Photo: AP

Google has up to date its Maps insurance policies to ban sure enterprise reviews left by former staff. In a brand new part of the Google Maps “User Contributed Content Policy,” Google now labels reviews “about a current or former employment experience” as a “conflict of interest.” Originally, solely present staff have been barred beneath the coverage. The new guidelines, quoted under, went into impact on December 14th [emphasis ours].

Conflict of Interest

Maps consumer contributed content material is most respected when it’s trustworthy and unbiased. The following practices will not be allowed:

– Reviewing your personal enterprise.

– Posting unfavorable content material a few present or former employment expertise.

– Posting unfavourable content material a few competitor to control their scores.

As Search Engine Land studies, the reasoning behind the ban is simple, as disgruntled staff might depart dangerous reviews solely due to points with their ex-bosses. Online reputations could make or break small companies, and greater than as soon as an web mob has gamed evaluate websites to tank a enterprise’s rating on websites like Yelp or Google Maps. Frustrated enterprise house owners have began threads within the Google boards asking tips on how to block or take away reviews left by ex-staff. Generally talking, Google has left the reviews up.

On Yelp, ex-staff aren’t explicitly banned from leaving reviews. However, enterprise house owners can ask Yelp to take away reviews from ex-staff. Google’s coverage particularly outlaws “negative content about a current or former employment experience,” however doesn’t point out if constructive content material about an employment expertise is suitable, or if different kinds of unfavourable posts are allowed. We’ve reached out to Google to seek out out what varieties of reviews from present or former staff are allowed on Maps enterprise listings.

There are quite a few authorized protections blocking companies from making an attempt to wash away unfavourable reviews. The Consumer Review Fairness Act makes it unlawful for corporations to threaten lawsuits to cease adverse (however nonetheless, correct) reviews. That stated, ex-staff aren’t typical shoppers, at the very least not as outlined by the CRFA or Google. So whereas potential clients might need to know if a enterprise handled their staff unfairly, Google and Yelp in all probability aren’t one of the best locations to seek out out.

[9 to 5 Google via Search Engine Land]

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