Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21
Like Tree19Likes

Thread: Serious False Negative Review Problem

  1. #1
    standenman is offline Member
    Member Since
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    72
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 6 Times

    Serious False Negative Review Problem

    I made the unwise choice to work with a website developer in India. Her work was shoddy, I terminated the contract and Upwork awarded me a partial refund. After the contract had terminated she then entered my development site and destroyed files. I provided upwork with log entries showing she indeed is guilty. Upwork terminated her as a freelancer in the last few days based upon my proof.

    Today I received a negative review from someone who has never been a client. I found his profile on LinkedIn: a marketing strategist on the East Coast. I handle social security disability cases in Dallas Fort Worth/North Texas. How do I handle this??

  2. #2
    MiriamEllis's Avatar
    MiriamEllis is offline Top Contributor + Local Site Design & Copywriting
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    504
    Thanks
    91
    Thanked 123 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    Sorry to hear about that awful experience, Standenman, and the review you've mentioned does sound a bit suspicious based on the details you've mentioned. This article of mine outlines your options for reporting review spam on a variety of platforms:
    https://moz.com/blog/review-spam
    Hope it helps!
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

  3. Members who thanked MiriamEllis for this post:

    Linda Buquet (09-07-2017)

  4. #3
    James Watt's Avatar
    James Watt is offline Top Contributor
    Member Since
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    793
    Thanks
    138
    Thanked 285 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    I have seen a HUGE number of fraudulent review issues on the Google forums lately, just crazy amounts. Unfortunately, Google only sides with the business owner when the text of the review makes it obvious that it should be removed (conflict of interest, racism, swearing) or if there's an obvious pattern to the reviews. I wouldn't expect someone to use 5 apple phone repair shops in the same month for example. For a little more insight on this issue, Joy wrote a good article on the state of things.

    If all you have is a hunch, legal threats or something will be about your only chance to get things cleared up. I would LOVE to see Google start getting more deliberate about preventing spam reviews, but... for now, I don't know that there's much you can do, aside from gathering some new reviews to bury the bad one.

    Make sure when you respond to the negative review, that you aren't defensive or accusatory. It's your chance to display the customer service side of your branding to new clients with questions about how you handle problems with clients. It might be worth it to get someone you trust to help write a level headed response if you're too upset to stay objective with it yourself.

    Feel free to PM me the review, or post it in the Google Business forum and tag me if you think Google would agree it's fake. I'd be happy to escalate it up the line for you if it looks fake to me too. 'they're not a client we've worked with before' isn't an excuse Google accepts though, just as a word of warning.
    Linda Buquet likes this.

  5. #4
    Dino's Avatar
    Dino is offline Local Search Pro
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Little Italy Neighborhood in San Diego, CA
    Posts
    105
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 26 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    @Mirriam, read your post. Very nice work.

    As a part owner of an eco-retreat in Bali, my partners and I know exactly who stays with us and who doesn't. We are getting a lot of random ratings, usually 2-4 stars from people we know for certain never stayed with us. Our customer service is so high-end that even a 4 star rating is cause for concern and a 3 star actually hurts us.

    Upon investigating some of these reviewers, we found that most of them are rating a lot of different businesses at random, but leaving no reviews or short, 2-3 word reviews. I see several reasons for this:

    1. An SMB creates a fake Google profile to give a positive review of their own business, but needs a review history to look more legitimate so they randomly rate other businesses to make themselves look real.

    2. Same as above, but to give legitimacy to a negative review of a competitor.

    3. The Google Local Guides program. To increase the usage of its review platform, Google awards Local Guide status to anyone with a few reviews. Guides get points for the more reviews, ratings, photos, etc. they post, much like comments in the Google community help forums. Too get to a higher level, Guides just need to write more reviews, give more ratings, post more photos.

    I suspect a lot of Guides are posting ratings and short reviews for the points and to gain a higher level as a Guide. The higher levels come with a few perks, but nothing earth-shattering. But perhaps a rating from a Level 6 guide holds more credibility than a Level 1 or 2 Guide, or from someone who isn't a Guide at all. This would entice spammers to rate thousands of businesses they've never been to, just to get to the higher level.

    The Google Local Guides program just had a change in their point system a few months ago, which may partly account for the flood of negative reviews lately.

    Solutions to these problems are fairly simple. An algorithm could easily detect thin review content and obvious spam patterns. Google Local Guides could implement some kind of Trusted Guide program. When a Trusted Guide submits a problem, for example, it could get elevated for higher scrutiny.

    An immediate solution is unlikely; however, because Google is getting more and more of reviewers who are helping it gather business data. The increased activity also helps it to compete with Yelp and other review platforms. I think the best we can do for now is work within Google's current framework and to keep making a stink about it in forums like this, Google support communities and with articles like Mirriam's.

  6. #5
    djbaxter's Avatar
    djbaxter is offline Administrator
    Member Since
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    3,013
    Thanks
    1,356
    Thanked 625 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    3. The Google Local Guides program. To increase the usage of its review platform, Google awards Local Guide status to anyone with a few reviews. Guides get points for the more reviews, ratings, photos, etc. they post, much like comments in the Google community help forums. Too get to a higher level, Guides just need to write more reviews, give more ratings, post more photos.

    I suspect a lot of Guides are posting ratings and short reviews for the points and to gain a higher level as a Guide. The higher levels come with a few perks, but nothing earth-shattering. But perhaps a rating from a Level 6 guide holds more credibility than a Level 1 or 2 Guide, or from someone who isn't a Guide at all. This would entice spammers to rate thousands of businesses they've never been to, just to get to the higher level.

    The Google Local Guides program just had a change in their point system a few months ago, which may partly account for the flood of negative reviews lately.

    Solutions to these problems are fairly simple. An algorithm could easily detect thin review content and obvious spam patterns. Google Local Guides could implement some kind of Trusted Guide program. When a Trusted Guide submits a problem, for example, it could get elevated for higher scrutiny.
    This is accurate. And rather scary.

  7. Members who thanked djbaxter for this post:

    Dino (09-07-2017)

  8. #6
    Dino's Avatar
    Dino is offline Local Search Pro
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Little Italy Neighborhood in San Diego, CA
    Posts
    105
    Thanks
    13
    Thanked 26 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    Thanks, DJ.

    My girlfriend and I compete with each other to get more points in Local Guides. We have fun doing and it gets us out to more places, but neither of us write reviews for places we haven't been to; however, I can easily see that practice getting out of hand.

    It may not even be spammers trying to post good reviews for their business or bad reviews for a competitor. I think many people just like playing the game and getting to a higher level. It certainly has opened the door to a lot of potential problems.

    What is heart-breaking is that a lot of businesses (like mine in Bali) heavily rely on guest feedback. These fake reviews do real damage. It's negligent and reckless to allow them so easily.
    djbaxter likes this.

  9. Members who thanked Dino for this post:

    djbaxter (09-07-2017),MiriamEllis (09-08-2017)

  10. #7
    standenman is offline Member
    Member Since
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    72
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 6 Times

    Red face Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    Thanks to all for your comments. I am sure this is the work of an upwork freelancer that I got removed from Upwork because I proved she destroyed my development site. This action was just taken by Upwork, and here comes this bogus review in days - too co-incidental. I found the picture used in the initial review on linkedin and sent that person an e-mail telling them about the incident. No response, but now I see that the reviewer no longer includes his picture. name of my business: Denman Law Office in Dallas TX. Reviewer is Juan Lulli's Google plus account has no info, but lists 6 reviews. This guys pic was in the initial negative review: https://www.linkedin.com/in/juanlulli/. I CANNOT allow this person to continue to attack my business. Does anyone know a good lawyer?
    djbaxter likes this.

  11. #8
    MiriamEllis's Avatar
    MiriamEllis is offline Top Contributor + Local Site Design & Copywriting
    Member Since
    Jul 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    504
    Thanks
    91
    Thanked 123 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    Hi Dino,
    I share your sinking feeling that the proliferation of local guides may not be stemming, totally, from quality reviews. Some are certainly legit, but others make me say, "Hmm...". I'm glad you voiced your take on this. It sounds like others are having the same gut feeling. Thanks for reading my article!
    djbaxter and Tim Colling like this.
    Local Business Website Design, Professional Copywriting and Consulting at Solas Web Design!

  12. #9
    djbaxter's Avatar
    djbaxter is offline Administrator
    Member Since
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    3,013
    Thanks
    1,356
    Thanked 625 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    There's really no screening of Local Guides.

    Reminds me of the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian (1979), where Brian (Graham Chapman) is trying to join the "People's Liberation Front" and is being questioned by John Cleese.

    Brian says, "I hate the Romans!"

    John Cleese asks, "How much?"

    Brian says, "A lot!"

    John Cleese says, "Right! You're in!"
    James Watt and Tim Colling like this.

  13. #10
    bhartzer is offline Member
    Member Since
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    46
    Thanks
    20
    Thanked 11 Times

    Re: Serious False Negative Review Problem

    If you have a Google review that you suspect is spam, then you need to report it through the 'normal' way: flag the review. You can also respond to the review, saying that you don't have any record of them being a customer (or something similar).

    Google's internal policy is that they won't do anything unless it's flagged by 5 different Google accounts. I've personally verified this with Google engineers, in person, when I at Google recently.

    So, you need to get 5 different Google accounts to flag the review. That's going to be the fastest way to deal with that review spam.
    Linda Buquet likes this.

  14. Members who thanked bhartzer for this post:

    djbaxter (09-11-2017),Tim Colling (09-21-2017)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Respond to Negative Review(s)
    By Ray Litvak in forum Local Reviews
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-12-2015, 01:39 PM
  2. Advice To Remove False Review
    By brentnau in forum Google Local
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-18-2014, 10:18 AM
  3. How to Fix a Negative Review with Compassion & Contrition
    By Linda Buquet in forum Local Reviews
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 09-25-2014, 11:31 AM
  4. Negative review advice
    By Mopo100 in forum Help & Support for Google Local
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-13-2014, 01:58 PM
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-27-2012, 01:28 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •