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Google Business Cannot Control Incentivised Reviews

At the beginning of June, I showed the reality of how Google Business Profiles cannot detect fake reviews in this post.

Fast forward two months (almost), one escalation and three follow-ups, Google Business Profiles still need to remove the original incentivised reviews, but they are growing daily.


The Uncontrollable Side of Incentivised Reviews

This case shows how limited Google Business is in controlling incentivised reviews, even though this is an illegal practice in many countries they operate in. I don’t understand how they can operate (reviews) in these countries if the platform clearly cannot uphold or rather manage their platform within the law of the land they operate in.

Quite simply, the platform is not built for them to be able to deal with this.

1. They are Technically Not Fake

In this instance, the user was a customer at the business’s location, so no system in the world can detect an incentivised review.

2. They Cannot Stop the Business Incentivising

They can remove individual reviews but they cannot stop the business from incentivising and reviews will continue to build. They do not have resources to manually remove and they cannot programme something just for that business to auto remove incentivised reviews.

3. They Only Stop Reviews in Extreme Cases

Google Business can pause reviews on a Business Profile for a limited time and then has to again manually pause again if the review abuse continues. They are very reluctant to do this and only happens in extreme cases like that Dentist who shot a Lion.

They have no ability like other platforms to put up a warning sign like other platforms that would deter the actual business from incentivising reviews.


The Incentivised Reviews

Recap of the previous report on reviews.

This incentive is posted at the counter in the restaurant / take away.

Incentive for Reviews - Against Google Guidelines - Online Ownership


Choose any keyword from these three:

  • Best Kebab
  • Best HSP
  • Best Halal Burger


The Reported Reviews



Todays Reviews

They just keep on coming.

Incentivised Reviews on Google - Online Ownership

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them?

If Google Business cannot deal with incentivised reviews (apart from the removal here and there) and to date the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken action against businesses for incentivising reviews on 4 occasions.

☝️ ☝️ 4 times ☝️ ☝️

Then this looks like a pretty safe bet for building your businesses reviews.

** I don’t condone this in any way shape or form, but if you can’t them, join them seems pretty flipping apt at this point.

Online Ownership does not deal with reviews as part of our Google Business Services, yes we can help you put a review strategy in place, but I think by the tone above you can tell that we are so over this crap by now.