Some businesses may soon find that their ratings on Google have changed for better or for worse. They’re doing away with old anonymous Zagat reviews – the ones where the person’s name is “A Zagat User.”
Google’s Jade Wang wrote in the Google and Your Business forum (via Barry Schwartz):
To show a consistent reviews experience to our users, reviews that are labeled by “A Zagat User” are being removed from Google products. Reviews from Google users will still appear as usual, and users can still contribute reviews. This may affect the overall rating for some businesses.
Remember, verified business owners can respond to reviews or report inappropriate reviews.
If your business has a lot of negative anonymous reviews from Zagat, this is probably good news. If it has a lot of positive ones, then perhaps not so much.
Either way, Google has been migrating away from anonymity in reviews for quite a while. When it migrated to the Google+ Local model for local search, it started requiring users to be signed into their Google accounts to leave reviews. Still, Google continued to show anonymous reviews that said “A Google User” for new reviews for sometime after that. It still displays these for older reviews.
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