If you are thinking about generating a lot of reviews for your business on Google Maps’ write a review feature, I recommend you read this post about a business who lost all of their reviews on Google Maps.  As Miriam Ellis of SolasWebDesign tells it, Canoe Sport in Houston, TX asked their customers to review their business on Google Maps and got over 30 reviews.  Unfortunately it seems like getting too many reviews too fast may have set off a SPAM filter at Google and all of the reviews disappeared.

While it’s hard to know for sure what happened – could just be a bug – if you’re planning on generating reviews for your business on Google Maps, I’d recommend rolling them out slowly, similar to what you do when you develop inbound links, so that it looks natural.

My theory is that the GMaps team set the SPAM sensitivity very high when they rolled out the reviews feature as in the early days it was likely to be gamed by everyone on the planet.  Of course it could be just some flaky code.  One never knows do one?

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12 Response Comments

  • MiriamEllis  February 25, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I would just love to hear from someone at Google on this, Andrew. It’s not very good PR for their own reviews, and as I’ve been putting efforts into using that entity, I’m very keen to know why this is going on.

    But, when you think about the fact that thousands of citysearch reviews disappeared over night and were gone for months, apparently owing to a bug, the final answer may be … oops!

    I really appreciate the link, Andrew!

  • Stever  February 25, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    These reviews are so ripe for abuse from all ends.

    -business owners submitting fake reviews
    -over zealous customers submitting multiple reviews
    -competitors giving false negative reviews

    Now that Goog is pushing their Maps harder, and its getting used a lot more by the general public, we may see more abuse.

    Oh, and how to remove a competitors reviews altogether? submit 30 fakes and trip a filter?

  • David  February 26, 2008 at 6:20 am

    Search for a DJ in the Bay Area, San Francisco or San Jose and you get the same guy with (em) strange doubtful street addresses……

  • MiriamEllis  February 26, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    David –
    Can I get clarification on what you are saying? Who is a DJ in the Bay Area?


  • local google mexico  February 27, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Interesting Post, although local google is not yet working here in Mexico, Google Maps is already active and you can make all the reviews.

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  • dhurowitz  March 5, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    It is not a big surprise that Google is hyper sensitive t anything that appears to be spam. If the responses were in fact “real” we have seen sites or listings disappear for some time then all of a sudden reappear. Be patient and do not overreact to any placements would be the only advice.

  • Adrian Cameron  February 17, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Ok, I have developed over the last 9 months steadily and systematically 40 reviews. They are bona fide and really make a difference. Customers read them and have commented on what they have read. Today they have all gone…. kazzam. How do I go about getting them reinstated, what do I do?

  • KwikChex  March 3, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Our recent research has identified a massive amount of both bad and good fake reviews.
    It might be of interest that posting fake reviews is illegal in the EC and the US an recently a company was fined $350k for the act.
    KwikChex.com provide a number of solutions on how to counteract these problems if you readers are interested.

    The Verification Team

  • ReviewBoost  April 16, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Yes, even I have noticed that happening to few listings. We do not have any information about the spam filter just like Google search engine. Business owners can be left confused when all the “gurus” around the internet tells them to ask the businesses to leave reviews. They cannot ask their customers to leave the reviews “gradually”, can they?

  • SEO Servcies  August 5, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    WOW, Great Post About for Local Business Reviews and site map.

  • Gold Coast SEO Guru  October 28, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Excellent post and still relevant even today. It will be interesting to see how things are going to change now with Google Places?

    One thing is for sure Google like to keep us guessing and keep on changing things.

  • More Local Customers  July 6, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I’ll be curious to see how the rollout of Google+ will change this over the next few months.