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If he took the review stars off, replaced them with some other element, you'd be fine with the ad?

Actually, yes.

I was looking at the ad and trying to figure out what bothered me about it. I know on an intellectual level that this isn't very different from what Google does yet the ad here slightly offended me in a way that Google SERPs do not.

I think removing the phony star ratings would have made it more palatable (to me, at least).

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