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Keeping Up With Teejay!

Design, Website Development, Marketing, Maintenance & Consulting - Since 1994


Google Business Listings and Fake Reviews

Monday, October 30, 2017
Keeping Up with IAMTEEJAY

Sadly it happens to all of us, we get a bad review on the quality of our customer service and or products we sell. After 24 years in business I was bound to have a few bad reviews from legitimate clients with whom I didn't see eye-to-eye with on a project of theirs. However, in the era of "fake news" we also have fake reviews. I have been busy helping my clients remove unwarranted, malicious, and negative reviews from users that have never used their services or purchased their products from their Yelp, Facebook and Google profiles. Sadly this week, it was my business' turn to contest a slew of one-star reviews from users with questionable or no profile at all.  With their profiles gone, their reviews continue to still be listed and it may be affecting my business significantly. What to do?

First let me state that the quality and value of Google free products and services range from amazing to simply terrible, but regardless free. I use their services and refer them to my clients on a daily basis. However, with this "free-dom" comes the proverbial "ball-and-chain".

Like with Facebook, because of the volume of customers they offer their services to, Google's customer service is practically non-existent. For all free services, customer service is essentially automated, complete with online documentation, user forums, and a Google search tool to help you find a solution. Unless you are using a service like Google Business Suite or Google Adwords/Adsense, where you are paying for their services, you are at the mercy of the vast network they have slowly been building over the last 20 years or more.

Unfortunately, this network is a "too-big-to-fail" system. To leave Google is to leave the known online universe. Or is it? This is a question for those utilizing a restrained Google within the European Union's borders. What to do?

What happened?

IAMTEEJAY has had a business listing at Google to some degree or another for over a decade now. More recently, my free Google Business profile and their various tools have allowed me to better present myself and my business at Google, Google+ and on Google Search results. 

One of these tools, Google Reviews, is one tool I could do without for the moment.

In the last week alone, I have been battling a series of negative reviews coming from users with whom:

  • I have ever engaged in business with
  • No longer have a profile at Google, because they themselves have been removed for orchestrating malicious and spam-like activity
  • Have nothing on their profiles aside from an offer to list reviews for a fee for others 

Here is an example of a legitimate account that offers a service to leave fake reviews for a fee.

Fake Reviews from Fake Accounts at Google

I am surprised that this profile has been allowed to exist at all. It would be wise for Google to not allow users with accounts less than 1-year old to leave reviews of any kind until they can prove their legitimacy as a user. Or simply allow one account per actual person only. 

Sadly, even with a profile removed by Google for various reasons, their damaging content remains on the network.

What to do?

I first flagged each review, then flagged the profile the review still came from (if they still had one, as only 3 of the 6 reviewers were left with a profile), and finally submitted a ticket to Google Support on the matter. 

Unfortunately, after I had taken those actions, my business listing was suspended ! Why? I am not certain, but I believe it was retribution from one of those profiles that I had flagged as malicious or spam.

So, with the my business profile still listed, I reflagged the false reviews, flagged the profile the review came from (if they still had one, as only 3 of the now only 4 reviewers had a profile), and resubmitted a ticket to Google Support on the matter. Sadly, in the meantime, my business may be suffering. Again, what to do?

How Can I Change this Environment of Negative Reviews?

My mother always said, "If don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all." That comment of hers got me thinking. Why not replace those 4 bad reviews with positive reviews left my by real clients of mine? 

So, I am reaching out to all my customers to invite you to leave a legitimate review of my business listing on Google. Please either visit http://www.google.com and type in "iamteejay" in the search tool. When you see my business listing on the right, please navigate to Reviews and select to "Write a Review". 

I would also welcome reviews at my business' Facebook profile at goo.gl/3n4wvA

And if you haven't already joined to follow, like, and connect with IAMTEEJAY at the following social media sites, please click on the link to do so.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
Instagram

You can also connect with and refer me at the other sites too!

Alignable
Angel.com

So, if you are in need of some networking and gathering some positive, real content let me know!


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