When a business is attacked via GMB ratings

smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
Earlier this week, a business pulled a publicity stunt that polarized people on opposite sides of the political spectrum. When I first saw it hit the news, I went to their GMB listing and watched in real time, as people came and left a 1 star rating. Some left comments, most just left the rating. When I first looked, I believe they were sitting at a 3.7.

As the hours went on, some people posted 5 star ratings, with a comment about how they were there to even out the 1 stars. However, for every 5 star rating they were left, they were given 10 more 1 star ratings.

What happened next, I don't understand. The rating jumped back up to the high 3s and as of this morning, they are up to 4.1.

The drop and then hike happened within 24 hours. Looking today, I can see tons of 1 star ratings from today, but all of the 1 stars from previous days no longer appear, yet the 5 star ones do supporting the business and their political agenda.

What happened? I didn't realize Google stepped in to adjust star ratings. I also didn't realize that they would choose to change ratings over something political. Is someone sitting there in real time deleting the 1 stars and allowing the 5 stars through? Also, how was this identified so quickly by GMB to be monitored and how did they decide what to do?

This has me stumped, and it also has me discouraged regarding how much we actually control when it comes to star ratings. If they are protecting this business owner, what else are they manipulating?

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this.
 

Rich Owings

Local Search Expert
Joined
Apr 21, 2014
Messages
349
Sounds algorithmic. I'm guessing that when the velocity of reviews increases way beyond what is historical for that business or category, this could kick in.
 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
Messages
67
Google has been known to monitor business that make the news. The normally prevent new reviews from being posted and remove any new reviews from being left. I am curious who the business is as I would like to take a look.
 

smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
Sounds algorithmic. I'm guessing that when the velocity of reviews increases way beyond what is historical for that business or category, this could kick in.
I imagine this could very likely be true. I just wonder why they have allowed the positive reviews to remain, while stopping the negative ones from appearing.
 

smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
Google has been known to monitor business that make the news. The normally prevent new reviews from being posted and remove any new reviews from being left. I am curious who the business is as I would like to take a look.
I will send you a message with the details.
 

smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
I checked this morning and they are now up to 4.6 rating. It seems that google is choosing a political side by allowing all positive ratings but eliminating all of the negative ones.

I left a rating to see what would happen and it no longer appears.

Wild.
 

Cherie Dickey

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jan 30, 2018
Messages
224
I don't think Google is picking sides per say. I also think this is algorithmic. The fact that the five stars are being left makes me think that human eyes aren't looking into this...

Google will remove reviews that seem unnatural, and the rate that they are posted is one of those red flags. You said that the negatives were coming in in much larger numbers than the positives, so it's possible that those are the reviews the algo honed in on.
 

smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
I don't think Google is picking sides per say. I also think this is algorithmic. The fact that the five stars are being left makes me think that human eyes aren't looking into this...

Google will remove reviews that seem unnatural, and the rate that they are posted is one of those red flags. You said that the negatives were coming in in much larger numbers than the positives, so it's possible that those are the reviews the algo honed in on.
It could be algorithm, but I don't understand how they are making out better than where they started. The algorithm needs some serious work if that's the case.

Considering this is a restaurant, it's conceivable that a business in the food industry caused all of their clients to have food poisoning over the course of two days. A substantial amount of negative reviews would be expected in this case.


I just checked my Google history, and I can see in my profile that I rated them, but it doesn't show on their listing. So google is actively suppressing negative reviews.

What currently appears for the past week:

One star - 1 review (this was posted yesterday)
Three star - 1 review
Four star - 1 review
Five star - 15 reviews
 

Digitaldar

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2014
Messages
125
I just checked my Google history, and I can see in my profile that I rated them, but it doesn't show on their listing. So google is actively suppressing negative reviews.
is it possible it takes a few days to a week for your review to show? When I leave a review, I often receive a thank you email from Google days or weeks afterwards thanking me for my review... maybe letting me know it is live?
 
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smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
is it possible it takes a few days to a week for your review to show? When I leave a review, I often receive a thank you email from Google days or weeks afterwards thanking me for my review... maybe letting me know it is live?
It appeared when I first posted it. Almost all negative reviews have been stripped, including mine. If I do get an email though, I will definitely update.
 

smaisie

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
18
Someone in private messages has suggested that negative reviews were removed since they broke the TOS since they admit they've never been to the location. However, I just looked through the reviews that are still up, and I quickly identified four positive reviews where the reviewer admits they have never been to the restaurant.

The more I look into this, the more I believe Google is playing political favourites.
 

JoyHawkins

Administrator
Joined
Jul 18, 2012
Messages
2,760
If you want Google to act on this (remove the reviews related to the news article), they likely will. This happens quite a lot. It's possible they aren't monitoring it yet so I'd suggest you send the details to Google My Business directly on social media. You can tweet to them at @googlemybiz or message them on Facebook at Google My Business. Usually they respond in 1-5 business days.
 

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