earlpearl - 9:41 pm on Oct 14, 2010 (gmt 0)
Reviews on the web are a sticky widget, IMHO. Good reviews are a blessing and powerful. They can lead to more sales. Bad reviews are a curse.
Frankly, the proliferation of reviews forces businesses to provide better service or suffer the consequences.
As to reviews in Google or elsewhere:
I have 1 business that I'm 99% sure received 3 bad reviews that were planted by a competitor. Of course I can't prove it 100% but I did argue the case w/ two websites that each carried 1 of the bad reviews. One site ultimately dropped it after a lot of back and forth; one site more or less buried the bad review under verifiable good reviews. I haven't even tried to get Google to react. They are so notoriously non responsive, it hasn't been worth the time IMHO.
But here is one way where they do respond to complaints: If the situation merits it, contact Google legal. They do respond to issues.
I also think that if an issue might violate one of the various Google Places or Adwords significant guidelines ie (I'd consider potential trademark issues significant) Google might respond. On other guidelines they seem to be lax.
I'd put a caveat on all of it, based on my and others' experiences: Google might respond.
btw: I don't have an advanced webmasterworld membership so I can't access the private discussion