Against the Algorithm
Here is a letter I wrote & sent to Sundar Pichai…
Hi Mr. Pichai
I understand you’re a busy man & I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I wouldn’t be writing to you directly if I hadn’t already dealt with Google My Business customer service multiple times or pestered my clients incessantly to rewrite their reviews.
I run a small, niche business in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and client reviews mean EVERYTHING to me. They help get prospective clients in the door; they help give me purpose; and, they reinforce the notion that I’m doing the right thing with my life. My business is called GLOSS Temple of Feminization; it’s a makeover & photography studio for male-to-female crossdressers. I originally created the studio in Hong Kong, since it was easier to start a business overseas than to tell my friends & family in the USA that I enjoy dressing up in women’s clothes, makeup, shoes, wigs, and, better yet, turned it into a business, making it accessible for others to do the same.
So far, I’ve lost 2 reviews to the algorithm out of 12 reviews total, leaving me with 10 reviews. This number doesn’t seem high but it’s almost 17% of my reviews! I work hard to make each client feel special, beautiful, accepted, and free of judgment. These reviews are crucial to my work because, for many of my prospective clients, they’re usually the deciding factor for booking an appointment with us. We need these reviews. I can’t have this happening anymore. I’m trying to adapt, but our Google listing is excruciatingly important for building public trust.
From what I understand, the reason these reviews were filtered out is because they are coming from freshly-made Gmail accounts. Reviews from Gmail accounts make up MOST of our testimonials, due to the nature of our business. We are a crossdressing studio, which attracts an especially shy, secretive clientele, who don’t want their little secret getting out. So, after clients enjoy their makeover & photoshoot, I encourage them to set up an alternate Gmail account specifically for their femme persona (if they haven’t already). That way, they can leave reviews for businesses that align with their secret-self without revealing their actual names to the public.
I am asking: please whitelist my business from the GMB algorithm that filters out reviews. I promise that none of my reviews are fake, nor will they ever be fake. They simply seem fake to the algorithm because they’re coming from newly created Gmail accounts. Each review is a testament to my life’s work. I believe I am on the right path; please let me be able to prove that to the public.
Other than the GMB algorithm, I appreciate you and the products you supply freely to small businesses; they are so important. (I use Google Drive every single day of my life. I wrote & edited this letter using Google Docs) Thank you for your time.
Scarlett Sensi of GLOSS Temple of Feminization
ps – The return address on the envelope is my dad’s house. I use it instead of my business address because the mailbox system in my building sucks.
Here is a photo of myself (dressed normally) posing behind a wonderful client, who goes by the name Jessica. This photo was taken by our beautician, Mackenzie, after she finished Jessica’s makeup, making her feel beautiful & accepted. These people are the reason I do what I do.