May 222011
 

I just discovered by chance a new feature on Google Places. Did you know that you can tweet your reviews on Google Places? If you didn’t know – now you do, but if you did – I have something interesting for you. Check out the “Featured review”:

In the beginning of March 2011, Google announced that anyone could tweet their Hotpot reviews via their Android phone. That’s one of the reasons which is making me unsure if this feature is a new one, but I should repeat – today was the first day that I spotted it. New or not, after checking around I understood one sure thing – the featured review is one that has been tweeted. Unfortunately, currently I cannot say if it is the newest tweeted review, or just a random one, but this is definitely of huge importance for the local businesses. The featured review is showing up right under the main section of the Place page, which makes it instantly visible when someone enters. Moreover, the stars are much bigger than the ones in the normal “non-featured” reviews. This review is also going to show on Google Maps:

What does that mean for the SMBs? Even if you have hundreds of shiny 5-star reviews, both from Google Places users and third-party review websites, one “featured review” can take you down instantly. I am still not sure how this review is chosen to be “featured”, but if this is the only special “feature” of this review, than it widely opens the doors for a new portion of headache for each local business owner. Especially if it looks like this:

A few questions I couldn’t find the answer of:

- how is the featured review chosen (other than being tweeted)
- is it a recent review or could be an old one
- if the business owner replies to it, will the reply appear at the “Featured review” section too
- when did these reviews start appearing

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