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Google Boots Third Party Review Sites From Star Counts

Change once again is rocking the automotive digital marketing world as Google today drops the third party review counts from its yellow stars.  ONLY reviews directly posted on Google Places are showing.  This screen shot of BMW of Scherville showed all the DealerRater reviews last week in their star counts but not today.


This is what their Google Places account looked like last week:

In fact, all BMW dealers in Chicago are impacted:

In-Store Reputation Management & Google Places


I've been coaching dealers to start using the Google Places App on their iPhones and iPads to increase directly posted reviews.  The benefit?  The dealer can use Google Boost to spice up their PPC strategy. 


I also warned dealers that if Google every dropped the review "counts" from the stars from 3rd parties, they would be better protected by having a direct Google Places posting strategy.


Now keep in mind, Google is still showing the counts from third parties in brackets, but the key metric is that the yellow stars are what always show and not always do the consolidated reviews show.


A Tsunami of Change

Acton Toyota has over 1,227 reviews posted on DealerRater but they only have 10 reviews directly posted on Google Places. A few weeks ago I saw their Google listing and it showed over 1,000 reviews with their stars.  That is now history!


In fact, Google is not even showing all of their reviews from as shown below:

Dealers looking for direction on how to best adapt to these changes should start an in store reputation management process that include using 3G iPads and iPhone devices.


Dealers must set processes to identify consumers with Google accounts while they are in the dealership.  550,000 Android devices are activated a DAY and all have Google Accounts.  Google empowered consumers can post reviews directly on Google Places, with their account, from a mobile device.


I told dealers this day would come and today is that day.  If you need help with in store training, processes, and strategy on reputation management, give me a call.  I'm here to help.  We have the strategy and solutions.


Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Digital Marketing


Views: 415

Tags: dealer, google, irm, management, places., reputation, reviews


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Comment by Brian Pasch on July 21, 2011 at 1:08pm

I think that Google may take the stance that the review stars are their counts and that they are being democratic and fair by rolling up the review counts underneath the listing.


It is also consistent that they want more businesses to use Google Boost and thus the stars in Boost will match their Places stars.


It was odd to see a Boost PPC advertising on Page One with 11 stars and a Places Page with 300 stars on the same page.  

Comment by Eric Miltsch on July 21, 2011 at 12:57pm
Finally! Thx Brian.
Comment by Brian Pasch on July 21, 2011 at 12:48pm

Keep in mind that I am not saying that 3rd party review sites are not IMPORTANT, they are.  It is just that the MOST visible aspect of Google Places and SERP results is the yellow stars.  Secondly, there is not way to predict which 3rd party sites will show up in the brackets underneath the listing.


Game Changer indeed.

Comment by Timothy Martell on July 21, 2011 at 12:44pm
Only one thing TO say... GAMECHANGER
Comment by Brian Pasch on July 21, 2011 at 12:43pm

Here is a shot of "Chicago BMW Dealers" and you will see that EVERYONE is impacted.


Comment by Brian Pasch on July 21, 2011 at 12:42pm

If you take a look at the search I did "Massachusetts Toyota Dealers" above, you will see that Acton Toyota is NOT the only dealer impacted.  This is for all dealers in that market.  Keep in mind that this is consistent with Google wanting dealers to start using Google Boost, which is a revenue source.


I do not think this is a temporary glitch.  I think that Google will continue to consolidate reviews in brackets but only show the yellow stars for their own reviews.  It makes complete sense that the yellow stars are for only reviews placed and validated on Google Places.


So if your market has not been updated, I think the wave will be coming.  It hit Boston and Chicago...

Comment by Mario Murgado Jr. on July 21, 2011 at 12:32pm


I believe that this can be a temporary change made by Google. I have been personally experiencing these changes to Google’s Algorithm on a daily basis. We (Brickell Honda) did loose approximately 300 reviews today. However, we still have reviews being pulled from,, & Yahoo. This isn’t the first time and usually bounces back and forth every few days unfortunately.

This is a known issue that Google is working on. Hopefully they will find a fix soon!

Mario Murgado Jr.
Digital Marketing Manger


Comment by Keith Shetterly on July 21, 2011 at 12:31pm

OK, so how come Hawkinson Kia has not been "booted" . . . ?  They are using Presto Reviews 3rd party site, and DealerRater doesn't even show up.  But the stars are there.

Comment by Bob Cockerham on July 21, 2011 at 12:28pm


That changes a few things ! Thanks for the info Brian!

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