THE MYSTERIOUS CASE OF THE MISSING 5 STARS
Anyone who is self-employed will understand the importance of reviews. They are literally life-blood to a growing business now.
One of the more immediate places people look to check reviews before spending their hard-earned cash, is Google. So to get good reviews posted there is really important. The position they hold, potentially gives them great power over who thrives and who struggles, and I was interested to see Google doing their bit to restart the flagging UK economy. They have been actively promoting to customers to leave reviews for their local cafes and shops. You will have seen the TV ads no doubt, complete with celebrities buying coffee.
Recently, I had a client who, at the end of January 2021, kindly wrote an amazing review for me. It was posted on Google complete with the coveted 5 Golden Stars. He had taken a lot of time and thought to complete it and it was full of glowing compliments. I don’t think I need to point out that reviews like that don’t come along every day. I was of course over the moon and deeply grateful.
[I shall be maintaining confidentiality in this post, but the client has told me that I may pass on his details to anyone who wants to talk about his recommendation]
To my dismay, Google removed it!
It was so quick, I hadn’t even seen it myself. I only know what it said because the client thoughtfully photographed it on his computer screen and sent to to me.
After several emails back and forth with Google, I still have absolutely no idea why they removed it. There has been no explanation at all. The author was a verifiable source. I couldn’t see anything in the review that was offensive or trying to sell a product. It was a straight forward and honest opinion from a pleased client.
Others have speculated… could it be that the author suggests that they no longer need their medication? Or the reference to the GP not helping the problem? Are Google in cahoots with the big pharma companies? Could it be that he was just too enthusiastic in his compliments? Others in the complimentary medicine field have suggested that ‘they’ don’t like ‘unorthodox’ treatment modalities.
My frustration comes from having no idea where the truth lies. This is typical of our innate human need for meaning and completion. But I find myself more concerned about the level of power that is held by Google and similar internet-mega-moguls. Without playing the review game, I am at an economic disadvantage, so despite my concerns and frustration, I must simply accept it and carry on. [fortunately for me, I’m a therapist, and I know exactly how to do that!] I do so in the hope that this is a one off, but with the uneasy awareness that if Google took down all my reviews, I would be severely effected and that kind of power doesn’t sit comfortably with me.