Bad company reviews no longer welcome on Google Maps

Flower shop on Google Maps
"We're famous, find us on Google Maps," reads a flower shop's window sticker in the UK Lars Plougmann/Flickr

Negative reviews from current or former employees are set off limits on Google Maps per company's newly updated policies in a bid to present "honest and unbiased" feedbacks towards businesses on the mapping service.

Google recently modified the business review guidelines of Google Maps, barring dissenting feedbacks from former employees to make it through a company's review page. Under the conflict of interest section of Maps User Contributed Content Policy, "posting negative content about a current or former employment experience" has been deemed a violation.

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Before the new policy went into effect in December 2017, only current employees were prohibited from leaving terrible reviews about their job or the company in general.

As Search Engine Land has stressed, restricting current employees from giving disagreeable criticisms about their employers on Google Maps as opposed to former employees did not make sense. The reason being, disgruntled former employees are most likely to leave an underwhelming review.

Other restrictions considered a conflict of interest include reviewing of one's own business and "posting negative content about a competitor to manipulate their ratings".

On Google Maps Local Guide, review policies are clear-cut, emphasising that "reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased".

"If you own or work at a place, please don't review your own business or employer. Don't offer or accept money, products, or services to write reviews for a business or to write negative reviews about a competitor."

According to Search Engine Land, owners of businesses left with bad reviews from former employees can file a dispute at Google for removal of such reviews. Meanwhile, Local Guides competitor Yelp allows former and current employees to leave reviews about the company they work at.

This article was first published on January 4, 2018