which have never had an issue with his reviews. He can even produce the names/phone numbers/addresses of most of those lost reviews to prove they’re real.

    He’s just a service guy that goes all out to take care of the customer. It’s sad to see him knocked down to looking average at best when he worked really hard to stand out. He no longer asks people to review him on Google since they could just be gone tomorrow. What’s really pathetic is one of his competitors noticed the drop and assumed they were fake and tells potential customer that his reviews are all fake and that Google busted him.

    You’d think I could help him considering my sister is a Google Engineer and I have my own PPC reps since I manage millions in PPC monthly, with a major Google PPC spend all the way back to 2002. There’s nothing they can do though, Google has really mucked this up.

  10. reviews tend to come a go on google. It will drive you crazy when it happens but to much you can do about it. One suggestion I would make to your friend is have them check to see if google has a duplicate listing for them. Open google maps or places and search the main phone number you may be surprised how many listings show up. If there is a duplicate listing many times the duplicate winds up “stealing” the reviews of the main listing. Good luck.

  11. Well I lost all 28 reviews and they are still in the review histories of the folks that did them… so if the bug is on that side of the code then it is an uglier bug than I thought…

  12. My business lost over 70 reviews since October of 2010. I pay google to have placement, pay them well I might add. So when I get business/a review I paid to get it. So how much are review’s worth, A LOT!!! Does anyone know if this will ever get fixed?

    Thanks, Richard

  13. Mike,
    Yes this is truly frustrating for everyone involved to see legitimate reviews filtered out. Thanks for articulating this problem with a specific example. I hope Google is listening and you get your reviews back!

  14. My wife’s interior design company’s reviews have reappeared after about a month gone. A local doctor I work with had his 100% optimized Places page disappear altogether last week along with his Maps listing. That listing mysteriously reappeared this week. It’s bizarre.

  15. We just lost 70 Google Places reviews, but only our Google ones, which is strange. All 3rd party/sites reviews remain. I doubt we’ll be offered any support from Google so I just wanted to make everyone here aware that this is an ongoing issue.

  16. Google periodically loses their own reviews. They usually come back. It seems to happen more when there are major changes taking place under the hood but can happen at any time.

    I would recommend patience.

  17. @Brian

    This should absolutely reaafirm for all why they need reviews at multiple (at least 3 or 4) other sites. If G isn’t fighting with TA they are fighting with Yelp… if they aren’t losing citysearch reviews they are losing their own… the best long term strategy is multiple reviews at multiple review sites over time

  18. I have asked over 20 of my patients to review me and I have only had 2 that have done it. Or at least they are the only ones that posted. I have had people tell me they did the review and it would not post. About a week ago my only two were missing. It’s embarrassing for me to ask them if they even did the review. But it’s frustrating that they are doing them and they are not even being posted.

  19. I too have the same Issue as some of the others. Google has removed my old cid and when you click on it through old reviews the that others created you get the ” Google dose not support this place page”

    Our Busy season is coming upon us and my 27 reviews are gone. I have someone from Google that I,m currently emailing with. And just like the others I have essentially paid good money for these reviews. I send out correspondence to all of my clients that we have worked for. WE ask them for reviews and we use our reviews to help sale ourselves to the public. In our industry these reviews can come in handy we someone needs something more than just your word to make a commitment with you. We had 27 reviews with a 4.85 rating and now i have i review going into my busy season.

    Does anyone have any contacts at Google that they can share?
    Please go to my website and send me your info so that i can call you back. If it works for me i will pay you a reward.

  20. @marcus

    Why do you have three listings that are all claimed? Dupes are one the reason losing reviews. When they merge you end up with a new CID and the reviews can’t find your listing.

  21. Mike,
    I have owner verified them that is correct. They are not listed in my account because i have deleted them. They are still there and like you say could be confusing google. how can i get them removed?

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