Google Places: 3rd Party Reviews No Longer Invited To the Party

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 In an ongoing dispute with other local-business review sites, Google has removed reviews that were taken from other websites and posted on their Google Places page to boost review counts for local businesses. Avni Shah, director of product management for Google, said this in a post, “Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages.” Google has been under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after TripAdvisor, Yelp and CitySearch complained that Google used their content without consent. Google has denied it has participated in any anti-competitive practices and has not been accused of any wrong doing by the FTC. However, after removing the content from “other web sources” Google Places showed a decline in the number of reviews for some local businesses. Originally launched in April 2010, Google Places was designed as an upgrade to the business listings displayed in the standard search engine. Google Places posted review excerpts from other sites and then created an average review score for the business listed. Now Places will only show reviews written by Google users and according to Shah the “rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users.” This change is likely to have a negative effect on local businesses who are working to improve their Places ranking or to earn a spot in Google Places for a new location or business. The once popular practice of researching citation sources of competitors via their Places page is now no longer available. With the help of an experienced internet marketing firm, like Qiigo, it is possible to recover from this setback and still have a strong and dynamic Google Places page. To learn how Qiigo can assist your business with improving your Google Places positioning and all your SEO needs, contact us today at (888) 673-1212.