Bedlam Breaks Out in Google Q & A

Bedlam Coffee hit the news with a media frenzy over the owner ejecting Christian activists from his coffee shop. (To preview their Q & A on the desktop use this URL:

With this event we have learned three things about Google Q & A:

1- It’s a $h!tstorm when a business gets into the news

2- That ranking of the questions is strictly an upvote count

3- You better be monitoring yours

To see the Q & A on mobile use:

(H/T to Matt Casady)

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Bedlam Breaks Out in Google Q & A by

7 thoughts on “Bedlam Breaks Out in Google Q & A”

  1. Mike: When I saw this title I thought it was a larger more universal topic. I didn’t realize the “culture wars” had invaded this coffee shop named Bedlam.

    Just checked it out: Currently I see 20 Q in the Q & A, plus a TON of reviews in Google and Yelp, and looking at the reviews in both by recentness, it appears the reviewers are attacking the store in large numbers.
    Don’t know how large the numbers are in the last two days or so since the incident. Do YOU?

    Are there more reviews in Google or Yelp than Q’s in Q and A? in this time period? Have you counted? (I haven’t).

    Off the top of your head which review status/visibility has the most impact in your point of view? Just curious.

    Just checking it today, Yelp at least has identified that they are monitoring review activity and I assume results as the coffee shop has hit the news and specifically the volatile news with regard to politics. Google hasn’t flagged it in that way, but they don’t do that to my knowledge.

    Do you have an opinion or an educated comment on which of these web elements might have the most impact?

    Bedlam—seems like an appropriate name.

  2. Mike: As to the bedlam at Bedlam:
    I took it upon myself to try and count review and Q responses since this brouhaha occurred. As of 4:30 EST time on 10/10 I was able to count or estimate 85 reviews on yelp. (estimate 20 per page). More difficult to count google review volume so I didn’t try.

    Compare that to the 20 Q’s on Google. Well the review spammer/attackers/ on political issues are using yelp reviews more frequently. I suspect the same with google reviews.

    Not surprising. Q and A is new and it hasn’t gotten enormous visibility/publicity, let alone its not on desktop at this time.

    I would be very interested to see if Google “cleans them up”. If not its an open invitation to spam Q and A with either false attack or false positive Q’s.

    And if they don’t clean it up, it would be a shame. Another signal open to manipulation.

  3. There are a lot of ‘local guides’ leaving hatful reviews and Q&As. I used to think Google could rely on Local Guides, rank their reviews higher, give them more credit when making updates but this is just a status and it doesn’t entitle honesty, integrity and good practices.

  4. @Thibault:

    There is no value to google guides when it comes to honesty. Google doesn’t seem to care or do anything to filter through people.

    By example: I joined a Facebook “review swapping” group. Wanted to see what it is like. There are a lot of them. This one probably adds a post a day. I haven’t bothered interacting. But to respond to this comment I just went and reviewed some of the recent postings: Here is an excerpt from a recent post:

    “Anybody up for a Saturday night review swap? My yelps stick, im level 5 google guide.” There was also one that referenced someone who said that he/she is a level 4 google guide.

    Wipe out the glitter that google attaches to google guides and its equally applicable to spamming away on google.

    To date google does nothing to restrict this element.

    One other observation: I really feel badly for the owner operator on this one. Currently and recently he has been responding to every google review. He hasn’t responded to the yelp ones.

    I do that. It can be time consuming. If this owner has received 50-60 mostly “political reviews” in the last week, he has had to respond to them through the smb gmb gmail. Its time consuming.

    He has been cutting and pasting. I haven’t read through them but they have links to different stories /urls etc.

    I assume google is going to remove them. Their algo policy has been to remove reviews with urls. I’d assume they would likewise remove owner responses with urls.

    We’ll see. If they remove the owner responses automatically b/c of the urls…..well that was a lot of time and work for nothing.

    Its an enormous cluster f**k. Google and yelp should remove the political reviews. Frankly if they did it enough people would stop using them for that purpose.

  5. 10/13. What I’m seeing today is that google is and has been removing reviews that they have identified as political. The volume of reviews is shrinking.

    On the Q & A side, I currently don’t see it at all. Its removed.

    Good moves by google in my mind.

    Want to eliminate spamminess. Just erase it!!!!

  6. 10/16. Q & A remains removed from mobile views. Review volume in Google continues to shrink.

    This is one case where google seems intent on dealing with review spam. The particular review spam was all a result of a political firestorm (not unusual).

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