Ask HN: How to address fake reviews for competitors on Google Business?
I work for a local service area business. We rely partially on our Google Business profile for business.
The past 3-4 years has seen numerous fake profiles appear in our area. These profiles are fake because they exist solely for the purposes of lead generation (either through a 'rank-and-rent' scheme or for a client specifically) which is explicitly against the Google Business guidelines.
Sometimes these are easy enough to report and Google removes them. However, once they gain reviews they are much harder to get Google to take action on.
The problem is that these reviews are fake.
If you look at the profile of the "individual" who submitted the review, you'll see that they have reviews on several other businesses which can be tied back to the same marketing firm usually in various cities across the US.
It's obvious all these people are not getting tree trimming services is Portland, grease trap cleaning in Chicago, and carpet cleaning in Miami.
I report both the reviewers and the profiles, but it seems once they have reviews it's almost impossible to push Google to take action.
What are the real local businesses supposed to do? Is there any real people at Google we can talk to?
We're tired of losing business to fake companies while Google sits on its hands and does nothing.
I had a problem with this, someone got mad because it couldn't afford a service and had all of its friends leave bad reviews.
I chatted with support and they told me they understood the problem but at their level they couldn't do anything. It's a business with little clients so most of the reviews were bad at the time.
What I learnt is to never trust Google's support, because they don't really have one.
If you rely on Google then eventually the best strategy is to join the game, willingly or not.
However you can retract your business from Google and rely only on reputation. It's slow but it surely is solid.