Google Local & Review Scams – A Simple Solution

Local scams involving Google are like dipthera on dog feces, very common. Whether it’s the hundreds of companies trading off of Google’s name, fake Google plaquesselling reviews, a company implying that they are Google and offering to “help” you claim your listing or claiming to be able to rank you first because of a special direct relationship to Google, scams involving Google seem to evolve with the local opportunity de jure.

To some extent Google has impacted the review for sale issue with their review filtering technology. However for most of these scams Google can do little to prevent them and G can only respond after the fact. It must be like whack a mole for their busy legal department.

But when this scam email came across my desk, immediately upon receipt I thought“well I better go check my reviews”… It is clearly a deceit but one that readily attracts the business owner. Yet it  is one deceit that Google could and should have solved long ago.

Re:here r your bad reviews

Your business reputation is in jeopardy!

I found a negative review about your business on Google. It only took a few short minutes to find a negative review about your business on other credible directories, and it didn’t take much longer to find even more.

 No matter what kind of advertisement you do, people look you up in Google and other popular directories before contacting you and as soon as they see the negative reviews, they stop contacting you. If you want to safeguard your online reputation – and protect the steady growth of your business – then monitoring and responding to negative reviews like the ones posted on Google, Yelp, Citysearch, InsdierPages, Yellowpages, Mantra etc is crucial. According to the latest research at the Harvard university, 72% of local consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Don’t let your bad review influence hundreds of potential customers. Reputation Management has quickly moved from being an option to a necessity.

We are Reputation Marketing experts and I want to send you a FREE custom Reputation Report that will reveal in detail your company’s online reviews. To get your free report call us at (866) 966-7396 and we can begin to rebuild your 5 star online reputation together.

Warm Regards,

Roland Sahak

Reputation Marketing Expert

The solution?

Google should implement some form active notification when a business receives a review on their claimed Google listing. Ideally this notification is one that would bring businesses back to the Dashboard and allow them to respond to the review from within the Dashboard rather than forcing them back to the G+ Page to make a response.

Google could also provide some sort of active feed of the + Page that could be used by the business and 3rd parties alike although that seems unlikely given Google’s recent trends to keep data and people on their pages.

Regardless Google could stop these sorts of scams cold, provide some solace to businesses receiving reviews AND increase SMB engagement with Google’s new dashboard. This is a simple solution that should have occurred years ago but there is no time like the present. The new, plug in ready Dashboard offers the perfect environment to make up for lost time.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Local & Review Scams - A Simple Solution by

15 thoughts on “Google Local & Review Scams – A Simple Solution”

  1. Too bad your suggestion makes too much sense. I can’t see Google offering notifications. I wish they would, but I’m not holding my breath.

  2. @ChrisR
    I have moved from curmudgeonly critic to cautious optimist. It takes a long time but Google does move and they have implemented a number of “modern” ideas like human based customer support that were suggested. Who knows?

  3. Mike, These companies are rampant. Many of them use auto dialers to call companies with a call center pretending to be Google. We must get at least 2 – 3 calls a day and we are an internet marketing firm. Some of our clients forward over emails or tell the callers to call us so I know that they are getting them too. Many of them actually tell the clients that they are calling from “Google” and some clients believe them. If they get a company to sign up with them the work they do is shoddy at best. They create dup listings, fake reviews…and then we have to go clean up the mess. I agree, some form active notification is a good start.

    1. @Bernadette
      They sure are common. And have been for many years. Most Google can only respond to reactively. This one though they could respond to proactively.

  4. Doesn’t an entity that will publish lies, have a responsibility to remove them, or let a small business owner respond? No… not from a legal standpoint, and that’s where Google lives these days, within the confines of a for profit framework who as a culture has lost it’s moral compass. (nothing wrong with a for profit!)

    Now, the solution in this environment would be for a large number of small business owners who have been unfairly targeted with negative reviews, or not allowed to respond with the same ease as the critic, to a review, to work within the legal system to change it, as well as let business owners respond to any legitimate complaints in reviews, as Mike suggests.

    I know of only one case where a small business successfully sued and won against a competitor who willfully published a bad review. The problem (as it relates to my little rant) was the claim was against the competitor, and did not name Google, even though Google was responsible for publishing it, and had to release the IP address of the competitor.

    The old, we are from the Government and are here to help you is rapidly being replaced with we are from Google and are here to help you (from the small business stand point.)

  5. Google and the other large internet companies are no dummies. They are fully protected from any liability in these matters via Section 230 of the bizarrely name Communications Decency Act. Under this act they have federal immunity and have no responsibility to do anything about fake reviews.

    Effectively, this section immunizes both ISPs and Internet users from liability for torts committed by others using their website or online forum, even if the provider fails to take action after receiving actual notice of the harmful or offensive content.

  6. @ mike. Exactly right, that’s why I said they have no legal responsibility. There is only one way that I can think of to change it, and that is a movement by the very fragmented and distracted SMB community.

    It would take better minds than mine to pull that off… but I would be happy to support. Or… maybe we can all buy enough Google stock to be heard. ( Any billionaires listening? )

  7. I personally don’t think it would require an “act of congress.”

    Correct me if I am wrong but in theory couldn’t anyone create such a system using Google API. Yes I understand this would be a huge undertaking and require someone with more patience and knowledge than myself.

  8. Wow…these guys even have a special relationship with sites called “Mantra” and InsdierPages.” “The Harvard university” says those are important, you know.

  9. I love toying with these scammers – heres one: I tell them “super, could you help me on my other two sites too?” “This sounds great, blah blah blah”, then when it’s time to collect my info, my phone connection keeps cutting out letters. ROFL – I crack up messing with these goofballs.

  10. I think part of the problem is that so marketers and sales people have gotten so good that they can sell these “stunts” by ganging up on the catchphrase of the day. When people hear “unlock your local account” and don’t understand how to do it, but need more business, the countdown is already on.

  11. Everything is legit about their business. I know this company and know the details of what they do. The page collects the reviews and it is only being sent to the clients of the business and not other people. Once they gather the reviews, they submit it to online local directories with the permission of the reviewer. Obviously they review page is not being sent to strangers and there is no point of doing that since someone that does not know that business, will obviously not submit a reviews for them. They only send it to the ACTUAL clients of that business only. I don’t know why Mike, the blog owner does this for some business but through his Linked in page here I found out that he is also involved in online marketing similar to the services that that company is offering and is trying to trash other business in order to shine and get people’s trust so they would buy his services.
    Mike, the blog owner, this an unethical way trying to ruin other business reputation just because you like t find a subject for your blog and try to look like you are the good guy to sell your services. One thing I learned that never trust a post or business that is left by another business that is their competition. A professional company does not have the time to do these tings and is busy promoting people’s business and will not post articles like this which tells me that Mike ‘s business is really down and he is trying to trash other business and had time to post these things. Get a life man….

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