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BIG Change @ Google Places

Google Places has made some radical changes to how they aggregate and display reviews. They no longer display reviews from third parties like Yelp, Citysearch and Demandforce on a business “Places” page and they no longer use those reviews in the overall star rating of each business.

This is in response to threatened legal action from review sites like Yelp and even possible antitrust actions from the feds.

This from the Wall Street Journal

Since last year, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Citysearch—sites with local-business reviews generated by their visitors—have complained Google effectively stole their content and posted it on Google’s own pages.

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And this from “Tech Crunch”

Google Places looks different. It is cleaner, and there is a much bigger emphasis on user reviews and photos. And not just any reviews from all over the Web, but reviews written by Google users themselves.

via Google Places Stops Stealing Reviews | TechCrunch.

Now the only reviews displayed on the places page and used to develop star ratings are those written by actual Google Places users. The Demandforce and Yelp reviews can still be found in very small type on a “Places” page the user just needs to click through to a different page.

More thoughts here from DoctorBase.

Google made a change in policy last week with regard to how it aggregated reviews on Google Places pages. The change is a big one: Google no longer aggregates reviews from 3rd party sites into their Places pages.

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Local dental offices I checked here in Phoenix went from having hundreds of reviews (mostly from Demandfprce) to just three or four. And in some cases their star rating was lowered as well. What does it mean for dentists and consumers? More to come.

Update: Response from Demandforce

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