[uf-discuss] IsItSafeToVisit implements hReview and Google Rich Snippets

Marshall Yount marshall at downtempo.net
Mon Nov 9 06:28:08 PST 2009

Hello Microformats list!  I'm a long time listener, first time caller,
and all that.

I hope this message is not double posted.  I think my last mail was
rejected due to it not being plaintext.

I've been working on a side project and encountered some excitement
(read: problems) in trying to implement a microformat therein.

IsItSafeToVisit.com is a microvertical which aggregates travel
advisories from a number of different ratings agencies to give each
country in the world a safety rating.

Our pages look like this:

We recently decided to deploy microformats on the site.  We briefly
considered creating a new microformat for travel advisories, but
realized that we would get way more mileage out of utilizing hReview.
The fields in a travel advisory actually map quite cleanly to the
hReview format.

We were thrilled when Google added Rich Snippets support to their search engine!

And then less thrilled to find out how limited their support turned out to be.

We have historically ranked each country on a text based safety scale
(Low Risk, Some Risk, High Risk, Really High Risk, Ridiculously High
Risk). Each of these text descriptions maps back to a numerical score
inside of our system, but we'd rather not display the numbers if

Some questions:
1) In order to get the Rich Snippets preview tool to work properly, I
created a hidden div which contains the appropriate tags, that you can
unhide by clicking on the safety rating.  This behavior is explicitly
forbidden in the Google Documentation, so I'm not sure whether this
will exclude us.  Does anyone know how Google handles things like
2) We'd rather not have our safety rating displayed in Rich Snippets
using stars.  Travelers tend to associate stars with an indication of
quality.  Is there a way to get Google to display our rating without
the stars?
3) We attempted to use hReview aggregate for our master average rating
and the object include tag in the individual advisories.  I know that
Google does not implement the object include syntax, but can anyone
tell me if this has been implemented properly?  Is there an alternate
hReview scanner available that supports these features?
4) Should hReview elements be nested inside of hReview-aggregate elements?
5) Supposedly Rich Snippets supports the value-title feature of
mciroformats, but the preview tool does not reflect these fields if
present.  Should I use value-title instead of my hidden div?

At this point I'm starting feel it would be best to implement the
microformat correctly and forget about the Google support.  Maybe we
should create a Yahoo SearchMonkey plugin that works exactly the way
we want it to?  Unfortunately Yahoo sends us very little traffic (less
than 2%), so this seems like potentially a waste of time :(

Thanks for your help!

marshall yount
chief technology officer, downtempo llc

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