Since Google’s overhaul of Google Places this past May, to say that those small businesses effected by its changes were “put off”, may easily be the understatement of the year. Well, for those who have finally gotten themselves used to the new 30 point Zagat system that had replaced the previous 5 star rating, prepare to be possibly thrown for a loop yet again.
According to the post Is Google Thinking About Abandoning the Zagat Rating System?, Mike Blumenthal unveils a rather interesting discovery when a friend of his (Matt McGee) notices Google conducting tests to find out whether or not the previous stars system held greater merit than the current Zagat system, when displaying reviews in the main SERPS (as recently as Monday August 6, 2012). Mr. Blumenthal went on to explain that:
Minimally the local results with reviews became less visible in the search results and some folks like Matt McGee think that they are difficult to understand by the consumer/SMB and are a big risk for Google.
Why the Possible Change?
The word in cyberspace is; Marissa Mayer who was in charge of Google Local when the Zagat review system was implemented (and well-known “foodie”) was the strong advocate for Google’s recent abandonment of the 5 star system. However, since Mayer had left the company there may no longer be such a great love for Zagat and things may possibly return back to the way they were.