How to manage and respond to fake reviews on Google
Google has quickly become one of the largest review platforms in the world. In fact, over the past couple of year the explosive growth of reviews being collected by Google has been unprecedented on any other platform with over 400% growth from 2016 to 2017. In fact, in 2016 Google was the 4th largest online review platform tracked by Customer Alliance, behind Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia to now being the 2nd largest second only to Booking.com.
During this period, Google has been able to take advantage of their seamless integration with mobile phones via Android and Maps to proactively prompt users to leave feedback on businesses which they have visited. This removes the friction of having to invite a guest to leave a review, or the user proactively doing it themselves.
Google Review Policies
As is the case with any platform which is open to having anonymous guests leaving reviews, there is always potential for fake or fraudulent reviews to be left by users. Whilst it is understandably difficult for Google to separate fact from fiction, as with any review website, there are Review Policies available for which reviews submitted by guests need to adhere to.
Google make it clear that they do not get involved if there is a disagreement between the user and the business about the facts of an experience, since there is no way to determine whose version is correct. As such, it is important to utilise the Reviews Policy to dispute any reviews which you seek to take action against.
Be careful to not attempt to take action against reviews which you simply don’t like or disagree with. This is likely to result in no action being taken by Google unless they have violated the Review Policies in some way.
Removing Fake Reviews from Google
Once you have evaluated the review which you would like to see removed against Google’s Review Policies, you need to flag the review as inappropriate.
- Firstly Log-In to your Google My Business account and navigate to Reviews within your dashboard. Within this screen, you will see all reviews left by users.
- Find the review and click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the review. This will provide an option to Flag the review as inappropriate
- Click on this option and you will be shown a disclaimer about the reviewal process. Click on the Continue button
- On the following page, provide your email address and for which reason you believe the review is not in accordance with Google’s Review Policy, then submit your dispute.
What if Google doesn’t remove the review?
Sometimes, Google will decide to keep the review online as they believe that it is in accordance with their Review Policy. Whilst you may not agree with this decision, there is often little which can be done about this.
In certain cases, it may be possible to escalate the dispute further if you feel that there is a legal basis for further action, such as defamation or copyright infringement. It goes without saying, that taking this approach should absolutely be considered as a last resort and the counsel of a qualified lawyer is recommended before considering such action. If you do wish to still take this course of action, Google provide an overview of the best course of action to follow in order to begin proceedings via Legal Removal Requests.
Managing disputed reviews with Customer Alliance
It’s important to be aware that whilst Customer Alliance will assist in the collection, management and responding to reviews left by users on Google, we will not be able to assist in any dispute which you may have with reviews left by users or with Google directly.