Google, the leading force in online search, has recently announced a pivotal change to its Local Service Ads (LSA) feature. As of August 25, 2023, the platform will no longer accept or display anonymous reviews. This decision, highlighted in their official documentation, marks the end of an era.
The End of Anonymous Reviews
“Notice: The era of anonymous reviews on Google will conclude on August 25, 2023.” For businesses that have been utilizing Google’s LSAs for promotions, this change brings a new dynamic. Reviews, once considered essential, are now optional.
Advertisers’ New Flexibility
Advertisers are now empowered with the choice of whether to include reviews alongside their LSAs or not. This shift in policy offers businesses more control over their online presence and reputation.
Up-to-date visual representation of Google’s anonymous review policy. Note: An alt text description for the image is pending. Please add if desired.
Expert Insights on the Change
Anthony Higman, a digital marketing expert, shared his perspective on this development on X/Twitter.
“The flexibility surrounding reviews with LSAs has increased,” he observed. He further elaborated, “While it started as a promising feature, the enthusiasm for leaving reviews on the LSA platform seems to have diminished over time.” His primary insight: “Come August 25, anonymous reviews will be a thing of the past.”
Google’s Commitment to Transparency
This strategic move by Google underscores its dedication to enhancing transparency and trustworthiness in user-generated content, particularly reviews.
Implications for Businesses and Marketers
With these imminent changes, businesses and digital marketers must reevaluate their online strategies to remain competitive and relevant.