Google My Business Suspensions Are Causing Reviews to Vanish

Jeffab$5

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2019
Messages
11
All of my reviews are gone after listing was reinstated. I have waited a week before contacting Google. I found my CID once my listing was reinstated. How do I know if this is a new CID or the CID from the listing that was suspended?
 

JGermany310

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
2
Update: Google has got back to me on several cases where this happened. They make it sound like the issue is fixed, but it's not. So far only 30-50% of the reviews have come back. One case I was assisting with had 1700 before and is currently at 900. Ouch. It's now been a few weeks so this is becoming painful for many SMBs.
We had this happen to us within the past 2 weeks and haven't had any luck getting it resolved. Since we're a garbage company, it's hard to get reviews as it is. In the past 5 years we've worked our buts off to get the 240+ reviews that we did with an overall rating of 4.7-4.8 stars and now its all gone. Like some have said previously, there is now a new GMB listing that isn't ours and contains no images or real content. Hopefully, we'll get this cleared up real soon as our advertiser, Dex Media, is also working on it on their side as well.

Tri-State Disposal
13903 S Ashland Ave
Riverdale, IL 60827
www.tri-statedispsoal.com
708.388.9910
 
Last edited:

BenFisher

Local Search Expert
Joined
Nov 19, 2015
Messages
213
Unfortunately, Jeff, if you did not have it before, you cannot find out. Ask support to help you and cross your fingers.
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
Hello everyone.

This is inviting the TLDR response, but here goes...

My legal practice has been actively impacted by this phenomenon.

On April 15, 2019 or thereabouts my listing disappeared.

As soon as I noticed it, I requested a call from GMB support and was aided by a gentleman called Harish.

Harish explained that my GMB listing had been suspended due to a signage issue. I purchased signage for my physical location and installed it, and uploaded a photograph to my profile page.

Within 24 hours the listing had been restored, but all of the 118 reviews that I had were gone.

I sent Harish an email but received no response.

I participate in the Community board that GMB maintains, so I went there to seek guidance.

Nothing there was much help, other than a number of GMB listings experiencing the same issues; misery loves company, so this gave me some small comfort that I had not been singled out for this treatment.

I requested another call from GMB's customer service.

I was advised by the representative the issue was technical, and was being worked on.

I asked for more specificity concerning the technical issue and got none.

I asked for more specificity concerning the time to repair and got none.

I surmised the Place ID might have changed after reinstatement, and sent an email to GMB support with our old Place ID and new Place ID. No response. Still no reviews.

I sent a screen shot from my email inbox (we use GSuite) displaying numerous emails we had received from GMB when we got reviews in the past. No response. Still no reviews.

I called again.

This time I spoke to Harith.

Harith told me it had nothing to do with the Place ID change.

I was asked to provide some examples of text used in the reviews that we had received in the past. I could do this by reference to the emails I have, and volunteered to do so.

I was then told by Harith that my business had only had 50 published reviews.

I corrected him.

He put me on hold, then returned to tell me he was mistaken.

He fell back on the "technical issue...please be patient" response I had heard previously.

I have called since, and I have made a strong case for giving businesses an automated warning shot BEFORE suspension, so that a business can attempt to come into compliance. There was some receptivity to this suggestion, but who knows how far it went.

The loss of reviews is having a deleterious effect on our local ranking; where we once appeared regularly in the top three to five listings if a search was performed for certain keywords in the right geographic area, we are now almost invisible.

Other GMB listings 'owners' experiencing a similar phenomenon are complaining that if reviews are reinstated their numerosity has diminished.

All of this is giving us significant pause as to whether we can use GMB listings effectively in the future; we are unhealthily dependent on this medium for generating public awareness of our service.

We used it as a measurement of our customer service, and also as a metric by which we could measure our own internal performance; more five star reviews meant we were doing a better job than our competitors.

Our 4.5 star ranking before the suspension was testament to that.

We service a very competitive market, and we were one of the highest ranked businesses in our market segment.

We are also an AdWords advertiser, and I have thus far resisted increasing our spend on AdWords, but I am close to pulling the trigger, since our inbound call volume has diminished so much. While I am almost certain this is not GMB's intention, that almost is too much.

I don't know what can be done about this.

I have contemplated trying to reach out to GMB's senior personnel directly using LinkedIn, but I think that might be counterproductive.

It's apparent that the GMB support personnel at the end of a telephone line are either not well-enough informed about the 'technical issue' that has caused the review disappearance, or they have been instructed to deflect inquiries.

This has me racking my legal brain to articulate a claim of some kind, but GMB provides its listing service without charge, and accordingly it can pretty much do what it pleases without recourse for those negatively impacted by its technical failings. That in and of itself is a very concerning thought; Google's command of the medium of internet searches gives it a 'make or break' power over businesses that rely on a strong web presence to drive inbound custom. That covers pretty much all SMBs today.

Its also forcing us to look closely at Facebook and/or Yelp as more authoritative online review sources, and to target our efforts toward those entities; something we should have done earlier, but which cannot be GMB's goal.

All in all this has been a very poor experience for us, and any enlightenment from this community would be welcome.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

The attachments are:

Email notifications of SOME of our prior reviews.

Three selected individual reviews notification emails.

The current "No Reviews" display from our GMB dashboard.

A list of reviews that used to appear on our GMB listing, and are still appearing on our website thanks to a widget that has preserved them.











 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,604
Hey Jonathan,

I received several responses from Google as well (about different cases) where they said all the reviews got added back and in reality it was only like 30-40% that were restored. The current status of every listing that got suspended in this time period is the same - they are all missing reviews at the moment. One case I was helping had 1500 reviews and currently is at 900.

Hopefully it's somewhat comforting that it's not just you because Google doesn't always fix one-off cases but they do fix issues like this. I think the fact that it's taking so long is not expected and very frustrating.
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
Hi Joy,

I have the impression that folks who are 'close' to GMB are as surprised by this situation as those of us on the outside, and we are all at a loss as to why it happened and how to get it fixed, and why GMB's response is so poor.

Does anyone have any light to shed on the why and how?
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
Update (full transparency here):

I received the following email from GMB support on Friday afternoon:

Hello,
Thanks for reaching out to Google My Business Support.
We have found the review which you were talking about earlier, however when we tried to move those reviews to your listing, we have found a blocked which is not letting us to move the reviews.
We have found a one more listing which is verified by using same address : Robinius & Harper, L.L.P. @ 1511 E Levee St suite b, Dallas, TX 75207, USA
Please let us know about this business page which was verified by using your address.
Once we have enough information which can prove eligibility of both the business we will be able to move reviews.
Regards,
Harish

I responded on Saturday:

Harish -

Thank you for the response.

Robinius & Harper, LLP no longer maintains an office at my 1511 Levee Street address.

At one time it did, but it closed in November last year.

Please let me know if you need any additional information.

I then visited the alleged offending business's GMB listing from my iPhone and suggested an edit, and responded again to Harish:

Harish -

I have suggested an edit to the Robinius & Harper GMB listing at the 1511 E Levee St. address, indicating it is a duplicate listing for their business located at 1940 Forest Lane in Garland , Texas.

Will this be sufficient to restore reviews to the Winocour Law GMB listing or is additional action required?

Please advise at your earliest opportunity.

Thank you.

As of this morning, I have not had a response.

It's curious to me that this alleged 'block' is being caused by a business whose GMB listing was not causing a 'block' until the suspension and (almost immediate) reinstatement occurred.

It's also a little troubling to me that the reference to review(s) starts in the singular, and then switches to the plural; no reassurance whatsoever that all our 118 reviews have been recovered.

I'm also curious as to whether there is a policy against a business indicating its presence at a location where it is sublets. It's a legitimate business premises. It's not a Regus 'rent-a-suite' scenario.

Am I missing a TOS or policy violation of some kind here?

For the record, we now have 5 new reviews on the "reinstated" GMB listing, and a 4.8 ranking.

I'll call them later today to see if I can get more clarity.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,604
Hey Jonathan,

Google often asks these questions because they aren't clear which business is actually there and which is not. Although it's possible for 2 businesses to operate in the same suite, it's more common that one business is not actually there so Google wants to correct this before moving forward. In a sense that other attorney using that address makes your listing less trustworthy since it's possible that they're actually there and you're not. I always suggest not sharing an address with another business if possible.

For this case, the correct thing would be to mark it permanently closed. Marking it as a duplicate likely won't do anything since the address on the other listing is different. Since it sounds like you've already told Google they have moved, Google should be able to update the listing for you.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the news that you're getting all your reviews back comes true very soon! I know there are several others in your boat that are also anxiously waiting.
 

KymM

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Messages
7
We've had this issue with a client who lost 500+ reviews after a suspension. Various google reps have told us that the reviews never existed or that they were removed because they violated the rules. Finally, someone said they could see the reviews and would work on it. Since then, 190 reviews have been reinstated, and that rep insisted that was all there ever was.

We spoke to another rep yesterday who talked to an engineer on the spot and was able to see that there are more reviews waiting to be added back into the listing, he just said it will take some time. He also said he escalated it in their queue.

It drives me crazy that a lot of the time the support reps are out of the loop and have no idea what is going on. If the latest rep is to be believed, Google knows what's going on and has a long queue of reviews they are slowly adding back. Of course, that could also be incorrect information, but I'm hopeful.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,604
It drives me crazy that a lot of the time the support reps are out of the loop and have no idea what is going on. If the latest rep is to be believed, Google knows what's going on and has a long queue of reviews they are slowly adding back. Of course, that could also be incorrect information, but I'm hopeful.
I couldn't agree more. The only way to survive in this industry is to be aware of what's going on and know more than the support reps do lol.

Part of the reason why we love this forum!
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
So, my latest is that the offending subletting GMB listing has now been marked 'permanently closed'.

That brings us into compliance with GMB's instrux (in so far as they constitute instrux) and Joy's recommendations above.

Our reviews have not yet repopulated.

I'll call back into GMB support later today to whine and update here again.

#ranton

I was first told the listing was suspended due to improper signage. After spending time and effort to affix permanent signage to our location, we were reinstated, reviewless.

Then we were told our reviews were in some kind of ethereal technical no man's land from which they could not be retrieved without GMB's engineering team (aka an assortment of very, very slow, work-to-rule diviners) spending thirty days divining their location in the ether.

Then we were told the reviews had been retrieved, but the listing for a former occupant of our location was 'blocking' the reviews from populating the post-suspended listing.

Having been led in this merry dance for a month and ticked all GMB's support team's wishes, whims, predilections, preferences, and fancies, no matter how internally inconsistent, opaque, or downright illogical they seemed, our reviews remain ethereal.

The take away for me is that because GMB hasn't been monetized by Alphabet, yet, the customer service ethos can be boiled down to "tell em what they want to hear, for as long as you can get away with it."

If we did that to our clients we'd have one star reviews all the way down. The irony!

A reasonably prudent internet listing service ought to be held to a standard of care of some kind.

There's an argument to be made that if a company maintains an un-elective listing service that all SMBs end up listed by, and you afford the public the ability to comment on any given listing, then the company is responsible for affording the listed entity a remedy if something causes the listing to fail in any way.

I'm not saying we get to sue Google qua publisher (we all know that won't fly), but at the very least adequate transparency ought to be a feature: clear, written communication explaining the precise nature of the failure and a reliable timeline for repair.

We're going to end up paying for this. I think we all know it.

At that time, it'll be no more reliable as a mechanism to inform the public concerning the quality of a given product or service than the Yellow Pages.

#rantoff
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
My call today was less reassuring.

The agents all have the same script:

"Technical issue, cannot predict the time for the reviews to return, engineering team is working on it" etc...etc...

The agent today tried to fob me off with this until I prompted him to look into my email communications with Harish. Then he said he would send a message to Harish reiterating today's email:

Hi Harish -
Robinius & Harper, L.L.P. @ 1511 E Levee St suite b, Dallas, TX 75207, USA is now marked as PERMANENTLY CLOSED.
Can Winocour Law get its old reviews back now please?

I am not holding my breath.
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
Put my daily call in today after another 24 hours of no change.

At least the calls are shorter than they once were:

"Please tell Harish we have done everything he asked us to do, and we would like our reviews back now."

"OK, I will let him know. He will be in touch with you."

"Thanks."
 

jonwin

Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
13
Here's my latest:



Honestly, can you believe this?

After a month during which I received this email:



After which I ensured that the offending location was marked "permanently closed':


I now get an email that pretty much takes me back to square one!

 

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