Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
I started a discussion on ADM a few weeks ago regarding a number of dealers that saw their review counts significantly drop at the beginning of August.
Dozens of dealers were impacted by a review filtering process implemented by Google. The filter was intended to eliminate review spam, which has been discussed in detail over the last few years on ADM.
I wanted everyone in this community to know a few things about this matter and some advice going forward. I've been working with Google this week to provide examples of dealers who were doing everything "right" and yet they lost reviews.
These "vetted" examples have now been submitted again, after some discussions I had with dealers about their review processes and the list of issues I sent to Google two weeks ago.
It seems, that a portion of the dealers who informed me of their lost reviews, and that I submitted to Google two weeks ago, did not have a tight internal processes surrounding how reviews were collected. It is time that every dealer realize that a written process must be created and training must be put in place regarding the importance of customer reviews and how to gain compliance.
I have written numerous times about how dealers should collect reviews from consumers who have existing Google accounts. I have always advised dealers that they should NOT create a new Google+ account for the sole purpose of assisting a customer posting a review inside the store. Why?
These "new" accounts to Google look like SPAM because the consumer rarely if ever logs back in to use the account.
The objections to this advice go like this: "But Brian, the customer was really happy so why can't we assist them in creating an account?" Reviews are a numbers game. In the service drive alone, dealers can get hundreds of reviews a year by identifying existing customers with a Google gMail account. Don't RUSH the process.
If you rush, you create dozens of Google accounts that have only done ONE THING online: Vote for your dealership. This is interpreted as SPAM.
I also wanted members to know that the "pain" that dealers are expressing to me and Google has escalated to very high levels. Google understands that online reviews impact your business and that you are frustrated that Google+ Local is no more stable than Google Places was.
As soon as I have more concrete news to report, I will share it here. Please hold on tight. Google is working to update its review filter to recognize some of the unique challenges that dealers face.
For example, if a dealer is doing 2,500 service repair orders a month, and has a kiosk installed in the waiting lounge to encourage EXISTING Google account holders to post reviews, they could easily see 100+ reviews posted a month.
This must NOT trigger a spam filter from Google, and I have advised them in regards to this matter. If a dealer merchandises their store to create a better awareness of Google+, they should not be penalized.
If you have not connected with me on Google+, please do that today. My profile can be found on this link: Brian Pasch Google+
So, stay tuned. I promise that I will have some updates for you shortly.
(writing from Paris France)