Don’t expect to see any Yelp or CitySearch reviews in Google Place pages anymore, they have been removed all together by Google.
TripAdvisor, Yelp and Citysearch have long been complaining that Google was stealing their customer reviews about local businesses and reproducing them on its very own Place pages. Now Google have finally taken action andremoved all reviews from external sites, so now only reviews written by Google users will be displayed.
The impact has been immediate for some businesses. For example, Keens Steakhouse in New York displayed 60 reviews last Friday, compared with more than 3,000 last month. While San Fransico based Paxti’s Chicago Pizza saw the number of reviews drop from1,110 reviews to only 171 soon after the clean up.
Google Places Product Manager, Avni Shah, announced the following in her official blog post:
Based on careful thought about the future direction of Place pages, and feedback we’ve heard over the past few months, review snippets from other web sources have now been removed from Place pages. Rating and review counts reflect only those that’ve been written by fellow Google users, and as part of our continued commitment to helping you find what you want on the web, we’re continuing to provide links to other review sites so you can get a comprehensive view of locations across the globe.
TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer said Google’s decision ” is a positive sign, but I’d love for them to come out with a statement that ‘we promise not to do it again’.”
The result of this change has resulted in Google Places pages now looking a lot more neat and tidy with Google focusing more on the reviews, updates, pictures being provided by their users rather than external sources.
Although Google claims these changes are simply one of its constant attempts to improve the overall users experience, there is an underlying motive. The real inside story is that these changes came into effect just a week after Yelp took a legal step against Google in regards to anti-trust issues.
I think this isnt the last we will hear about Google, Yelp and customer reviews – we will be sure to keep you updated with any more news at it surfaces.