Stop Google's "Local Guides" milking the system with fake reviews and hurting small biz.

Stop Google's "Local Guides" milking the system with fake reviews and hurting small biz.

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John Pittman started this petition to Google, Inc

Small businesses work hard to make customers happy.  You can't be perfect and appropriate feedback helps a business improve.  BUT, did you know that Google rewards a group of people called "Local Guides" with free music, extra google storage and many other cash value items for simply entering a review for a business.  This review doesn't have to be based on a visit to that business, nor does the "local guide" even have to be in or from the area the review was written.

The irony of this is that as a small business owner, it is against Google review policy for me to reward someone to write a review about my business ("I'll give you a free drink, etc, if you would write a review about your experience).  However, they are allowed to give rewards to people that have never visited a business.

Their guidelines specifically state that it is against the rules to "submit fake, falsified, misleading, or inappropriate reviews, edits or removals." The system is being abused with people around the world writing reviews with just three or fewer stars and no comments.  They will do these reviews 50 - 100 at a time (gaining 1 point for each review).  The "prizes" start kicking in when they have gained 250 points.  Google doesn't verify the accuracy nor do they have the tools for the small businesses to respond or report the abuse.  

Google should provide tools for small businesses to report "Local Guide" abuses and then they should suspend and remove accounts when it happens.  Until this is under control, Google should give the small businesses the benefit of the doubt when reporting abuses and remove the review until the review can be verified.

Please sign this petition and let's pledge to move marketing dollars away from Google advertising until they address this issue.

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