Local Weekend Update

Several items of interest.

Dates & Scores No Longer Showing on Google Reviews. Chris Campbell on Twitter and Jack Thornburg on G+ pinged me that date and scores on individual reviews on the business G+ Page had stopped showing. It had been reported on April 4th in the forums. Google has said that they are looking at this. It could be a bug or it could be a new feature. Always hard to tell with Google. Update: These seem to have returned. Here is a screenshot of what they looked like over the weekend.

Google Review Filter Turns the Screws Once Again. A bug or an update, again it is not clear. But there have been numerous reports of reviews having gone missing since April 5th. We have not seen this many complaints in the forums since the filter was relaxed in late January.

Canadian Businesses May Show Up in the New Dashboard. Last week Google noted that the new Places for Business Dashboard was US only. There were however several reports from Kerry Fager of them showing up for Canadian businesses. Google’s Joel Headley made this comment at Linda Buquet’s forum:

New users — with US-based IPs — may be granted access to the new interface as it rolls out more broadly. If these users happen to have a non-US business already created in Google+, it may appear in their dashboard; however, new listing creation is limited to US-based addresses. 

Also, Offers and AdWords Express may not be ready for prime time for non-US listings. If you’re seeing issues, feel free to send us feedback by clicking the Send Feedback link at the bottom of the page. We’ll review all these reports for any potential bugs.

Better Business Bureau Sucks – So What Else is New. This came to me via David Mihm: Why the Better Business Bureau Should Give Itself a Bad Grade.  Apparently Time Magazine has figured out that besides outright corruption that there is an intrinsic conflict of interest involved in the way that the BBB is paid for by businesses but theoretically handles complaints as an independent agency from consumers. Review sites can not put these guys out of our misery soon enough.

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18 thoughts on “Local Weekend Update”

  1. Thanks for highlighting this news Mike.

    Just to give a report from accross the pond in the UK, I do not see that the review scores have dissapeared – at least not from the local search results. They start showing after 10 reviews have been gathered, don’t they?

    But yes, I did notice the “review doomsday” on Friday 5th April with one of my clients losing 6 reviews. It made the Friday afternoon a little less enjoyable breaking the news to them. I believe that the “cause” in our case was reviews from G+ profiles that didn’t get much activity after the event.

  2. @dana
    According to Google, they are going to roll it out (which means live testing) in the US. First a few, then some more, and when the bugs are down to an acceptable level across the whole US before they inflict in others. :)

    The reports from Kerry surprised me and I was glad that Joel took the time to indicate how it was happening.

  3. As always, thanks for the info, Mike.

    The context of date for the review is valuable information. If it’s not a bug, it will be interesting to see how the information manifests it’s self? It wouldn’t be very Google-ly to throw valuable contextual info out, unless they are trying to hide that they don’t have enough reviews.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out, Mike. It indeed was nice of Joel to drop us a line and clarify the situation.

    Perhaps I’m the only one, but I think it’s funny that the disappearance of the dates for reviews happened so close to the time when dates were added to several Google Help articles.

  5. They are not back for me – 8 of my reviews from clients got erased. The only one that remains is a google plus user’s. 7 of the ones removed were recent – I hope they reappear soon – I live in Canada.

  6. @Sonya
    Right, reviews are not back. The dates and ratings on remaining reviews are back… but reviews recently lost to the spam algo have not returned.

  7. @Sonya

    We don’t know. It depends on why Google turned up the review spam filter. If they turn it back down, the reviews will come back, if they leave it as is, they will not.

  8. Hey Mike!

    Can’t wait for Google to finally iron out all their kinks and start making things a bit more seamless. I’m Not surprised tons of reviews went missing. Very unfortunate for those who worked hard to amass some positive reviews.

  9. Didn’t I read last week in the aftermath of Google’s “integration” of Places into + that a key benefit was less (or elimination) of reviews disappearing?

  10. @jim

    This was likely not a “loss” of reviews due to bad system architecture. I think those type of missing reviews ARE a thing of the past.

    This was more likely a loss of reviews due to an overzealous tweaking of the review spam algo. Those type of reviews not showing will continue at some level depending on how Google dials in the algo.

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