Google on Reviews: Asking for them is OK, Soliciting them is BAD

Los-Angeles-Enacts-New-Prostitution-Solicitation-LawWhat is the difference between asking for reviews and soliciting them? It seems that a number of SMBS have discovered that one leads to jail time.

Google has been throwing out reviews left and right of late. This is not a bug but the outcome of a newly aggressive review spam filter. The forums were rife with complaints from businesses about lost reviews and from individuals whose reviews would not post. In aΒ consolidated thread Google indicated that most of the reports were a function of the new algorithm and not a function of the problems that had caused lost reviews in the past. Here are Googler Jade’s comments over the course of the post that provide some (albeit confused) insights into Google’s thinking:

Aug 6: Hey guys — popping in to say that we’re investigating. Thanks for the reports.

Aug 15: Still looking into this, guys. Soliciting reviews is suspect behavior for our systems, so please please please make sure your reviews are legitimate and left by your customers of their own accord.

Aug 15: Well, first — mobile reviewing can only be done through: Google Maps or Google+ for Android, or, Google+ Local app on iOS. (Visiting the page on a browser on mobile does not work!)

The technical issues for reviews still exist — those are more common in my experience with pages that have had duplicate or merging issues in the past. The majority of the reviews cases that I have investigated from the forum and other channels are reviews being taken down for suspicious reviewing behavior.

Aug 16: “Soliciting reviews is suspect behavior for our systems.”

What I mean by this is — it’s fine if you reach out to customers to ask them to review, but I do not recommend that you do this in waves. If you want to reach out to legit customers and ask them to review, I recommend you contact them immediately after you have done business with them.

Aug 16: Well, think about it this way — in our ideas, the “ideal” review is by a customer who writes a review of a place completely by his or her own accord, on mobile during the experience or at home after. This would mimic the regular flow of the business.

On the other hand, some SEO companies that resort to spam reviews to deliver “results” would exhibit different behavior.

It’s a system that we are constantly trying to improve, but for now, this is what I can say to try and help. I really don’t want legit businesses with legit reviews to get caught, so this is our effort. I can’t provide specific numbers (and in fact don’t know them).

If the above seems less than clear, that is because it is. Google, in their inimitable fashion, seems content to roll out a new, much more aggressive change in their review spam algo that seems to nuke reviews bad and good and then communicate little, late and in a less than helpful way. Mitigating review spam is good but Google does so while hiding behind an impenetrable cloak that purports to hide the inner workings of their algo. That is a formula for disaster. Google has, over the past few years, been schizophrenic about reviews. It was only last December when Google publicly stated at one of their Get Your Business Online training sessions that that it was OK to use review stations. Now it appears that review stations and many other practices seem to trigger review take downs.

I think strictly enforced and clearly articulated standards are great in the review arena. The constantly shifting sands of Google’s secret policies are not.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google on Reviews: Asking for them is OK, Soliciting them is BAD by

72 thoughts on “Google on Reviews: Asking for them is OK, Soliciting them is BAD”

  1. that’s EXACTLY how I read it, Ted….and from what I know about G and how they “move” on issues…this is going to be worrisome once again, sigh….as I try to figure out what the “threshold” of that spike might be set at….


  2. Hm, Mike, from what I read it seems to me that it is more about “regular flow” of reviews rather than about the strategies used to obtain them. Jade just gives an example with one specific tactic that could trigger the algorithm – sending bulk “review us” requests with incentive implied. This would naturally “spike” the number of reviews and the algorithm would react. This is my reading.

  3. @Ted

    At one point she used the word “waves” to describe inappropriate behaviors but that word seems to have disappeared from the post so I would say yes.

    However, I think this upgrade is also about every other spammy behavior that existed and Google attempting to limit it; ip abuse, pattern abuse etc. etc

  4. @Nyagoslav

    In so far as Google is able to id behaviors associated with soliciting than I think it involves gathering strategies as well… for example remember that paper you shared earlier this year about identifying “patterns”… I think that this may include that as well.

  5. Thanks for highlighting the issue. Interesting use of the top picture!!

    I had noticed you worked to consolidate review issues under one big thread. Its gigantic. Clearly it shows that google has addressed the issue in a large way and that it has grabbed the attention of smb’s. Its now a “big issue”.

    We put a request into the forum to ask if Google would consider removing what we are 99% sure is an “attack review” planted by a competitor.

    We described the situation in detail. Both our website and our Facebook page present clear evidence that the gist of the review was entirely false, and the fact that there remains a similar review from the same time period gives further evidence that the review was purposefully falsified, assuredly by a competitor.

    If google is going to filter reviews they should look to filter reviews that inappropriately denigrate a business. Its a similarly big problem. There have to be aggregated thousands of complaints in the forum, and in the previous forum which was taken down by google, but you saved, wherein businesses addressed thousands of attack reviews they suspected were planted by competitors.

    Its pretty astonishing….once Yelp got real big, and reviews became seen as this extraordinary form of content…it opened an incredible can of worms.

    Hopefully google will similarly address attack reviews. They are another example of creating inappropriate user experiences, and are written for the sole purpose of f*cking over a business by mean spirited competitors.


  6. Here’s how I see this going.

    1. Work with a customer and set up a review us document that they have at the office.
    2. Client asks customers to give them reviews if they liked the service and refers them to the documents(postcard, business card, qr code, etc.)
    3. A bunch of the Client’s customers respond by leaving reviews
    4. Reviews don’t show up because of influx of reviews triggering some spam filter that Google has created.
    5. Client gives up on reviews because they are not showing up.
    6. Clients random customer leaves unsolicited, untold about, un-everything revew that shows up on places page
    7. Client gets excited about reviews again and begins to ask customers to leave revews.
    8. Repeat beginning at #3.

    Anyone else think that this won’t be the progression?

  7. I’ve seen my own reviews disappear or filtered after good customers have taken time to set up an account and leave a review. At the high end that may be 1 review/2-3 weeks. Some of those customers have had G accounts for a number of months or years and actually use them. So, at this point, I have no idea what they’re up to or how they do their filtering. It’s frustrating and starting to make Yelp look good. πŸ™

    BTW Mike, another graphic that both reminds me of my youth and makes me feel old all at the same time (thanks for that). πŸ˜‰

  8. Weirdness. It looks like they are trying to come up with a policy to support what the algo is doing, rather than the other way around. Asking and soliciting is the same thing. I am a lawyer, so I have some experience at definitions of words and what they mean. So another vague and ambiguous message that creates more fear, uncertainty and doubt.

  9. Their definition of spike must be >1 review a week from what I’ve seen.

    Here’s a thought:
    If you have a chucklehead competitor writing insane reviews everyday could that possibly cause all new reviews from showing?

    I’m suspect of the G+ account being a factor too. We have 3 negative reviews from obviously fake G+ accounts while legitimate client’s reviews are stuck in limbo. There’s something else going on.

    I wonder if a business with only positive reviews coming in gets targeted by Google. Perhaps because it looks too good they lighten the algo for the negative reviewers, or they wind up the algo tighter with each new positive review.

  10. To me, this seems to be much ado about nothing, as the saying goes. In a nutshell, Google is saying it wants reviews to be natural. A sudden influx of reviews doesn’t look natural – and I suspect that influx would have to be in the double digits over a short period of time.

    The small business owner has absolutely nothing to worry about regarding this “change” so long as they only get reviews from real customers. The reality is, even if a business contacted every customer they have asking for a review, only a small percentage are going to respond. And if a business is really concerned, then have half of their customers leave reviews on Yelp or some other site and the other half on Google. If you “solicited” say 300 customers for reviews, I’d be shocked if you got a 3% response rate, which would mean a whopping 9 reviews. I doubt that “influx” would make a difference.

    Travis Van Slooten

  11. @Travis

    Normally I would agree with you (and for the most part I do – See Greg’s comment above yours as an example of a reasonable outcome) but it appears that some of the “rules” that Google wrote in don’t jive with reality preventing real customers leaving reviews. That is frustrating for both the businesses and the customers.

    I have a Dental Clinic that sees 60-80 patients a day. They actually have about a 5% rate of getting reviews. That works out to 3-4 a day. The kicker is though that they are a specialty pediatric dentist and work with referrals. Thus it is not unlikely that their patients may have reviewed other dentists… creating a pattern of reviews… One way or the other, they can no longer get honestly asked for and given reviews to post.

  12. Online reviews are a tricky beast for sure. Certainly we can appreciate efforts to curtail spam, but when you go too far – it’s a problem for everyone. When legitimate reviews don’t show up it really irks the SMBs and makes them give up on trying to get reviews. Another BOO for Google.

    “Dear Google, your users are totally bummed out by the way things are now. Please improve things. Thanks.”

  13. The whole description of what Google wants, when they say they want reviews in the natural flow of business, is understandable. But tossing them because of traffic spikes is very odd.

    When anyone business starts to understand and implement any normal, natural, strategy to get reviews, there is going to be a spike compared to when they didn’t address them.

    As far as soliciting reviews, how else is anyone going to know there is a way to voice their opinion? Does Google think that everybody’s customers woke up this morning saying, “Hey, I’ve got to go review Restaurant XYZ”? Do they? Because, the only way a review would be timed with the actual flow of business, is at the business, when the experience is fresh on customers’ minds. Are customers totally out of the blue going to login and report?

    There almost has to be some version of a review station, request for review card, review directions, or… ok, I’ll say it… review solicitation, for a review to occur. I had a tremendous time at the Palms in Vegas in April and at check-out, there was a card requesting a review and directing me to the web site. Great marketing. What’s cheating about that? Give out a review request with a check in a restaurant, and they hickey you? Makes no sense.

    Thanks for the article Mike.

  14. Hi Mike,

    My concern here is the blurred line between solicited and earned.

    Time is money today.

    If I ask guests to go back and rate my product or service – despite how good the service was – many are simply too busy to follow through with this process. People have increasingly hectic lives.

    Incentive drives much of what people do. Whether it is a coupon for discounts on more services, a free gas card – people need motivation even when the service was fantastic. This is marketing 101.

    However, would Google consider this solicitation?

    1. @David

      Incentives are a direct violation of the guidelines and reason for removal:

      Conflict of interest: Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. For instance, as a business, you should not offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or to write negative reviews about a competitor. As a reviewer, you should not accept money or product from a business to write a review about them

  15. I take a blended approach by providing various sites to leave reviews, Google being LAST on the list if at all. I don’t cotton to building a companies social network on the back of my clients anyways.

  16. @Russ
    A mixed approach has always been best and is still best:
    *it allows the client to choose
    *it reduces friction for the client as they likely already have an account somewhere
    *it provides Google with strong signals from a range of sites
    *it minimizes the damage if Google changes direction or fights with one of the sites
    *it provides a more natural footprint across the internet
    *it avoids a rush of reviews at Google at any one point in time
    *it avoids any appearance of solititation

    A mixed approach also implies a mix in terms of how the client is asked:
    *an email with direct links
    *a personal ask perhaps with a handout
    *an email directing someone to a website

  17. Mike,

    I agree with all your points.

    The methods I try and get my clients to use to ask for reviews are all of the above that you mentioned but also includes broadcasting to customers in store using blue tooth and wifi mobile device detection as well. That’s kind of an automated way to drive leverage customers to leave reviews.

    I also concentrate on getting my clients on the sites that allow users to Facebook credentials to create accounts so it’s one less step to actually leave the review. <— Very important.

  18. Wow Mike great post and comment thread. Feels like we are in a Marathon Man loop where we get a little room and then are recaptured and put back in the chair for more painful dentistry (lol).

    I created a “Buzz Team” of reviewers we helped understand HOW to write a good review and keep them supplied with products and ideas. That seems GONE based on this post and would be a shame since elevating members of the class to Hall Monitor status is great way to provide relief to strapped Internet marketing teams.

    Appreciate the post and if you get any clarity on reviews from the plex please post.


  19. Accurate detection of fake reviews (90%) has been achieved and there are whitepapers available explaining the process. I expect search engines are developing even more refined algorithms with a more complex set of signals.

    It’s no surprise therefore to find that Google is using algorithms to prevent it displaying fake reviews (whether by the seller or competitor) and no surprise that sometimes the signals used to detect fakes can occasionally flag up false positives.

    Here’s a tool based on some of the research I linked to above. I’ve tested it and whilst not totally effective it’s surprisingly good:

  20. Well, think about it this way β€” in our ideas, the β€œideal” review is by a customer who writes a review of a place completely by his or her own accord, on mobile during the experience or at home after. This would mimic the regular flow of the business.

    With all due respect to Jade:
    How much emphasis can I put on this? Google has less than nary a clue about the regular flow of business. If they did they would not suggest that they do. Also very often weeks or months go by before the true value of a product or service becomes apparent. So Jane is all excited – goes mobile because she can – writes a review about how marvelous this place is – weeks later she figures out that she was hosed big time – Jane wrote the most bogus review ever – now she can’t do it over because Google says too much time has passed

    Mike – Thanks and also for attracting these commenters – they’re all great

  21. Mike: As you mentioned to me Miriam Ellis highlighted this issue at the SeoMoz blog:

    It brought a lot of comments including an interesting one in which auto dealers are fighting back and contacting the FTC:

    If the issue should escalate and if the FTC jumps in and if they take the side of the auto dealers it will certainly create a “battle royale” which will be interesting to watch, at the very least.

  22. Mike, I love that pic. It just seems that many of the real reviews are being axed as well as the fake. Before the changes I had 13 reviews for my cleaning site. Now I’m down 7. These were not solicited. It’s unclear on what Google really wants at this point.

  23. Oh Google – How I loathe thee…

    So let me get this straight… We can’t offer incentives to people (like Google “Hotpot” did when they were in Portland, OR or in San Diego where Google will give you a free Taco for being a “Google Reviewer Elite” – sure maybe it was indirectly – but lets be clear… It was to help Google) and now an “unnatural” amount of reviews is bad too… So is Google trying “not to be evil” like Yelp?

    Oh I almost forgot . I need to leave a really bad review on a local plumber that took me for a ride and caused more damage then he fixed. Peace out!

  24. Excellent post Mike with great choice of imagery. Awesome thread too. Reviews are bought with customer good will, whether solicited or not. Identifying review spam is a complex problem for Google, Yelp or any other review sites. False positives on reviews nuked have been a problem for my business and it stinks when you have a real client who is happy with their business results and has issues leaving a review. As an Internet marketer, we are not a volume business and every review opportunity is precious. Your points (#21) about why diversifying reviews on different sites are great especially since it helps reduce exposure to lost reviews on Google while making it easy for customers who may be a user on one review site but not Google or Yelp, logging in through facebook which is ubiquitous. For B2B service providers, LinkedIn recommendations are solid alternative. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Mike –

    If reviews are being blocked for a particular listing, do you think it’s like being expelled or more like being put in time out? How long might it be before your Dental Clinic will be able to receive new reviews, if ever?

    I can just imagine the disappointment from a new G+ user whose review gets filtered. I bet they’ll be sure to tell their Facebook friends how great Google Wave Google Buzz Google+ is.

  26. @Keenan
    That is a great question and one that we don’t yet have enough information to answer: Is a listing, that has had a large take down of reviews, penalized or put into a wait state before it can accept new reviews?

    We don’t yet know if that is the actual case or process and if it is we don’t know what it would mean in a practical sense. It is certainly a question that I have and will be looking for answers to.

    Certainly there is a tension within Google between the need for people to enjoy G+ and their (in)ability to leave reviews. 1)We really have no idea what % of reviews is affected this way as we are only looking at the negative reports. 2)It isn’t clear what % of those negative reports are in fact spammers 3)Google while oft times dogmatic is not stupid. They will continue to refine the algo and tweak it so as to make it less obvious.

  27. @Joe T

    In a practical sense, it doesn’t really matter what Google wants. All you can do is keeping asking clients to leave you a review. The goal in the process isn’t quantity but quality and even if you only get one review every 2 or even 3 months, it will be enough

  28. @Zachary

    The distinction between a direct incentive and a promotion is subtle and oft times not very clear. I think that it is OK to have a contest that states that any body that reviews us is eligible to win a prize. It is not OK to say: Here is a $5 gift certificate for a review. One is illegal under most state laws and the other is considered acceptable.

  29. @Earl

    There was such widespread cheating in reviews by the auto world that any scrutiny by the FTC is sure to cut both ways but in the end probably affect the auto dealers more than Google.

    I found the behavior of my auto dealer so obnoxious with obviously self posted reviews that should have been labeled as ads, that I reported> him to the FTC.

  30. Mike:

    I agree with post #21 and have practiced it, except for one point. In most cases reviews on other sites are not seen much. Bit of a qualifier there: Certain industries do have high ratings for a variety of IYP type sites; the restaurant and hotel industry among them. Other review sites get very little traffic, unless you specifically work to push the page with your reviews higher in the SERPS with links.

    I’ve had some sites with a lot of reviews on them. Its surprising how LITTLE the traffic is (specifically the flow of traffic via links to our site(s) ). Those sites typically don’t have naturally high rankings even for name searches for our business. I have not pushed those sites higher.

    OTH, Yelp, which has across the board higher rankings (See this article by Search Influence: (and my sites are not restaurants) does generate consistently higher link/referral traffic to the site(s). The businesses are not typical yelp type sites, don’t have lots of yelp reviews (and a lot of them are “filtered”)….yet yelp generates traffic to our sites.

    Its from higher rankings.

    I’ve seen examples where some of these other review sites can rank highly…but it appears to be b/c of links generated to the review pages.

    I’m basing these comments on my observations of traffic to the home site(s) from referral traffic from the review sites. Its not a huge sample, but it probably represents over 35 different review sites pages to different businesses. The only one that generates significant traffic is yelp…and that has to be b/c of naturally higher serps.

  31. @Earl
    I agree with post #21 and have practiced it, except for one point. In most cases reviews on other sites are not seen much. Bit of a qualifier there: Certain industries do have high ratings for a variety of IYP type sites; the restaurant and hotel industry among them.

    The industry is a dynamic place. Google showed third party reviews prominently and now doesn’t. But they are testing layouts that do show them more prominently. Yelp is now sharing reviews with Siri & Bing thus increasing visibility. CitySearch is syndicating their reviews ever more widely. Yahoo reviews may see a resurgence under Mayer. Zagat got bought by Google who repurposed their reviews. Frommer’s just got bought by Google.

    Things are not static and the reality of where a given review is seen can change (and has changed) at a moments notice.

    One can’t guarantee that a review on any particular site will be seen that much or at all but one can guarantee that things will change.

    I have found that showing reviews at a diversity of review sites has provided the best all round exposure and more importantly the best protection against the ever changing nature of local.

    By putting the decision in the hands of the consumer (with a little nudging and some guidance) the final outcome will be diverse, balanced and appropriate.

    Trying too hard to second guess the consumer and force reviews to a certain site will inevitably lead to a problem at some point as you can’t predict the future of the market.

  32. Google’s ability to sniff out the same person using multiple accounts is boarder-line creepy. Combinations of cookies, browsers tracking, ip data, and obviously account history probably all contribute.

    I imagine velocity of reviews in relation to search impressions/clicks may also be a factor. Google has plenty of data to know what a normal ratio of traffic to reviews is for a given search query. Rapid change in the ratio could sent up flags as Google may suggest manipulative behavior was used, whether soliciting reviews or creating fake ones.

    I haven’t had much time to see how aggressively negative vs. positive reviews are flagged, but it would definitely be interesting to find out if Google filters positive or negative reviews with any sort of bias.

    1. @Blake

      You have nailed some of the likely complexity of what Google is doing. I think you need to add that they may also be looking at patterns across multiple accounts to see if the same (perhaps distant) reviewers are reviewing the same businesses. IE 4 reviewers have reviewed the exact same four businesses (a common pattern with review posting services).

      The reports seem to indicate that during review take downs negative reviews are hardly ever hit. It seems to bias towards the positive.

  33. @Mike: Gotta agree that the industry is dynamic, not static. As of right now, I just looked at one of the local smb sites thru analytics:

    of some of the referrals

    FB generated over 90 visits and twitter 15 (after pushing something out to them).
    yelp 28 visits
    local type links 56 visits
    industry type links 33

    Other IYP/review sites 5 visits

    total traffic for the time period: over 5,000 uniques; over 6500 total visits.

    I’d be pleased to see the disbursed reviews more visible on more sites.

  34. @Mike, did you see the link I posted above to Ricky Blake’s Google Plus profile. Click on each of the businesses he reviewed (one in India, one in NY). They both got by Google’s filter. He left the exact same copy. Looks clearly to be spam to me. How about you? I would think that one would be simple for an algorithm to spot. “Ricky” has no other activity, no personal information to verify his authenticity, and he reviews two businesses across the globe with the exact same words and number of characters. I’m thinking Google is trying so hard to find the craftiest of sneaks that they are overlooking the obvious scam artists.

    So maybe this is a lesson. You want to sneak a review by Google? Make it really obvious that it’s a fake. I’m not suggesting. Just talking.

  35. It also seems plausible that a company’s reaction to missing reviews would help identify suspect behavior. A sudden resurgence of positive reviews posted in response to deleted or filtered reviews might confirm their suspicion.

    Dogmatic… yes. Dumb, no.

    I wonder if the engineers are allowed to go out into the real world.

  36. I was one of the first to join the Google discussion on this topic months ago when the Google Places switch happened. There is no rhyme or reason. I had 2 reviews that worked from android mobile phones and 2 customers that did it from G+ from their PCs. The ones that used PCs never showed, NEVER. The funny thing is that I have them as customers in my G+ circle for my business page and it shows the review there and I get the notification. LOL.

    The system is broken and I don’t think it has anything to do with algos. This is very frustrating as my business is only 4 months old in my community and my customers are actually taking the time to setup a G+ account and then give me a review! It’s a real pain the arse when you are offering better service to your customers than your competition and they out rank you on Local because you can’t get your reviews.

    I’m basically ready to give up on the whole stupid G+ Local thing, not to mention how to explain to non-G+ users why they should create a G+ account just to post a review for something that doesn’t even work. My last review that didn’t show was from a G+ user that has been using it for months so it isn’t isolated to just recent created accounts. If you read the Google Places discussion, you’ll see that it is a complete mess.

  37. Will someone please give a definition of the word “spammy”?? This seems to be Google’s favorite, all purpose description of accounts that are penalized! It’s what we are all asking for, in the end!

  38. It’s insane that they go from telling everybody it’s fine to solicit reviews to the exact opposite.

    Not surprising though at this point. Considering how often they reverse what they say is the right way, maybe the best long term approach would be to do the opposite of what the big G recommends.

  39. What I find missing in most analysis, including yours Mike, is an acknowledgment of the following:

    1. How patronizing and offensive for Googler Jade to just “pop in” to this massive tale of real business reversals for SMBs who have trusted Google, and present such a non-answer, and now to have said nothing since 8/16?

    2. It is patently obvious from the posts that good reviews are being zapped and not bad ones. There is every indication that the algo is taking out good reviews for businesses on the mere basis that the total positives for the business seem “too good to be true”.

    3. Google Local/Places is either in total disarray, denial, or is simply lying.

  40. @Stan

    I can in no way defend Google’s actions. In fact above I said: Google, in their inimitable fashion, seems content to roll out a new, much more aggressive change in their review spam algo that seems to nuke reviews bad and good and then communicate little, late and in a less than helpful way. Mitigating review spam is good but Google does so while hiding behind an impenetrable cloak that purports to hide the inner workings of their algo. That is a formula for disaster..

    Perhaps that is not strong enough for you but I have been working dillegently on the back end to get them to 1)communicate more 2)Communicate better and 3) change the policy. I can rant all I want but until they change policy life will be no better for any of us.

    So while I strongly agree with you that the algo is obviously nuking good reviews what we do not know is the number and quantity of bad reviews that it is catching. We don’t know how quickly the algo is learning what is good and what is bad and we don’t why….

    I can say for a fact that my car dealer’s review look honest for the first time in years.

    I also have not offered up an analysis yet, what you see above is my reporting.

  41. I understand the need to fight spam but I see so many legitimate reviews get slaughtered in Google and especially Yelp. It’s extremely frustrating.

  42. We have one client in a very competitive local market. A number of their online competitors include shall we say less than honest people. Not only do these types dupe their customers, over charge them, make false promises, etc but they take this online as well by posting fake reviews about their own companies and very negative untrue review about genuine businesses. My client and other reputable have been affected by this. a Number of times we have had to contact Google to show how untrue these fake review are. To Google’s credit, for the most part they have been good to remove them. Unfortunately these fakes are hurting genuine businesses like our client in numerous ways both directly and indirectly. At least our client is pretty understanding and the reason for that is we keep them in the loop and happily pass on our knowledge and findings.

  43. Someone just posted a reply on my latest G+ post saying a Google rep told him G reviews are under review and take 8 weeks to post? Wonder if there is any truth to this? It would explain reviews showing in reviewers account but not on the G+ Local page.

    John Oliver Coffey from NetMidas wrote:
    “Hi Linda – just got off the phone with a google rep…new reviews taking up to 8 weeks to be reviewed, approved and released. Might be worth sharing with your followers before they pull out all their hair wondering what’s happening.”

    I asked Google. Will see if I get an answer I can share.

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