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thex Level 5
Level 5

Fake Reviews

Hello Community,

 

I'm the Google Business administrator of a small business in Austria, a gym, and today I noticed a 3* (three star) review on the Google Business I moderate. The name of the person is not typical for the region so I started digging a bit deeper. After visiting the Google Local Guide profile of this person I noticed that he gave all over Europe three star reviews to all sorts of businesses in a very short time span (the last day / hours). We talk about a huge amount of ~2100 reviews. The company I'm representing is relatively small and it relates on long term customers and many of them are directly known by the owner. Also based on the category of the business it's impossible to consume the services on a one time base. This is clearly a fake review and he did it many many times.

 

The user gave in the last hours a few hundreds or thousand reviews on all sorts of business which are scattered around Europe (Sweden to Serbia). It's even impossible for him that he visited all of them or consumed their services. Furthermore it's more unlikely, I would even say impossible that he did a workout in the business I administrate. He just gives 3 star review everywhere and doesn't leave any comment or text. He is obviously collecting points for Local Guides and based on my findings and this post this behaviour I against the guidelines of Google. Also this pollutes hundred / thousands of businesses with fake reviews and deteriorates the rating of businesses.

 

I hope this is the right place to report this issue. I also hope I didn't miss anything that is relevant for solving the problem and removal of the fake user or the reviews he left all over Europe. Is this even the right place to report this kind of issues? I didn't find a better place to report these kind of problems. Except marking the review as spam directly in Google Business which doesn't allow any comment or further information to be attached in the report. I hope someone can escalate the behaviour of that person because such a practise is annoying and harmful.

 

[Private information - Redacted] 

 

meh
9 comments
Connect Moderator
Connect Moderator

Re: Fake Reviews

Hi @thex

 

Thanks for reaching us.

 

Please read this post to know how to report a Local Guide: How to identify and report fraud on Google Maps

 

Please also, for everyones privacy, edit your post, removing the links to private informations. You don't need to share it on here, as you will be contacted in Private mode. I am tagging a Google Moderator for you @Ivi_Ge

Highlighted
Google Moderator
Google Moderator
Solution

Re: Fake Reviews

Hello @thex,

Thank you for reaching out to us.

 

You can report the reviews if you think are invalid. I just wanted to let you know that the Local Guides program is for individuals and not business owners, as business owners can take advantage of Google My Business for assistance in managing their listing, including responding to reviews.

 

I am going to remove the link from your post. We do not encourage Local Guides to share private information publicly on Connect in order to protect yours and other users' privacy and safety. 

 

I will send you a private message with instructions on how to report this specific user so our team can look into this person's account and take any appropriate action, though we won't be able to share the final decision as we respect everyone's privacy. 

 

Thank you for helping @ermest.

Due to the volume of private messages Googlers receive, I do not read or respond to private messages. Please post publicly so others may benefit from your discussion. If you require urgent assistance, please tag a Google Moderator. Thank you!

thex Level 5
Level 5

Re: Fake Reviews

@ermest,

@Ivi_Ge,

thank you both for your answers and the provided resources.I will take a look at them. I know that this wasn't the right spot to escalate the problem. However it seems to be very difficult to report a user to Google who does fishy stuff to gain Local Guide levels. So I reached out for help here because I don't want to accept the current situation.

 

I know that I can directly report a review over Google Business (which I did) but however no one at the support team would know what the problem with that review is. They would just see a plain 3 star review without any text. That doesn't look very suspicious. What does look suspicious is rating hundreds of POIs in one hour across Europe. So I need a way to escalate the problem so this stops and the wrong stuff gets corrected. Currently you can only report the affected review as spam via Google Business and there is no option to attach any additional information to state what the actual problem is and what is actually wrong.

 

Thanks and please send me a message with further information so that I can forward the problem to the respective team which handles such cases. Thanks in advance.

meh
thex Level 5
Level 5

Re: Fake Reviews

@Ivi_Ge,

@ermest,

thank you for providing me further resources and for reaching me out privately. I forwarded the issue to the respective team so that it can be looked into and handled appropriately. I also won't post private information publicly in the future. Sorry for that little mistake.

 

Thanks for your fast replies and help concerning the issue I'm facing. I wish you a nice day.

meh
Google Moderator
Google Moderator

Re: Fake Reviews

Hi @thex,

 

You are welcome! If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. 

 

Also, your post is getting a How-tos label since it already has a solution.

 

Have a great weekend!

Due to the volume of private messages Googlers receive, I do not read or respond to private messages. Please post publicly so others may benefit from your discussion. If you require urgent assistance, please tag a Google Moderator. Thank you!

thex Level 5
Level 5

Re: Fake Reviews

@Ivi_Ge,

alright, thank you very much but probably that's all for the moment :). Lets see what will happen.

Ok that sounds reasonable :D.

 

Thanks, you too!

 

 

meh
thex Level 5
Level 5

Re: Fake Reviews

@Ivi_Ge

@ermest

 

I just want to let you know that my problem with the fake reviews was solved. The review from the business was removed, however the user still has all his LG points. Moreover, IDK if the user removed the review or Google did it. Because everything else is gone too he might has simply changed his settings...can't really tell. However the issue is solved for me. But as my case isn't unique and @ermest pointed me on the Idea Exchange program I created a thread which suggests a possible fix for the issue I faced. Feel free to participate or tag other users who might have something useful to write on the idea exchange thread I opened.

meh
Google Moderator
Google Moderator

Re: Fake Reviews

Thank you for the feedback and for the suggestion @thex. Other Local Guides can vote for your idea to show support.

 

Hope that fake reviews will not happen again in the future. 

Due to the volume of private messages Googlers receive, I do not read or respond to private messages. Please post publicly so others may benefit from your discussion. If you require urgent assistance, please tag a Google Moderator. Thank you!

thex Level 5
Level 5

Re: Fake Reviews

@Ivi_Ge

np, lets see if this is something that is demanded and has a chance to be implemented. I also hope that this sort of suspicious activity will decrease or that measures are taken to prevent these from happening in the future!

meh