I thought this might form the basis of an interesting discussion here. A couple of weeks ago, a colleague alerted me to the fact that New York's Zucchotti Park Google Place Page had become a platform for politically-oriented commentary (user reviews regarding Occupy Wall Street). Today, I woke up to a Huffington Post story about an Alabama deli owner who is being targeted on Google Places for his alleged employment of 'illegal immigrants'. There are now 182 reviews on his Place Page, some of them rife with racially- oriented hate speech; others with words of support for the business owner.
From a Local perspective, this scenario is of real interest to me, interesting enough that I wrote a post about it at Search Engine Guide in which I'm asking the readership there to comment on what stance they feel Google should take on situations like this. I find it VERY interesting that there is not one review of the deli mentioning political views on Yelp. Yelp's policies are much more strictly enforced than Google's, in my experience. I don't know for certain, of course, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yelp is actively moderating this situation right now.
What I thought we might discuss here is whether review guidelines (which for all hubs almost always state that reviews should deal only with actual patronage of a business) provide a user experience of higher quality, less accuracy, or what have you? The example of the park is a good one. Suppose you were visiting New York and you wanted to attend 'happening' events or avoid crowded places, potentially dangerous places, police problems, etc. If a review portal erases all real-time commentary on this, does this make it less relevant as a source of information? Or, does the sacrifice of this accuracy make good sense if the majority of people just want to know where to sit on a quiet bench or get a good lunch?
The level of discussion at Cre8asite is typically unparalleled elsewhere on the web, so I'd love to hear what you think about this.
Edited by SEOigloo, 21 October 2011 - 03:21 PM.