Google published an update on their review policy, here is a summary of the update's content...
Policy criteria for removing reviews
We want people to get ratings, reviews, and recommendations that are relevant, helpful, and trustworthy. To protect both business owners and customers, we have systems in place that may remove individual reviews that include any of the following:
- Inappropriate content: Don’t post reviews that contain or link to unlawful content, or content that violates our Google+ content policy. We may also remove reviews that include plagiarism or are copied from other sites.
- Advertising and spam: Don’t use reviews for advertising or post the same or similar reviews across multiple places, don’t post fake reviews intended to boost or lower ratings, and don't include links to other websites. For certain types of businesses that are prone to spam, we also reserve the right to prevent reviews from publicly appearing across Google.
- Off-topic reviews: Reviews should describe your personal, first-hand experience with a specific place. Don’t post reviews based on someone else’s experience, or that are not about the specific place you are reviewing. Reviews are not a forum for personal rants or crusades. Don’t use reviews to report incorrect information about a place--use the Report a problem link for that place instead.
- Conflict of interest: Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased. For instance, as a business owner or employee you should not review your own business or current place of work. Don’t offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews. As a reviewer, you should not accept money or product from a business to write a review about them. Additionally, don’t feel compelled to review a certain way just because an employee of that business asked you to do so. Finally, don’t post reviews on behalf of others or misrepresent your identity or affiliation with the place you are reviewing.
Sometimes our algorithms may flag and remove legitimate reviews in our effort to combat abuse. We know this is frustrating when it happens but believe that overall, these measures are helping everyone by ensuring that the reviews appearing on Google Places are authentic, relevant, and useful.
Google published an update on their review policy, use this link to see it: http://bit.ly/Sp7kV7
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