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Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

[ Edited ]
WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi,

 
We have customer product reviews on our website. We recently noticed that these reviews were not appearing in our PPC Google Shopping listings, so we created a review feed and submitted it to Google. A few weeks later the feed was rejected because it did not have enough 1 or 2 star ratings! Our online shop is very popular (has been trading for 16 years) and we believe that we sell high-quality products and give excellent customer service, and this is reflected in the high number of 4 and 5 star reviews that we receive.
 
How on earth can Google reject us on this basis? They say that their system checks the number of 1 to 5 star reviews and our feed is "negatively skewed". We cannot help this; this is what our customers say! Google tell us to "try again later" but how can we make customers give us low ratings? Google are effectively telling us that they cannot show our existing high ratings until we get low ratings.
 
By rejecting our high quality feed, which took weeks to create, customers now cannot see how great our customer feedback is, and that does not help the customer experience that Google always tell us is what they want to provide.
 
2 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor


generally, there is a rather well-studied statistical-bias known as
herding that google is likely trying to guard against in the results.

also, product-reviews are more about the product itself rather
than any overall shopping experience provided to a customer.

reviews are most valuable when they are statistically and actually unbiased;
that does not mean that in any particular case there do not exist outliers --
e.g. all reviews that are 100% positive and unbiased; however, making a

specific exception is unlikely for those limited deviations.

there are many other google-defined policies that exist for product-reviews.

the best likely course is to continue gathering data
over time and working with the support specialists.

see also
https://support.google.com/merchants/topic/6169092
https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=uJ4jxxwAAAAJ&hl=en

https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=pblejMoAAAAJ&hl=en

 

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

[ Edited ]
WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the reply. If I look on the reviews for other large retailers in Google Shopping, many of them mention the service received in their reviews too, so it's difficult to totally remove this aspect from the equation. Being an "outlier" means that merchants with very good reviews get excluded. As a customer, I would argue that I would want to know just who these outliers are so I can deal solely with them for all my online purchases! This is what consumers try to do already of course.

 

Looks like we'll have to start selling poor quality products in order to get some low-rated reviews, so that in turn we can get into the programme. Doh!

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor


first, you're welcome.

product-reviews and seller-reviews are currently separate;
but it's understood that customers may conflate the two.

there should be no reason whatsoever to sell poor quality products --
there simply needs to be enough data to be statistically significant so
that such points are not flagged as outliers; simply collect more data
naturally; e.g. by increasing customers or the time interval or both.

forcing (low-rated) reviews will likely also be seen as a bias --

sample size and bias are both factors likely taken into account.

 

of course, google is the final arbiter of all policies.

 

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Celebird, Google's response to me was that there were not enough 1 and 2 star reviews. We are a specialist shop and test all of the items we sell in advance. We are not a behemoth like Amazon who stocks everything known to man, and where there will inevitably be both good and poor-quality products on offer. All of our products are field tested and are of high quality to begin with. This brings us to our predicament I think.

 

We can't win with Google on this one, especially when they do not reveal the acceptance criteria. If we continue to get highly-rated reviews I don't ever see how this "bias" can be changed. We have enough data now - we submitted thousands of reviews. Sure, increasing customers in the long-term will get us more reviews, but I don't think it will help solve this issue. Catch 22 if you ask me, hence my tongue-in-cheek comment about selling poor quality products. It'd be funny if it worked though...

 

Thanks again.

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor
WL, if you search for reviews for the products that are rated 4-5 on your website elsewhere on the internet, what do you see? Does everybody else mostly have 4-5 stars for them? Because if there are others that sell them, including, if you wish, Amazon and they have enough 1-2 reviews as well, I can understand Google's hesitation and I think it could be possible that people tend to rate the experience with you, the retailer more than the product itself.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

WL
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# 7
WL
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Calin, thanks for the reply. Comparing reviews in the way you suggest could take us a very long time unfortunately. A cursory glance shows that some reviews are indeed similar - I took half a dozen popular items at random and Amazon showed 4 and 5 star reviews too, but I cannot say with certainty if all our items are rated in the same way - some of our items are unique to us. I can also see product reviews that mention service e.g. "...great service from X" tagged onto the end of some reviews.

 

If Google do analyse other review distributions for identical products on other merchant websites then I'm not sure if that is a fair comparison because as Celebird says, customers often conflate the two. Seller reviews would be an obvious exemption as they would be expected to be different. Perhaps we need seller and product reviews to make customers distinguish?

 

A most difficult conundrum. I wonder if joining Google Certified Shops would assist us? In the meantime we'll just keep the feed updated and wait in hope that one day it will be used.

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

Top Contributor
# 8
Top Contributor
You're welcome, WL. Google identifies each product submitted in a shopping feed, so I assume they can easily compare review sources. And if one source is significantly different, they can quickly tell.

After all, a product is the same, regardless of where you buy it, so the reviews should be in the same range.

There is, however, a huge difference and I've seen it with one of my clients: the moment you advise customers before they place an order, the chances of having an unsatisfied customer who may find a product unsuitable for his needs drop very abruptly. And the chances of them placing a positive product review increase significantly. Not because the product changes, but because the product truly meets their expectations.

Of course, Google can't tell why certain reviews may be skewed so they probably want to rate review sources based on their score similarity with other, older sources.

If you can get into the Google Trusted Stores program then, by all means, do that, so that people can review your business as well. There are also other review aggregators out there who can get your seller ratings to show.

Good luck and if possible keep us posted.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

WL
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# 9
WL
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Calin, it's an interesting point that you raise about aggregators. I suggested to Google that if we had submitted the same data via a review aggregator (e.g. a Google partner) it might have been accepted. The answer was a vociferous no.

 

For us, the issue thus remains: high quality products get high quality reviews, so low quality product reviews are unlikely to increase in greater numbers (for us personally). On that basis, and purely in my own opinion, Google's system is flawed. Just because Amazon or other merchants have different rating distributions, that should not penalise us or make our reviews "invalid" somehow. Our reviews are what they are, and of course I'm sure that negatively skewed data does actually exist in real life. Google are relying far too much on the algorithm these days, and need to get back to some good old human common sense imho. Rant over now.

Re: Google Product reviews rejected because our reviews are too good!

Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor
WL, please note a rather important distinction: I'm talking about review aggregators for seller ratings, not product ratings. They are very different.
Calin Sandici, AdWords Top Contributor | Find me on: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn | myBlog
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