Local Search Expert
- Jul 27, 2017
I am not allowed to discuss it, but contact them.
I have a customer who has had a vindictive competitor post over 400 fake reviews over a 9 month period!! While we are trying to pursue legal action it has taken a significant toll on his business.This is like Local Search Groundhog Day for me. 4 Fake Reviews this morning.
I sent DM to GMB Support and replied to all the reviews and flagged them as ad spam.
That's 16 fake reviews since Sat.Aug31st, it's only Sept26th.
Has anyone ever seen anything like this with a client before??
(1) Spam and fake content
Your content should reflect your genuine experience at the location and should not be posted just to manipulate a place’s ratings. Don’t post fake content, don’t post the same content multiple times, and don't post content for the same place from multiple accounts.
This review clearly breaches that policy. It is not the poster’s genuine experience as he has never had any experience with the company.
Google's response(2) Impersonation
We don’t allow individuals to use Google Maps to mislead others. This applies to deceptive content as well as false representations.
The review is clearly intended to mislead others and is deceptive. Again, the poster has never had any involvement whatsoever with the company, he is posting simply to make a false representation of the company’s competence.
This is clearly nonsense. What checks could they possibly have performed that would have established that a wordless rating by a one-time reviewer reflects "genuine customer experience"? And, in this case, from a reviewer who is on the public record admitting that this is a malicious confection??!We understand the inconvenience you are facing and we are doing our best to resolve this for you. Google uses automated spam detection measures to remove reviews that are probably spam. These spam prevention measures helps to improve people's experiences on Google by ensuring that the reviews they see are authentic, relevant and useful and we were not able to find any spam content in the reviews you were referring to. When we have performed the checks, we found the review to be experience by the customer and Google doesn't get involved when merchants and customers disagree about facts, since there's no reliable way to discern who's right about a particular customer experience.
Final response from Google
I genuinely appreciate your prompt replies. However, Google does not appear to be doing anything specific that would actually resolve this problem. Am I wrong?
- We understand the inconvenience you are facing and we are doing our best to resolve this for you.
Your last email assured me that the fake review had been “reviewed thoroughly” against Google’s published policies. That does not appear to have any substance. Anda thorough review is a mile away from “automated spam measures”. Further: (1) how can “automated spam measures” possibly identify a malicious manual action?, and (2) how does the posting of a single 1 star review with no text by a user who has never posted any other review not trigger those “automated spam measures”?
- Google uses automated spam detection measures to remove reviews that are probably spam.
I have provided you with clear context and evidence that shows unequivocally that this review is neither authentic nor relevant. It is also very difficult to comprehend how it could possibly be considered “useful”.
- These spam prevention measures helps to improve people's experiences on Google by ensuring that the reviews they see are authentic, relevant and useful
The “content” is a malicious 1 star rating without even any explanatory text. How can a responsible review service possibly consider that as anything other than spam?
- … and we were not able to find any spam content in the reviews you were referring to.
That makes no sense. I have provided clear evidence that the poster has never been a customer and that he has never had any experience with the company.
- When we have performed the checks, we found the review to be experience by the customer
Again, the poster has never been a customer. There has been no customer experience. There is no disagreement about facts. You have seen the poster taunting us about his fake review on Twitter. You know that Twitter deleted his account because of his abusive behaviour. You know that his employer disciplined him for this behaviour. I suggest it is pretty clear “who’s right” in this context.
- .. and Google doesn't get involved when merchants and customers disagree about facts, since there's no reliable way to discern who's right about a particular customer experience.
After that great big "f*ck you" from Google we gave up. They clearly don't care. It looks like their systems are tuned to detecting false positive reviews only. They are not bothered about the the way that false negatives impact on businesses nor that allowing such practice to be rampant discredits the whole Google Review platform. If you try to get resolution you'll be fobbed off with boilerplate BS and false platitudes. After all, the only reliable mitigation for an affected business is to try to get lots more positive reviews and/or to spend on Google Ads, both of which work out well for Google.We understand you have a query regarding review associated with your business profile. We would like to inform you that we have escalated the concern to the team and have received response from the team that the review cannot be removed as it does not violate Google My Business policies.
If you have further questions, revert to this email and would be glad to address them for you.
For more information, you can read through our New Google My Business feature and Google My Business Help Center to understand the product better.