Saturday, August 6, 2011

Google Removes 3rd Party Reviews...

When I was a kid, there was a pretty popular commercial for Chiffon Margarine where an actress playing "Mother Nature" was given a tub of something to taste.  She immediately identified it as "my sweet, creamy butter".  When told it was Chiffon and that "it tastes so good, it even fooled you", the actress immediately looked angry.  The promo ended with thunder, lightening, and the actress uttering the now famous tagline "it's not nice to fool mother nature".
The same can be said for a certain search engine company in Mountain View, California.  You really don't want to anger The Big G... especially if they are doing you a favor.
It seems that some rating sites began to complain that Google was taking their data and displaying it without their permission.  These rankings were being displayed on Google's "Places" pages or when you searched on a location on Google such as (in my case) "Lee's Summit Dentist".  In the past when this type of search was performed, a map of the general area was displayed along with the names of the business type.  Next to the names would be a series of stars showing the average rating  amassed by sites such as Demandforce, Yelp, Vitals, Angie's List, or CitySearch.
So, when many of these types of sites began to complain of the way Google was using their data, Google simply quite using it and quit listing the stars for most businesses as they had been.
This is interesting to me since I wouldn't go to a bunch of individual sites to see their rankings of a business, but I might check out a business on Google and then go to these other sites to check the business rankings or to read some of the reviews.  So, in my opinion, these sites sort of "shot themselves in the foot" by their complaints of Google using their data without permission.   By doing so, they forced Google to choose not to include this data and, consequently, eliminated a major way that consumers learned of the sites in the first place.
It's not nice to fool mother nature...

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