Local Guides are posting bogus photos/reviews


whitesell

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I thought this might be something everyone here might benefit from in case any of your clients see pictures attributed to their businesses that are not accurate.

The Google Local Guide program is designed to encourage people to post reviews and pictures of places they have visited. the participants earn points and a few small freebies like Drive storage , T-shirts, et.

It's great is concept, but like anything is open for abuse. Unfortunately it is obvious to me that the team running this porgram is interested only in numbers and not quality.

Why do obvious Local Guide spammers not get removed?


Local Guides are asked to contribute meaningful reviews and photos of places they know and visit. There have been several posts in their group about poor quality reviews from local guides, but no response I've seen from Googlers.

I found a Local Guide who has taken spamming to a new level - posting literally tens of thousands of duplicate pictures across many different locations. This person posts the same set of pictures to many different locations like businesses, stores, etc.

I reported this to the Local Guide team months ago, and nothing has been done. The person continues to post thousands of pictures to locations that are obviously not taken at that location.

Frankly, I'm disappointed with the lack of action from the Local Guide managers on this topic. I work hard to contribute quality reviews and photos and am pleased to see my own photo views totalling over 7 million, but it is quite disheartening to see this spammer with total views at nearly 60 million! His 83,000 +photo count dwarfs my own count of under 400 photo contributions.

Here is the profile of this person: https://goo.gl/NFcw9d

Scroll through the photos and you'll see he selects a type of feature - schools, for instance, or Costcos, Apple Stores, restaurant chains, etc. and posts the identical set of pictures at all the locations he can find.[

Google is obviously more interested in pictures and reviews of any type, even when they know they are not from the location they are posted to, rather than accurate representations of the businesses.

If you are working with a business that has fake pictures posted to their Google listing like this, it is very hard to get them removed. The "Report a problem" link doesn't allow for any explanation as to why a photo may be wrong, and the reviewer receiving the report obviously has no clue if a photo is from that location or not.
 
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Thanks for sharing Jim. Alot of his reviews are bogus too. One liners or just a 3 word description of the type of business.

I've thought about doing a little Local Guides expose.

I know of at least one Local Guides unofficial community, where it's just all about the fastest way to score points to get your freebies or get to the next level. It does not seem like any of them, in this group at least are in it for the right reasons: to help the community or make maps better.

I think crowd sourcing en masse by having contests and awarding prizes is going to attract a lot of the wrong people.
 
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I've been seeing a fair bit lately too of businesses with competitor's photos linking to the competitor's websites... obviously this is super no bueno. It's ridiculous for a business owner to be showing up with their primary image linking to someone else's site, and even more ridiculous that those photos aren't showing up in a place where the owner can delete them.

Just out of curiosity, anyone know if those images are related to the Google Guide deal, or can anyone just post whatever pictures they want on their competitor's profile, and link it back to their site?

Here's two examples just from the last two days, but I've been seeing a lot more than just that.
https://www.en.advertisercommunity....ness-is-linked-to-my-listing-photo/m-p/515139

https://www.en.advertisercommunity....d-photo-attached-to-business-page/td-p/515535

I'd love to know more about this if anyone knows what's up with it.
 

chadkimball

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Here is the profile of this person: https://goo.gl/NFcw9d

Scroll through the photos and you'll see he selects a type of feature - schools, for instance, or Costcos, Apple Stores, restaurant chains, etc. and posts the identical set of pictures at all the locations he can find.[



This guy's profile looks more like just cluttered up with useless photos, not really "spam" in the sense of posting photos for commercial benefit. Or am I missing something?
 

russofford

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I'm seeing something similar. It looks like some local guides might be driving by certain locations with their mobile phone and Google Map app open ready to hit the review button to gain point... or maybe they are just sitting at their computer and choosing places to review that pop up on their map.

This guy left two 1-star reviews back to back with the same text saying 'Never been inside' on two different businesses that are located very close to each other:

https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/104734288063002430630/reviews/@43.059155,-88.2083615,13z (if you scroll down several times in the review list, you'll see the companies affected, 'zignego' and 'Tri-North'.



I see some people say that contacting Google support as the business owner/ listing manager has helped in some situations.

 

jwypick

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I saw something with one of my favorite restaurants. The "Local Guide" gave them a one. His comment was "the food was excellent but too expensive!"

I didn't think a 1 was fair or responsible for the Guide. So the restaurant has all 5's except for this 1.

There definitely needs to be a sense of responsibility for the Local Guides that are reviewing businesses.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I saw something with one of my favorite restaurants. The "Local Guide" gave them a one. His comment was "the food was excellent but too expensive!"

I didn't think a 1 was fair or responsible for the Guide. So the restaurant has all 5's except for this 1.

There definitely needs to be a sense of responsibility for the Local Guides that are reviewing businesses.
Maybe someone should escalate this to Google. Considerable issue here and will only grow.
 

Tim Sweeney

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May 21, 2015
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An oddity I have observed as a local guide is Google delivering incorrect "Places you visited." A rough estimate would be 40% of the entities listed I've never been to. A few, I haven't even driven past. It would be interesting to know how many local guides simply go down that list leaving reviews even though they've never visited the place.
 

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