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How is it possible to get a review from "Anonymous Critic". I thought only real users were allowed?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi fellow Google Business users.  I have up to today had an unblemished 5* rating on the reviews for my business but today I got a review left with no text to indicate why from a user called "Anonymous Critic".  I suspect this is one of my competitors trying to put me down but I have a couple of issues that I am struggling to find answers to:

 

1. How is it technically possible to leave an anonymous review in the first place.  I thought this was not allowed and against Google's own terms. Is there a way to do this legally (in Googles world) and have your review come up as "Anonymous Critic"?

 

2.  Is there a way to get the review taken down.  I can't prove its a fake but as a sole trader (micro business) with only 2-3 customers per week and a personal touch with each and every genuine customer I know for almost certain that this is a fake rating from someone trying to bring me down to their level.  I only have 19 reviews so even one 1* review is a real concern for me (even if the other 18 are all 5*).

 

Many thanks.    Paul 

How is it possible to get a review from "Anonymous Critic". I thought only real users were allowed?

Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
# 2
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆

Google can trace the owner of 'Anonymous Critic'. Such a review will violate Googles terms. Report it to Google from your GmB entry saying you cannot respond to the review as you do not know if its a genuine customer.

 

How is it possible to get a review from "Anonymous Critic". I thought only real users were allowed?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi Andrew.  I will certainly do that today.  I will update this post to let people know the outcome.  

 

Question still remains though  - how can someone actually do this (technically)??

 

Thanks

Paul

 

How is it possible to get a review from "Anonymous Critic". I thought only real users were allowed?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

OK so here's what I have done - in case anyone else has this specific issue of "Anonymous Critic"

 

1.  I went to the following URL to request a callback under the category of "Other":  https://support.google.com/business/contact/business_c2c_m?from=cuf_c2c&hl=en 

 

2.  When I talked to the "general" support person I highlighted that the review breaks two of Googles policies:  a) Impersonation - this user is not a real user and they have used "black hat" techniques to get teh review published under the fake user "Anonymous Critic".  b)  I have personally called all of my real customers from the last 8 weeks (low volume of customers so easy to do) and checked each of them out.  None were openly unhappy in any way and I therefore flagged the review as "Off-topic" because it is not a real customer who left the review.

 

The support person said she didn't know about this specifically but she would escalate it to the appropriate team and noted my arguments about the two reasons for policy violation.  She said she would be back in touch with me in 24-48 hours.

 

We will see how well Google performs in this instance and will be back to report my conclusion.

 

The issue here that I can see is when I click on the 3 dots next to "Anonymous Critic" this account/user/entity seems to have left hundreds of reviews to local businesses. It seems as though there is a way to bypass the requirement to be a real person leaving a review and when this happens it seems that the Google systems simply dump the review under this blanket user called "Anonymous Critic".  I still cannot see why and how this is happening or under what circumstances a review would be put into this category of "Anonymous Critic".  It seems to go against Google's own policy of not allowing anonymous reviews but, as there appears to be literally hundreds of reviews under this phoney account, Google seem not to be addressing the issue.  

 

Please please - someone from Google - can you get a handle on this?  This is, i suspect, causing a lot of small businesses a lot of stress and hassle and a more permanent solution must surely be possible.  When I look at a few other local businesses in my locality I can see that many of them are plagued by this issue and to be honest it dilutes and cheapens the otherwise excellent and trustworthy review system.  Don't let Google Small business reviews go the same way as sites like Yelp and Yellow pages online reviews. 

 

Thanks

Paul

 

Re: How is it possible to get a review from

Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
# 5
Collaborator ✭ ☆ ☆
Once you have your ISP provided email you can set up as many subsidiary
emails as you like. Google cannot police that. Some one has the password to
the dead persons account.

Google will not take an individual review down.

Only if you can show a reasonable pattern of multiple false reviews will
they act.

In your case I think its not an unreasonable expectation to have the
duplicate review taken down if you give adequate evidence.

Andrew.

--
https://plus.google.com/u/0/116819799750868340452/about?cfem=1&tab=XX

How is it possible to get a review from "Anonymous Critic". I thought only real users were allowed?

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

so...   just an update on what happened with Google.

 

We have this person now having left over 138 1* and 2* reviews of businesses in my locality over the last month.  The review of my company was fake - this is not a customer of mine.  I made great efforts to reach out to all my customers to check.  5 of the reviews, for example, were of 5 different tattoo parlours in one small town and there is no way on earth this person has been to 5 tattoo parlours and used their services in one month.  

 

The person is obviously just going around and using one company for a given task (e.g. a tattoo) and then giving them 5* and giving every other related business in the area 1* for most likely no good reason at all. 

 

I mean - 138 1* & 2* reviews in 4 weeks!!

 

I talked to a Google rep and she apparently raised it twice to the team responsible for reviews.  The team came back to her and told her that the review of my business did not meet the criteria they have for removal.  This is despite the fact that I have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt (as best I possibly can without actually having the mane and address of the reviewer) - this breaks the rule of Google that states a review must be "real" and not "Off-topic".  The fact also that the user has used a name of "Anonymous Critic" for their alias also demonstrates that the use is not a real user and is hiding behind anonymity.  Google has a policy not to allow "Anonymous" reviews.

 

Despite all of this they don't take any of the reviews reviews down.

 

Another example of the level of this reviewer is to describe a "Gay Bar" in the town as "A Benders Brothel".  In the UK it is illegal to incite hatred of any ethnic or sex gender group or use language that is likely to cause offence.  The term "bender" is derogatory and likely to cause offence to a "Gay" person. This review is still there too.  

 

Frankly, Google should be ashamed of the way they are allowing innocent businesses to be affected by a rogue reviewer.  Lets be real here - negative reviews do hurt businesses and if they are fake or unjustified then they should be dealt with.

 

The lady at Google said "I agree with you" but it was beyond her remit or pay grade to escalate it any further.  I asked how I could escalate it further and she informed me that I couldn't. she then mentioned that I might like to use Adwords to further my business.  Google - do you honestly think that I would spend a penny more with you after this appalling experience?  No - you lose the revenue - even though its only a small victory for me it's all I can do - spend my advertising money elsewhere. Hopefully enough people will do the same over time and you might have to do some work to improve your customer interactions and improve your review system that is so openly allowing abuse and breaking of your own rules and standards.

 

Well done Google.  Apparently you don't even follow your own rules and you certainly no longer live by the mantra of "Do No Harm".  SHAME ON YOU.