Note: This post assumes an understanding of microdata.
Microdata is here to stay. It’s Social (and Google LOVES a bit of social), it allows Google to make money from mashed up pages e.g. travel destinations and to be fair it will also allow them to improve Search Results in the longer term.
The main problem at present though is that many companies are applying micro data to their sites and simply adding to the dross that is polluting the web. As an example by embedding micro data on your site you can showcase your reviews – fake or real; it’s the Wild West at present!
I bet a large % of sites are using fictitious ratings to get those lovely ‘come and click on me’ star ratings in the SERPS. This leads to a snowball effect where it encourages other sites to cheat. As an example, if you search for IP Lookup (13/04 edit: Shows how much Google is keeping up with the spammers; the dodgy site I now go on to document has had it’s rating stars removed!) then you are not telling me that other sites are not going to try and outdo the current recipient of that lovely 4.8 star rating from 251 reviews (really; 251 Av. 4.8 reviews for an IP lookup site)?!
However fear not dear microdata/ clean SERP lovers. I’m sure Google will eventually solve this issue.
I trust Google on this one and believe they are figuring things out and letting the junk rise to the top before creaming it off and improving the algorithm.
I bet Google are correlating ratings data with social, traffic and user behaviour however simply do not have enough historic data/ insight to make major algorithm amendments yet. Alongside more Google quality controllers employed to manually spot the cheats I’m hoping the Wild West microdata days to be behind us in 12 months time.
Keep the faith, join in and just put up with the dross for now.