The recently released Google Local Guide platform is doing a lot of good. But it's also bringing a lot of spam.
I was first notified about it by a client last week. Check out these two reviews that came at almost the exact same time, left for Parisi's Restaurant.
There are a few problems, starting with the reviews themselves. Chess Night? At Parisi's? For sure not. That's not even mentioning the 'light' supper, something that Parisi's isn't exactly known for. You better be ready to eat well when you walk through those doors.
New York Strip steaks? Rack of Lamb? Deer? What are they talking about? This was obviously not meant for Parisi's.
Then you look at the very generic names, left at exactly the same time and no profile photos. Well, it doesn't take a detective to see something is going on here. So I decided to check out the Review Profile of 'Stephen Martin' for myself.
Ding, ding ding!
Yeah, something shady is going on. This 'user' was going through and leaving copied/pasted reviews of LaSalle Grill for multiple businesses. Ironic enough, he never left one for LaSalle Grill.
They are doing this to rise up the new Google Local Guide rankings and earn the perks that come along with it. Initially when I told a Google rep, they assumed I was trying to get a negative review taken down and said they couldn't do anything about it. I then explained (again) that this was clearly a case of spam and they are now looking into it further.
You can also contact us to handle these situations for you. We handle the entire Google presence for dozens of businesses in the area, along with the review issues that come with it. If you'd like to do it yourself, I always have the best luck contacting Google My Business on their twitter page. That's their preferred method as well.
Keep an eye out and make sure your reviews seem legit. This problem will only get worse until they find out a way to curb these spammers. It may be tempting to leave good reviews up no matter what they say but an average person will look at these reviews for Parisi's and assume they were bought.
There's not a whole lot of chess being played over there.