I saw this tweet from Google last night and had a flush of excitement, at least for a second, as I thought that Google had finally solved a perennial problem for SMBs; how to track their reviews in Places.
I immediately rushed over to their post, thinking I would stay up late to write up a report only to find that it wasn’t the long awaited business solution to easily knowing when there was a new Google review for you business. Silly me thinking that Google has solved a long standing problem. Nothing so elegant.
No, it is an RSS feed so that reviewers have a feed of all the reviews they have created and a way of importing more Places via an RSS feed.
Businesses have needed and wanted a solution to the review problem since the introduction of Places pages in 2009.
When was the last time you heard a reviewer ask for an RSS feed of their reviews? Well maybe some reviewer some place did… but then I suggest you follow Google instructions and go find it. Instead of attaching it to the obvious place in your main Google profile or making the existing review list more visible it is is hidden in your Hotpot area.
Google needs to be making local products easier to use, not harder. They need to be making Places a page that a business can’t live without. Hopefully we will see a solution to the review tracking problem some day. In the meantime, one has to wonder whether this type of upgrade is the best way for Google to spend limited local resources.
Note: Getlisted.org and MyReviewsPage.com both offer solutions to this problem that Google should have addressed long ago.