Frequently Asked Questions

You said I had a new review but I can’t find it?

Well, it WAS there.  We determine you have new reviews by running a job at midnight (UTC) to compare the number of reviews today vs. the number yesterday.  So when we looked at midnight we determined that you had a new review, but later in the day (or later in the week) this review disappeared. There are several reasons this can happen:

  • On any platform review spam occurs, and reviews pushing unrelated products / services can land on your location only to be automatically cleared at some point in the future
  • On Google, users can flag reviews as inappropriate which may cause it to be later removed and Google has been known to occasionally ‘mothball’ reviews. For a great read on all things odd with Google reviews see The Complete Guide to Google+ Local Reviews
  • Yelp has a recommendation engine which runs daily, trying to leave only reviews which it considers valuable to its users. We will sometimes see a review when it first lands on your location page, and then later Yelp moves it into the “Reviews not recommended” section of your page on Yelp. These later reviews are not counted in your total number of reviews or your rating. Note that the Yelp reviews can bounce back and forth between the recommended and non recommend sections of your Yelp listing.
  • Facebook users – or sometimes Facebook itself — will remove reviews after they have been posted.  Facebook will also sometimes merge pages when they think there are duplicates, which can result in reviews disappearing.

Why do I see negative numbers in my list of recent reviews?

Reviews that are removed (as described above) can end up causing you to see a negative number of reviews. Let’s look at a scenario for how that may happen…

Say you have been churning along with 10 Yelp reviews for a location and on Monday someone comes and leaves a new review for you there. When we look at midnight we will see your review count is now 11 and report that as 1 new review. If later on Tuesday Yelp comes along and moves the review to the “not recommended” section, your count of reviews on Yelp will go back to 10. At midnight Tuesday night when we query Yelp again we will see the review count is now 10, while the day before it was 11 — which we report as -1 review.

Why are some of my locations missing address information?

We get address information from Google, filling in our database from the “address_components” section of the information returned in the Google Place Details API. If Google does not have complete address information for your location in that part of their data set you will notice missing information in our data. We recommend updating your Google data to ensure applications like ours can get accurate information.

If some of your locations are missing parts of their address you can update the info by going to your Profile page and clicking on ‘Locations Management’. From there select the checkbox to search for locations with missing addresses and click search. You will be able to page through all the locations that have one or more address elements missing and update them.

How come your dates and Yelp’s dates aren’t always the same?

To normalize across multiple time zones Influence Network bases dates and times on UTC. Yelp and other platforms may use time zones local to a location.

What is the significance of the colors associated with a location?

Influence Network uses the following color designation:

  • Grey – a location with no rating
  • Red – locations with ratings of below 2.5
  • Yellow – ratings between 2.5 and 3.7
  • Green – a location with a rating of 3.7 and above

The choice of 3.7 as breakpoint came from Nate Silver’s work, where in an analysis of Yelp data he determined the average Yelp rating for locations is 3.7 As such we label any location with a 3.7 or greater rating as green to signify a location holding its own against its peers. Locations that fall roughly within 1 point below that are denoted with a caution ‘yellow’ color, and locations below that are flagged with red. Grey is used for locations that do not have any associated ratings.